The Truth About Brands
Recently I was drawn into an argument, oh let’s call it a debate, about whether a brand name should be based on the truth or not.
My debating partner (not opponent, shurely!) was of the opinion that it didn’t matter because – “Lots of successful brands are named after places that they have no connection with – consumers are happy to believe it and no-one gets hurt.”
The examples given included a certain kind of catch that is allegedly not caught in Donegal, amongst others. I vehemently disagree with this view – the brand under discussion was an artisan food brand.
It matters very much to the people who buy artisan foods whether the brand is bullshitting them or not. Telling these people lies would turn them into brand badvocates rather than advocates (note to posterity – I think I just made that word up! If I didn’t, I’m sure readers will respond below:)).
Even the non-artisan “catchy” brand alluded to above has got to suffer commercially from the wrath of the duped consumer – if you google their brand name, some of the first results are blogs raging about the fact that the product is sourced in places like Chile.
Additionally, I searched for their page on Facebook, but can’t find it. Is their reticence to get involved in social media caused by a fear of being shot down in public? That’s got to have a commercial implication, or at least present an opportunity to a rival brand with more integrity.
In my view, brands should be honest as much as possible.
- If there is a truth you’re not comfortable with, find a way to talk about it that will be acceptable to your customers or change it altogether.
- Stories are great assets to any brand – think about the real story behind your brand and share it. If your brand is based on a place name, for instance, that the product is not made in – create a real-life connection with that place.
- Get involved with the community, with events or help to promote that place – don’t just use it and abuse it.
As a marketing professional, I value honesty and hate to see others in the marketing industry encouraging dishonesty – it’s a short-term strategy with high risks. What’s your honest opinion?