I am often approached by clients to assist them with their marketing. One of the key steps in assessing where they are at (before we start looking at where they should be), is reviewing previous campaigns and results. I have found that sometimes the really clever campaigns that are tricky, funny or ultra-creative aren't delivering the required business results.
There can be a number of reasons for a marketing campaign falling short, however one of the key themes I have witnessed lately is brand misalignment.
Brand misalignment can be very costly. Not just in the short term, but in the long term. Brand misalignment occurs when the overall brand positioning activity promises one set of values from an organisation, but the call to action campaign offers a different set of values. This lack of consistency can confuse consumers, resulting in lack of sales.
An example could be an electrician who works really hard to promise:
Consumers see this brand consistency across website, signwriting on the vans, business cards, invoices, uniforms and presentation of staff. Consumers are happy with the service and feel comfortable referring this sparky to their friends.
Then the sparky runs a print ad in the local rag with a very funny, cheeky image, implying the brand is:
Any current consumers or potential consumers (who have had exposure to the brand previously), are now very confused. The second brand value set isn't in line with the first. Yes, there will be some consumers who love the ad campaign - have a good laugh and show their friends. All of a sudden social media likes and shares are off the charts!
But is anyone actually looking for a sparky who is cheap and cheeky?
Think about your organisation and the values that your marketing communications have been promising. Are they aligned? If not, maybe it's time to create a list of values (that you want to be known for) and then assess all future marketing campaigns against this. If it aligns - go for it. You are building brand equity. If they are mis-aligned, dump the idea, you may be engaging in activity far more costly than the ads themselves.