Brand death by a thousand cuts

Brands don’t usually die because of some apocalyptic event/mistake (though it can happen), rather they suffer death by a thousand cuts, each of which seem innocuos enough, even sensible. But they chip away at the magic and by the time sales have suffered enough for someone to notice, the negative brand equity momentum has long become unstoppable.

This post by Seth Godin today summarises this point terrifically, where he explains the magical, intangible elements  that make for great marketing, and how easy it is to kill them. Referring to a great little restaurant, he says:

…it’s the hand-fitted gestalt of thousands of little decisions made by caring management out to make a difference. Usually, when a business like this gets bigger or turns into a chain, marketers make what feel like smart compromises. The MBAs collide with the mystical, and the place gets boring. “Why do we need 14 free salsas when we can get away with six?”

Amazon amazing

When I got two copies of this CD through the post, I groaned. Not because I had been a doofus in ordering twice, but because returning items is usually so painful.

So it was with delight that I got this message from Amazon when starting the Returns process. That’s customer service good enough for me to tell everyone in ear-shot in the office.

Customer Unservice

This funny-but-sadly-true image has been widely shared this week.

Unskippable segments on DVD are the ugliest form of interruption advertising.

It’s never OK to deliberately give your customers a bad experience. DVD manufacturers are there to entertain, not to lecture.