A Look Back to 2012 Branding Fails

Just as much as 2012 was a year for great success in business branding and rebranding, it was a year for many big failures as well. From commercials to tweets, some big names in business have made huge blunders that may just follow them for a long time yet and surely setting back their branding a long way. This just goes to show how important it is to be on top of everything, most important of all those that involve things that could stick with your name for years to come. There is no learning unless we look back and find out about the mistakes of the past, so here are a few of the branding fails of the year 2012.

KitchenAid Tweet Disaster. KitchenAid showed just how dangerous it is to be careless with social media when one of its tweeters accidentally posted an offensive tweet about Obama using the brand handle instead of a personal one. In this case we see that despite how quickly you can take down a horrible post, a single copy or screenshot will effectively ensure that your blunder is forever marked in the Internet. The only thing you can do in this case is damage control, but for future cases, prevention would be the best alternative.

Indian Hitler. Piggybacking on another famous name has long been in practice when it comes to business, but “Hitler” in Ahmedabad, India takes things to a whole new level. The owners might think otherwise, but it’s altogether a bad move to use the name of one of, if not the most hated men in the world for a business. In this case, the outrage is due to people feeling as if the owners are trivializing the evil that Hitler had done, taking advantage of the controversy in order to make a profit. That’s pretty much what they did, actually.

Image from http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/hitler-clothing-store-in-india-causes-uproar/article4507530/?service=mobile
PETA’s Vegan Ad. PETA may have intended for their ad to encourage people to go vegan with promises of a better sex life, but what most people got from their poorly conceptualized advertisement is “tolerance for domestic abuse”. The commercial was counterproductive and poorly received by both vegan and meat-eaters alike, and there wasn’t a lot of point to it in the end. Unless PETA was merely looking for controversy and any kind of attention, they probably could have released a more thought-out ad.

Sexist Bic Pens. Gender-specific products are not unusual when it comes to personal hygiene, toiletries, and the like. However, Bic thought it was a good idea to introduce a pen that’s made specifically for women, which is even “designed to fit comfortably in women’s hands”. Far from the applause and amazement their marketers may have been expecting, the pen was naturally received with much criticism, sarcasm, and even a funny segment in Ellen. The famous talk show host shares the best way to use the Bic For Her pens:  “When you have an opinion, write it down on a piece of paper, and then crumple it up and throw it away, because no one cares what we think, sweetie.” 

Image from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/bic-her-pens-deluged-sarcastic-reviews-amazon-143145
The Olympics Logo. One of the biggest events in 2012 was undoubtedly the London Olympics, and its logo surely did garner a lot of both good and bad attention. The question is, was the London Olympics logo really so bad after all? When it all comes down to it, the answer to that may just boil down into personal preference and how one interpreted the supposed meanings behind the logo. In the end, the 2012 Olympics was a huge success, and the world is excited for the next one in 2016.

Image from http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/london-2012-olympic-logo-was-it-really-so-bad-after-all-142610
Now that we have looked back into the blunders of the past, it is now up to you to avoid making blunders of your own for 2013. It’s entirely up to you whether your name will be on the list of the “successes” or the list of “failures” when it comes to branding.


Tips to Successful 2013 Branding

Every new year brings with it the promise of new success, and for businesses big and small, success comes in many forms. Perhaps one situation where you can really say that you are succeeding is if you can get people to recognize your business name, logo, and everything else associated with your trade, because then you are assured that you have customers who enjoy your products and services. Branding, or rebranding as it may be, is a must for businesses that want to be in it for the long term, and in 2013 it will be yet again a mad scramble to build and maintain identities that people can remember and relate with. Here are a few tips to make your 2013 branding a smashing success.  

Go back to the basics.

Image from http://achyutbh.blogspot.com/2012/08/75-questions-to-ask-yourself.html
Do you still understand the fundamental concepts when it comes to building your brand? Or perhaps you are one of those people who have started relying on just logos and color schemes in the hopes of being memorable? If you’ve answered yes to the latter, then it is time to once again ask yourself a few questions. The main goal here is to make sure that your identity as a brand and a business is still intact and you have not lost sight of what your goals and principles are. Entrepreneur.com shares a few examples of questions to answer.

  • What is your company's mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Tell a compelling story.

With each year that you are in business, you continuously add to the long chronicle from the very first day that you planned to open the business until the present time. Solidifying your brand in the minds of customers may very well rely on simply being able to tell an exciting story which would appeal to the sympathies of the audience and make them feel that they could relate with your “success story”. By all means order posters and business cards from commercial printers like PrintPlace.com or get active in different social media sites, but make sure that you tell the story of your business as a human brand and not simply as a profit-greedy entity. That extra reach that you get by talking to people instead of purely selling to them is worth it in the long run. 

Check out the incoming trends.

Let’s move on to what business owners have been itching to find out, and that is the different branding trends for the new year 2013. To give a taste, Forbes,com shared a few of its predictions and projections for this year,  when it comes to where the focus will lie in building a successful brand. Here are some of them.

Packaging. Watch out for new developments in the packaging wars especially now that the experts are predicting some interesting shifts in the trends. One example of this is the focus on “sensory packaging”, which basically means targeting more than just one or two senses with a product’s packaging. The visual aspect is always there, but what about the smell, the taste, the feel, and the sound? 

Passion. The goal for your brand in this year should be to be compelling and relatable, enough so that people can really get down and be passionate about it. Passion is what fuels brands, and without it there wouldn’t even be such a concept. This year is about huddling close with your customers and stoking the flames of their interest, and when it all boils down to it, that basically means keeping it simple but effective.

The new year is a time for new opportunities and second chances for different brands. What are you going to do about your branding for 2013?

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