Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
March 4, 200810:10 PM

Another Reason I Will Never Buy From (Or Into) Your Brand

Negative rants about Marketing. Sometimes they just flow. I think we all know that we learn most (and quickest) from our mistakes.

I was waiting for my flight in the lounge at the Ottawa airport this afternoon, and overheard someone on their mobile. OK, "overheard" sounds like I was snooping, when in fact, everyone could hear her. I don't know who, specifically, she was talking about, but it was a co-worker. She was trashing them. She was trashing the department this person worked in. She was trashing senior management, and then she trashed the company. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't said in hush murmurs.

What company?

I could not tell, until I walked by to get a drink, and saw her nametag as clear as day.

For the record, I don't think she suspected that anybody was listening, knew where she worked, or cared - the fact is, everyone was listening.

My perspective of that brand is tarnished. Amazing how, in this day and age, one person, their raw emotions (maybe even on a bad day) and now there's this sour taste I get when I think of the brand. All I see (and hear) is her bitter (and unprofessional) tirade.

If you look at yesterday's Blog post, Marketing When Nobody Is Looking, both Sulemaan and Marty expressed that it's hard to get people motivated and behind the brand when they are young, underpaid and poorly trained. Well, it was clear today that this person was older and well-paid. I think being a brand advocate does start at the top, but it can't stay there. Just recently, Starbucks closed for a three-hour "coffee break" to retrain the Baristas and get all employees on the same page, and back into the spirit of customer service that got them where they are today.

Champions of a brand don't need to be a specific age or a designated salary - it's all about the mindset. Brands have similar attributes to a relationship. And, we all know that it takes one slip of the tongue on a bad day for things to never be the same again. On the other hand, a little kindness, thinking about the other person before you speak and putting their best interest ahead of your own are three simple ways to live the brand - regardless of pay scale, maturity or skill set.

By Mitch Joel