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Six Stupid Things Marketers Do to Mess Up Their Brands

by Justin Foster  |  
June 18, 2014

Most organizations are full of well-educated people with access to lots of data, training, and resources. Yet those people continue to do stupid things that mess up their business and personal brands.

Here are the top six stupid things marketers do.

1. They don't have a 'why'

Simon Sinek's awesome book on this topic, Start With Why, shows the lack of brand and strategic clarity that comes from not knowing your why. Or worse, not having a why in the first place.

Without a why, there's very little left for an audience to connect with a brand emotionally—other than a mild and apathetic form of loyalty. In this state, your only why is "make money." That means the relationship between a brand and its audience becomes purely transactional. Employees get paid to do work; customers buy products and services. That creates a flat, boring existence as a brand—and being boring is one step away from irrelevance.

2. They mistreat people that touch their brand

One of the most exciting aspects of the social-business era is that it reveals the jerks and bullies who have hidden behind titles and firewalls. Yet each day is populated with stories of abusive treatment to employees, customers, and communities—and of customers abusing employees and companies.

A key element of social business is amplification: Whatever you are offline is much, much louder online. As such, abusive behavior quickly becomes your brand. Abusive brands (both personal and corporate) eventually will only attract people expecting to be abused, perpetuating co-dependency.

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Justin Foster is a senior strategist at fassforward consulting group.

LinkedIn: Justin Foster

Twitter: @fosterthinking

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  • by Susie Wed Jun 18, 2014 via web

    Which brands do all these (or nearly all) well in your opinion?

  • by Tim Thu Jun 19, 2014 via web

    While you have some great points here, I am disappointed in your comments about mass marketing. A great campaign can feature a message that is received as if it were customized for the listener/viewer/reader because it speaks about a story that is relevant to them for that particular product/service. I have used radio effectively in this regard. I find it hard to believe that with analytic capabilities that are used to create personas this is not considered mass marketing from your rationalization above - how do you think digital agencies create their demographics? And check out the recent Ipsos study that showed 60% of millennials watch live TV compared to 71% on social media every day, and 44% trust messages from mass media and 53% from UGC. You make it sound like the numbers are substantially more divergent.
    The quality of the idea and the special way the message is written can still trump a media method selection.
    Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

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