Collateral Brand Damage

In wartime, when an army crosses a strategic position such as a bridge, often the order is given to blow the bridge up behind the advancing forces so the enemy cannot follow. But what about the people who also needed that bridge or even those who might get caught in the dangerous blast?  This is known as “collateral damage” and no matter what it is (lives destroyed or lost) it’s justified by the accomplishment of the military objective.

In other words, “that’s not my problem.” or “we don’t really care about that.”

But brands sometimes have this same thinking in place in the ongoing quest for sales, conversions or any other term that means “money coming in.”  Some companies are happy to sacrifice long-term relationships for short-term money—and that’s just not good.

If RobertsonComm branding rule #1 is “Everything Counts” then #2 surely is “Think Things Through.”  I’m telling you, it doesn’t happen as often as it should and that’s why so many companies place their faith and their brands in the hands of horrible tactics like:

Telemarketing—Don’t EVER let your brand be associated with the almost always negative emotions encountered on telemarketing calls. No one wants them and they WILL remember you long after they’ve hung up in anger.  
Re-targeted Online Advertising—TRUST your buyer and seriously, back off because the FTC is coming.
Banner ads — especially ones on your site that block the viewer from seeing content so they can sign up for your e-news and get 10 percent off.  Just stop it!  
Chat Bots—If it’s not important enough for YOU to actually be there, why should the customer participate in the conversation?
Sponsored Posts—No one is logging into THEIR social worlds looking for YOUR promotion. Learn it.  
Marketing Automation—Instead of sending more stuff, more frequently and making it easier on YOU — why don’t you create something that ATTRACTS them to YOU.  I know, it’s novel thinking, but try it.

Your brand is your most valuable and most important business asset. Every time a potential client, customer or audience member encounters it, try to make it a pleasant experience for them. Remember, we are supposed to be in the LONG-TERM relationship business and that means trusting your audience to make the right call without so much prodding.

If you are truly great at what you offer, whether it be a product, service or just a cause, then they will find you and they will behave like you want them to.

So let’s end the vicious cycle of collateral brand damage and think everything we do ALL the way through. Just remember, if they would’ve done that in Jurassic Park, everyone would’ve lived. (but it wouldn’t have been a very good movie I guess) Think about it.