Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Puppy Ad Make You Mad? Be Careful With Your Brand

January 29, 2015

A small business can look bigger and more successful if the branding is done right. Or it can look really foolish.

GoDaddy learned a valuable lesson this week. Two, actually. One was about what happens when all of those individual voices on social media get mad about something. The second? How one bad decision can tarnish your brand – at least temporarily.

Here’s an example of the branding that GoDaddy would like to be associated with (though the company’s name still conjures up ads featuring scantily-clad women):

Todd Martin 012915 image 1

Long story short: Go Daddy produced an ad that was to be aired on Super Bowl Sunday. The company released it early on the internet. It was about a couple who rejoiced when their lost pup returned home. Not because they loved the little guy, but because they ran a puppy mill called Gabby’s Goldens, and they knew the pooch would probably bring in several hundreds of dollars.

So as least for now, here is the face – the brand image – for GoDaddy (how many people even knew that they were in the web hosting business?):

Todd Martin 012915 image 2Animal rescue groups and animals lovers were outraged, and took to social media. An online petition garnered countless signatures, and phone numbers for management at GoDaddy were passed around. The company wisely announced that it would not air the ad.

Your business may not have the name recognition that GoDaddy has built up over the years, but your brand matters. Have you given much thought to it? Having matching logos and photos on all of your online social sites is a good start, but did you put a lot of thought into those images before you posted them?

If you’re in the process of creating a brand, or you think yours needs an overhaul, keep these issues in mind:

  1. What will your brand represent? Will the focus be on you personally, or your company? A product or service? A problem or solution? Is there a geographical or industry element that you need to incorporate?
  2. What sets you apart? This is a critical issue that I hope you’ve wrestled with before. If not, immerse yourself in your mission statement, your goals and objectives, and every piece of paper that your prospects and customers will see or have seen – product brochures, fact sheets, ads, business cards and stationery, etc. Are they consistent?
  3. What will your images and other graphics, your choice of fonts and color, your photos, etc. say to people? Will they instantly associate you with something they want or need? They may not want or need it, but did they catch your drift? This is why steps 1 and 2 should be taken very seriously. Make sure you know what you’re trying to say, and that the brand matches it. It may seem like an impossible task, but in this short attention-span world, you have only seconds to make an impression.

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity. And maybe GoDaddy even got some positive brand name recognition from the ill-conceived ad. I hope not, and I didn’t see any anecdotal evidence of that, but I have heard from GoDaddy customers who will now take their business elsewhere. Don’t let it happen to you.

What do you think?

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