Whether it’s a sugar-free yet, high-fat fiasco or a magic tablet where the only benefit is expensive piss, consumers don’t want to be lied to, and, while there are companies who succeed with a ‘bogus brand’ consumers are becoming wiser.
Back in the day marketing or sales could make wild promises and spread crazy ideas to their ideal targets. Think of slimy salesmen selling bibles, vacuums, or whatever crap door-to-door. These dishonest tactics could be used due to ‘Information Asymmetry’ where one party in a transaction has more information about the product than the other party. This was the expectation of consumers way back when there was no internet and little information available. If knowledge is power, then back in the day these guys were the king.
Fast forward to today and suddenly everyone is “Eddy the Expert” due to ‘Information Parity’ where all parties in a transaction have equal access to knowledge about what they are buying.
So, what can we as marketers or branders learn from this? Well, first things first, don’t flat out lie with baseless claims, done. I warn you, consumers don’t forgive anymore they may buy from you once, but they won’t be fooled twice.
A great example of course being Subway who promises, neigh guarantees their customers will “eat fresh” in their ‘restaurants.’ KABOOM! Cut to Subway landing in a world of shit when Subway USA was sued for misleading claims made about their food.
Allegedly, rigorous testing has found that Subway USA’s Tuna which is marketed as “fresh and wild-caught” is actually made from “anything but tuna.” What’s particularly nasty is the tests allegedly revealed that “the ingredients were not tuna and not fish.”
Talk about a PR nightmare! I reckon, if Maccas was involved in the same scandal they’d have a much easier time bouncing back, why? Because they didn’t promise that their food is good, fresh or quality. It’s Maccas, who cares? It still tastes good.
In the age of informed consumers, every lie will eventually come to light. So, stop bullshitting the consumer and start building brands with an element of fair dinkum sincerity.
Keep it real!