When Brands Make Mistakes

The world of branding is not confined in a mathematical equation, thus wrong decisions can only be termed as “wrong” once results start coming in. Many assumptions are there in a branding program before a plan can be implemented. Thus situational variation can vehemently affect the outcome of a decision. An apparently sound decision can turn out to be a blunder in the long run. So what should brand managers do when they face such a situation that has long-run impact on the brands and their careers?

First of all, accept the fact that many renowned brands made mistakes in the past. It is not the sole world of small and inexperienced brands alone. For example, Tata Nano has not seen wide acceptance in the Indian market yet, despite its low-cost promise to price mistakessensitive customers. Ratan Tata once said that he did not believe in taking right decisions, he made decisions first, then he made it right! One may always argue that this has not been a pro-active approach to branding. However, let us accept the ground reality that this has been the case in many instances. Once Tata Nano was found with poor acceptance in the Indian market, he went for making this mistake right in two ways. First, he initiated market research to find out what went wrong. Later, he went for strengthening the distribution system, offered free driving lessons for new drivers, and addressed the social prestige issue in the make-over advertisement. Lately, Tana Nano has been in intense discussion on finalizing its overseas production facility.

It appears that mistakes can be corrected and competitiveness be enhanced through the lessons learned from past decisions. It is not a one-way approach that one brand fails and then takes a u-turn to completely reverse the decision. For other brands, they may also keep watching other brands’ mistakes and learn the lesson in the process. However, the real world is full of repetitive mistakes. It seems that not being able to learn the lesson has been a far greater problem than making an apparently bad decision.

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About 1mmarketing

Working as Associate Professor, School of Business, United International University, Bangladesh; a North-American graduate, with doctoral studies from UUM, Malaysia, cherishing a wide-view of the world, with multiple interests in culture, people, traveling, and specifically marketing science. I have a colorful and diversified background with a blend of corporate experience, research, consulting, training, public speaking and teaching. I love to write about marketing issues that affect our lives, and talk about its direction that would promote the greatest human welfare.
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