Monday, March 2, 2009

Porn for the Whole Family?



You've been to the "typical" video store at one time or another.

These stores have the regular assortment of action/comedy/drama/kids videos in the front, but they also do brisk business from videos "out in the back". Often, these selections can be found in an isolated room just behind the swinging saloon doors, out back near the washrooms.

A room with shelves stocked full of adult videos.

This is not a post about to debate moral arguments with respect to porn and whether or not store owners have a right to turn a profit. But, what if the store in question has a sign out front proudly calling itself "Family Video"?

Can you picture how the conversation unfolds?

"Honey, why don't you and the kids pick up a copy of 'Spiderman III', make sure you get them a computer game and while you're grabbing a chick flick, I'll just mosey over to the back of the store and get us 'The Best of Jenna & Friends' for later"

Purely from a branding perspective, you would be on safe ground with any number of company names; All-Star Video, Super Video, Video World, Video Village, Acme Video, etc., but do you see the irony and brand disconnect that ensues when a business trumpeting itself as "Family Video" features a XXX porn section?

A classic case of what TSB refers to as Disconnected Brand Disorder.

"Family Video" is an example of brand disconnect at its most laughable. Unfortunately, it's far from rare.

How many people have experienced another "typical" brand disconnect with any of the major cable companies? Have you noticed how companies that will spend millions on advertising each year, will rarely, if ever, think twice about allowing their brand to be destroyed by overzealous billing departments? Happens whenever a customer who fails to pay the monthly bill for the first time in 10 years or more, winds up with a threatening phone call or worse, a letter taped to the front door.

"Pay up within 72 hours or we will terminate your service!"

You would think a decade or more of paying bills on time would deserve a little latitude and a friendlier touch, but sadly, stories like this are commonplace. It's unfortunate and ultimately frustrating, but far too often, marketing departments and ad agencies are isolated from other parts of the business as internal departments focus on internal problems; forgetting the impact that can have on external brand perceptions and creating various forms of Disconnected Brand Disorder.

It's relatively easy to explain why these brand disconnects occur as often as they do.

It has long been the opinion of TSB that "brand" is THE most misunderstood term tossed around in business vocabularies these days.

In a recent survey conducted by Hewlett-Packard, 55% out of 1,225 small and medium-sized business owners defined "brand" as their product or company name.

29% thought it was their logo.

Lack of clarity on defining what a "brand" is, will inevitably create disconnects throughout any organization. Several years ago, "The Branding Diva", Karen Post, stepped and delivered an Oscar-winning definition that has been proven to work in the "real world".

"A brand is a story, embedded in the mind of the market"

You can break down Karen's definition this way:

Story = Intangible/Unique/Compelling
Embedded = Firmly Lodged
Mind = Human Brains
Market = Customers/Employees/Suppliers/Potential Recruits/Investors

In this interview, Post explains in further detail how "Brain Tattoos" are successfully applied - no matter the category or size of the business.




In reality, branding is everything you do - from products and services to marketing, packaging and customer service - that either follows or contradicts your "story".

But, isn't it interesting that the HP survey mentioned earlier found only 45% of Canadian business owners saying they are “very satisfied” with their current brand, and just 32% are confident they are making the right branding decisions. Yet 59% claim branding is a priority.

Is it any wonder to witness the many cases of Disconnected Brand Disorder that we as consumers experience nearly every day?

Seamless branding is the process of aligning the behavior of every component of an organization with the brand strategy. It reaches beyond marketing and advertising to include areas such as product design, packaging, customer service, sales, the distribution channel, social media, the company name, logo and yes, even the billing department.

Like most powerful ideas, seamless branding is not overly complex. But neither is it easy to accomplish as the diverse, internal areas of many companies fail to grasp (or haven't been trained) that branding IS their business. The good news is that there is plenty of room at the top of most categories for companies that can bring every part of your business into alignment around your brand story. Everything that affects the customer experience; from websites to washrooms, from radio spots to front line reception, from staffing to signage.

Have you developed a powerful brand strategy specific enough to guide all aspects of your organizational behavior? Is your brand story being told in a consistent, seamless fashion, accurately describing what your company is all about and how it is different from your competitors?

Would you believe the cost of getting this wrong is typically much higher than the investment of doing it right?


"A lot of people just see this sex symbol, but I'm a pretty normal person and you'll find out I'm honestly just like the girl next door - well, the girl next door gone bad" JENNA JAMESON




2 comments:

Drummie said...

Gair,
Sorry to hear about your cable. Perhaps you should head on down to the local Family Video. They may have something worth watching.

On a serious not though, Blockbuster video had a policy of what movies that would and would not carry. ABSOLUTELY no adult films and they even banned any mainstream films that received an NC-17 rating. But the video store business in general is headed the way of the dodo bird. Piracy along with internet based companies like Netflix have taken a strong cut out of their business.

Nichole said...

I'm not condemning your analysis of the irony of the Family Video name and it's choice to rent out x-rated videos, but as an employee, I just thought I would explain how the company's name came about so that future readers of this article do not get the wrong idea.

The company is still to this day a family owned and operated company, which is partly where this name originated. However, it was set into stone because of the fact that our company provided entertainment for the WHOLE family, children through adults.

I do understand the irony of the name based upon the rental product, and I myself thought the same exact thing before working for them. But I do want people to know that there should be some research performed as to the history of the name of this company before an uneducated comparison can be performed.

In response to Drummie's post:
I wouldn't be so quick to assume that it's all video store business that are on their last leg. As of 2009, our company has had our best year yet, with my individual store not only increasing our average movie and game rentals, but also the sales of our used product. We are also planning on opening another 200 stores within the next year. It's simply coming down to survival of the fittest, and it's seeming that with Blockbuster pretty much out of our way, and the Redbox, Netflix, and On Demand businesses showing little threat to our overall business, we may have a bright future ahead of our company.