The Brand Trust Deficit

I’ve been blogging about the trust deficit in the marketing industry. Today I ran smack into another example that has me both mad and frustrated.

Mom and I went to the drug store to pick up some essentials of summer living, including some insect repellent.  So of course we looked at SC Johnson’s brand, OFF!.  Right on its home page, SC Johnson proudly announces that OFF! is a brand of insect repellents for every occasion. So we bought an OFF! citronella candle, in order to sit outside relatively bug free. 

So we get the candle home, and Mom reads the package.  On the top of the package (which is not visible on the shelf), it says, “not intended to repel mosquitoes”. 



Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. A brand that has been carefully built by S.C. Johnson for the past fifty years or so based on the positioning of being a superior insect repellent for every occasion is now offering a product that is not intended to repel mosquitoes. What brand manager came up with that one?  

By branding these candles OFF!, the implication is that the product will repel mosquitoes. So, I now feel that I have been misled. And, to make it even more frustrating, I now have to get in the car, drive back to the store and return the product. I am now on my way to becoming a marketing resistant consumer.

We have to deliver on our brand promises, and do so in ways that persuades the consumer, not manipulates her.  Offering products that are inconsistent with the core benefit of the brand are bad. Then making a disclaimer in small print in a place not easily noticed is worse. Bad brand marketing is slowly creating sceptical, angry consumers. And I don’t blame them.


1 reply »

  1. Making a sale through manipulation or by misleading a consumer is incredibly shortsighted. It obviously erodes trust, the brand and customer loyalty.

    Of course, loyalty is an incredibly valuable company asset. It enables a company to make a sale without spending a dime.

    Excellent post. Thanks!

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