Allowing Your Brand to Look Bad so it Can Look Better

May 26, 2009
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On Social Media Your Brand Must be Hot Pink/Orange

This Memorial Day weekend I was up at Lime Rock Race Way. One of the things that caught my eye was the Marlboro sponsored cars which were orange and/or hot pink instead of their trademark red. As the technology of TV cameras changed, the actual color of the cars have changed to make sure the color on the TV sets at home matched that Marlboro Red we all know too well.

So, Philip Morris is willing to allow their most important brand to look bad (use the wrong colors) in front of the thousands of race fans at the track in order that it looks good in front of the tens of thousands of fans in front of the TV at home.

It made me wonder if there are any other such examples in branding?

While I couldn’t think of any good ones off the top of my head, a thought about marketing on social media crossed my mind. The ability to allow your brand to take an occasional hit on the micro level, in order that it will have more success on the macro level, is exactly what companies need to do on social media.

Many companies are still so afraid to allow free un-moderated conversation on discussion boards… 

On Social Media Your Brand Must be Hot Pink/Orange

This Memorial Day weekend I was up at Lime Rock Race Way. One of the things that caught my eye was the Marlboro sponsored cars which were orange and/or hot pink instead of their trademark red. As the technology of TV cameras changed, the actual color of the cars have changed to make sure the color on the TV sets at home matched that Marlboro Red we all know too well.

So, Philip Morris is willing to allow their most important brand to look bad (use the wrong colors) in front of the thousands of race fans at the track in order that it looks good in front of the tens of thousands of fans in front of the TV at home.

It made me wonder if there are any other such examples in branding?

While I couldn’t think of any good ones off the top of my head, a thought about marketing on social media crossed my mind. The ability to allow your brand to take an occasional hit on the micro level, in order that it will have more success on the macro level, is exactly what companies need to do on social media.

Many companies are still so afraid to allow free un-moderated conversation on discussion boards and other communities on the web. They fear that someone will either say something negative about their brand, and someone else may read it before it is taken down, thus damaging brand image.

In actuality, to fully leverage social media, the Marlboro Orange/Pink is exactly what you need to be willing to do. Allow your brand to be mentioned and or be seen negatively by a few users in order that it is seen as honest and open among the many. Your fans, of which there better be significantly more of, should defend you in far greater numbers. You must learn to trust the intelligence of the average internet user/customer. They are better at separating an occasional errant remark from the truth than you think.

Learn to let go!

Link to original postTom H. C. Anderson – Anderson Analytics