We have all seen our fair share of marketing disasters over the years, some more public than others of course. Marketing is a skill often misunderstood and grossly underestimated. Marketing can have an amazing impact on any business or not-for-profit, trouble is it can be bad if you are not careful. In many cases it is the smaller organisations who feel the weight of marketing disasters more so than those with money to throw at a problem.
Here are 5 recent examples of marketing disasters, in some cases I can’t reveal the names, but you can understand their pain nevertheless:
1. Some high profile organisations spend a lot of time and money with large agencies to develop a new logo only to find something fundamentally wrong when it is launched. In recent times there was the very pubic backlash against the launch of a new look for the clothing brand ‘Gap’. The response to the new design was so strong it was immediately scrapped. If you want to refresh the memory on the original (left) and the abandoned (right):
2. I recently came across one organisation who had a text book marketer force a modern incarnation of their brand onto the market. The idea was to help them reach a new online market where supposedly names are less important and one letter or jet a symbol is enough. Wrong! There was a sizeable budget attached to the project that a year later has been scrapped. The organisation has hastily retreated to the old logo and written off a large sum money in the process. Marketing is about so much more than just text books. It’s why CommTogether views marketing as part of communications, because understanding an organisation and its audience is fundamental and sometimes you have to back your instincts.
3. Closer to home I am working with a not-for-profit organisation who spent quite a bit of money for them on a branding agency. They received an almost off the shelf style offering that bore no relationship with the organisation and did nothing to advance the cause. Later this year they will launch their new brand, after we stepped in and started from scratch with the basics. They averted a disaster and the new brand is now going to be very exciting and fresh, but mostly it will be relevant and easy to understand. Marketing disaster successfully corrected!
4. I am tempted to name this business to vent my personal frustration, but I won’t. A couple of weeks ago I had someone knock on my door offering to make a time for a free appointment to explain a particular home based product. The timing was appropriate and I was genuinely interested in the product so made the appointment. The guy showed up on time and was very polite. Taking my business card, he promised to email me a full proposal as we continued also to talk about some opportunities I had for him to meet some people in my business network. Several days later with no email to be found, I have another knock at the door, this time it is the colleague of the man I spoke with. He was most surprised to find I had already been contacted and then not received anything. He also took my business card promising to chase things up. A week or so later and still nothing. This is a company who wear a uniform and present a professional approach to their materials. That part of the marketing is pretty good. But marketing becomes part of a communication process that in this case lets them down.
I say more. When you use celebrity endorsements it can all backfire so quickly. The charity he represented had no choice but to dump him, keeping him would have been a marketing disaster of the highest order.
Whether they are high profile or local, let me know your marketing disasters. CommTogether is about fixing those marketing disasters or more importantly avoiding them all together. No matter whether you are a sole trader, small or medium size business or a not-for-profit organisation, we are here to help. Contact us today and we can laugh about marketing disasters and get you heading in the right direction.