I hate watching people waste their money.
I recently connected with a local franchisee of an internationally recognized brand, let’s call him “Jim”, who told me about his “marketing” plan.
Each year, that major international brand spends many many millions of dollars advertising their brand. They do extensive research into their target consumer’s thoughts, values, habits, and preferences. Based on that research, the brand buys national and regional ads on radio, TV, and digital. The ads are creatively well crafted, delivering a message designed to connect with the target consumer’s values.
This individual franchisee also has a local advertising budget that he himself uses to purchase additional advertising for his local store.
So far, so good.
But here’s where everything goes horribly wrong.
The ads that Jim creates locally sound nothing like the national brand’s advertising. The voice is harsher, the music bolder, and the style and tone is completely different. Not only that, but Jim also uses his own local advertising budget to purchase ads on the radio station he personally likes (the all sports station), instead of the one that the national franchise purchases based on their demographic research.
Jim’s “strategy” is that his local ads reach a different type of consumer, broadening his appeal. He feels that that by purchasing ad time on a different radio station, he is reaching consumers that the national brand was overlooking.
But what is really happening is that Jim is wasting his money.
Worse than that, Jim is slowly chipping away at the equity the national franchise has worked so hard to build.
With every ad that doesn’t sound or feel like the national brand, Jim is hurting both the national brand and his local franchise. And with every ad placed in scattered fashion on the sports station, Jim is diminishing the brand’s ability to achieve frequency.
One of the core principles of building a great brand is consistency, like AC/DC.
AC/DC has recorded 17 studio albums. They have recorded 24 different songs that have the word “rock” right in the title of the song. AC/DC doesn’t record love songs or songs about political strife. They record three-chord attitude-filled songs about loud music, beautiful women, fast cars, and strong drinks.
Angus Young has worn a school boy outfit for every AC/DC concert since anyone can remember.
They have used that same iconic font on every album and tour poster and CD.
AC/DC is zealously consistent.
We can learn from that.
Your advertising message needs to be consistent. At every touchpoint with the consumer. Your look, sound, feel, scent, taste, and aura must be the same. Everywhere. Always.
Brands are built by consistently inspiring the same emotions in your customers time after time, delighting them and reinforcing what you represent to them every time they interact with you or your message.