What are you doing to HURT your brand?

Each week I write about how a company failed to properly market their company.  It’s usually something really basic and it drives me crazy since most of these companies are spending money on mass media instead of working on the basics. But, I was on a streak, I hadn‘t come across anything major in a few days. I had just spent 4 FABULOUS days at The Greenbrier for the PGA’s Greenbrier Fed-Ex Classic and everything was perfect.  I was excited and thinking maybe this was the week I would have nothing to write about…BUT THEN IT HAPPENED.

I’ll preface this by saying that most of you won’t think it’s a big deal, but I think that the smallest details can crush a company’s brand.  We had just finished eating dinner and the kids had to have ice cream.  We headed for The Cold Stone Creamery in Florence.  I had always enjoyed their mint chocolate chip ice cream and the kids LOVE mint chocolate chip as well.  We order our ice cream and as I’m watching the young lady mix everything up I noticed there were no chocolate chips, they were using chocolate shavings.  So I asked,  if she was going to be putting in chocolate chips and she informed me they had RUN OUT of chocolate chips.  WHAT, how do you run out of chocolate chips and do you realize there is a Kroger 50 feet behind your store?  If your customers are accustomed to a certain experience you have to either deliver it 100% or not at all.  The Mint Chocolate “Shavings” ice cream was terrible.  I took 3 bites and was done with it.  They not only hurt their brand, but they lost a customer.  They would have been better off to tell me they were out of the chips than to try something different.

So maybe you’re thinking I’ve lost it.  But, I think that as a small business owner you have to do whatever it takes to protect what you’ve built, so I think what this ice cream shop did was major.  So the next time you come across an opportunity to take a short-cut, or do something easier…Think “Is this REALLY whwa we want our customers to walk away with?”

Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at matt@mattplapp.wpengine.com

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