February 08, 2007I started a post over on More than a living entitled "You've got to be kidding me." My premise was that anytime you hear yourself saying "You've got to be kidding me" to a corporate request that there is something disingenuous about that request.
Be wary, I advised.
But the thing I didn't delve into over there--because the focus is less on marketing and more on meaning--was the brand conflict of "You've got to be kidding me."
"You've got to be kidding me" is a signal that the request is out of whack with the central brand idea. That there is a conflict. That there is something rotten in Denmark. The request doesn't match your preconceived image of the requestor. Intuition causes your hackles to raise.
You see, as I've mentioned time and time again, brands live in the mind of the beholder. You don't own them. You can't control them. Employee or customer. The brands live in hearts beyond your grasp.
You can only hope to influence the brand in that person's mind. Nudge it a bit. Change course slightly.
And because of this, brands don't accept jarring leaps. They only accept smooth transitions. They only accept controlled changes. Baby steps, my friend, baby steps.
Remind me to take you through my dissertation on "The Inherent Lessons of Successful Brand Extensions as Seen through Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk."
Oh, I'm sorry. Where was I?
Ah yes, how "You've got to be kidding me" is your Spidey sense telling you to run. For a ridiculous example, let's take Grandma's brand.
You hear: "Grandma switched from Lipton to Tazo tea because she's been drinking Tazo at Starbucks." Your response? "Oh. Zzzzzzzz."
You hear: "Grandma got arrested for tagging the speed limit signs because she fell in with a 'bad element' that hung out at Starbucks." Your response? "You've got to be kidding me."
"You've got to be kidding me" is your intuition telling you that the brand is stretching too far. Or, worse yet, completely taking advantage of you. Betraying your trust. Sullying your emotional relationship.
"You've got to be kidding." Listen to it. It's a compass for your brand decisions.
You've got to be kidding me
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