Sports retailer Reebok has been slammed this week for its latest campaign slogan “cheat on your girlfriend, not on your workout”.
The highly questionable tag line has been jumped on by all corners of the media since it was picked up, with social media activists in particular sinking the boot in.
That a global conglomerate could make such a rookie error is a reminder of the importance of clean, consistent branding and the effect it has on consumers.
A brand is what consumers think of a business. It’s the image, words and feelings that are associated with a business.
What comes to mind when you think of Nike? Active, innovative, powerful, popular. It’s no accident that these terms are associated with the company, that’s how Nike has been branded.
Don’t be fooled, an inordinate amount of time and money goes into conjuring up this sort of positive sentiment. But it's money well spent when consumers associate themselves with these great attributes and buy the brand. Because that’s what they’re doing, buying the brand.
Do you want to be associated with cheating on your girlfriend but being loyal to your workout, biff?
Not only is this an exceptionally poor slogan for Reebok to go with, but it also breaks the number one rule of branding – consistency.
Once a company decides how it wants to be perceived, it’s crucial that it sticks with the message its putting out there. The more consistently a brand is conveyed across the whole organisation, the more impressive and instantly recognisable it becomes.
And impression and recognition instil trust and confidence, great qualities for products to have when they talk to those walking by their shop windows.
This consistency doesn’t need to come at the cost of innovation in how your brand is marketed either. Get the message out there in as many different ways, on as many different platforms as you can. Just keep it consistent.
Branding is the summation of everything your business does, everything it stands for and everything it believes in.
Maybe someone should let Reebok in on the big secret, because nobody wants to buy infidelity.
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