How many times have you purposefully gone out of your way to buy a brand based on a promise made by the organization? If you’ve done this, you’re a conscientious consumer and most likely did so for a reason that fit with your morals, standards or ethics.
Now, imagine you found out the brand message was just a marketing message and a complete divergence from reality. Our lives are filled with stories of separation of the brand promise to the customer experience.
For example, many consumers believed the advertisements showing they could shape up with Skechers Shape Ups. With Kim Kardashian’s abs showing how you could look just by walking, how could customers not buy into the concept of the easy fix? For this duplicitous divergence, Skechers, USA, Inc. is now on the hook for a $45 million dollar nationwide settlement and must stop their “deceptive marketing” of their footwear products. I had wondered what happened to all the advertisements for these newfangled fitness shoes, I wasn’t aware they had died a quiet death.
Global connections have made it easier for consumers to bring light to their concerns and have them heard. Sites showcasing reviews such as Travelocity, Amazon and Angie’s List make it impossible to hide from customer feedback.
One company that is handling it with finesse and brand confidence is McDonalds with the launch of their new “Our Food, Your Questions” campaign. They are facing the concerns of the public head on, answering questions honestly online in real time. They’ve recognized the change in their target market’s buying habits and are braving the world of real-time, transparent communication. Many corporations want to hide from possible negative feedback, however addressing the concerns is actually a great marketing opportunity as it shows you believe in your brand.
In today’s day of consumer awareness and social media, brand integrity is essential to create customer confidence. No longer are companies able to have convenience over quality. Let your product or service stand for itself without falsifying the message, and be sure to talk to your customers.
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