While the marketing manager in this strip thought she was being funny, she definitely offended a portion of her audience. Her attempt at humor was seen as an insult, and perception is reality for your audience. You may be missing opportunities all together to connect more deeply with your audience. Or in the worst case scenario, you push them away completely
There are a lot of good case studies from brands that have messed up with their messaging and offended a large portion of their customer base. Many times the messages are misinterpreted because of a cultural difference, which is why national brands will have different advertisements running in different geographies.
I’m sure everybody has seen the Allstate commercials with the Mayhem character. Well, there is another version that targets a Mexican audience because Allstate is a sponsor of the Mexican National soccer team. This is a good example of tailoring your message to your audience.
Don’t make the same mistake:
Gerber – When launching products in Africa, they used the same labeling as in the US with a baby on the label. When sales suffered, they did some research (a bit too late…) and learned that because many people cannot read, companies usually put pictures on the label of what is inside the package.
Pepsi – As the brand expanded into China they launched a slogan that translated to “Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave”
KFC – The US slogan “finger-lickin good” was interpreted as “eat your fingers off”
Coors – In Spain, the slogan “Turn it loose” translated to “Suffer from diarrhea”
These are some fairly drastic examples, but they serve as a great reminder that it is very important to know how your audience will receive a message. You should literally put yourself in your audiences shoes from time to time and evaluate your content and brand. Ask yourself what John Smith thinks, or better yet, ask John Smith and other consumers you interact with directly!
Connect more deeply with your audience:
Don’t be content to simply avoid offending your audience, you should strive to build a strong connection with your audience.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to know them intimately. By being constantly aware of what is important to them, you will be able to share specific aspects of your brand that will appeal to them on multiple levels. This goes beyond simply providing the lowest price, or the best product.
Consumers make buying decisions based on the perceived value of a product and that can be heavily influenced by a brand. One message perceived as insensitive, or even as something that doesn’t appeal to my needs gets ignored. On the flip side, one that speaks to me will be substantially more likely to receive my money down the road.