Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gimmicks Can Hurt Brand

A few days ago I passed a brick-and-mortar location of a business.  The drive-by was remarkable because the business owner had planted a huge yellow banner and a big bunch of multicolored balloons.  The message was obvious: "Please Stop In."  Was this a good idea?

I'm not fond of these gimmicks.  I think they have two liabilities.  One is that they don't work well.  If they did, automobile dealers (who seem to require use of these horrid gimmicky balloons, flags and banners) would never need to advertise and cars would fly off the lots.  Worse is, I think they hurt brand.

The business I passed looked respectable.  It had a good, highly visible street location and a good product concept.  But I formed an immediate opinion that they were probably not very good at what they did.  With those advantages, who in their right mind would think a bunch of balloons in the street would lure someone inside?  And why were they worried about foot traffic?

I assume the business had some problems.  In such a case it would be worth addressing those problems rather than resorting to cheap gimmicks.  If something had to be placed in the street, why not a professional-looking sign that advertised a special?  or a "today-only" offering?  That alternative would have at least protected the brand a little.

Bottom Line:  Beware of cheap, cute gimmicks.  Attention-getting strategies must be complementary to the business brand and image.  It's too easy to create an unfortunate image in a prospective customer's mind.

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