The horseshit from agencies and executives about “brand purpose” is getting deeper. According to some brand executives, consumers “associate” with brands that align with their beliefs. Garbage. Consumers buy brands that make them feel good and could care less if they treat their employees like replaceable cogs.
An employee with Geico for over 22 years was laid off this week. His letter to the CEO reminded him that he made more in one week than in his 22-year employment term. Here is what he wrote:
Today, I was completely blindsided. After 22 years of service, I was told to turn in my laptop. I was not given much explanation, which was an insult when I asked about a severance. You, sir, have been with the company for 2years. You have made more money in the past two months than in my 22-year career with GEICO. You make more money in one hour than I make an entire month, yet you cannot afford me.Laid off Geico Employee
Do you think Geico will lose any customers because of this?
Then there is Starbucks and Amazon. Both have been firing people who have tried to unionize their locations, yet Amazon sales are still extremely healthy, and there are still lines at Starbucks drive-throughs.
Consumers have been denied many things during the pandemic, and they’re spending, driving up prices. The bottom line is that most shoppers could care less about how companies treat their people; they want what makes them feel good, and if that’s a Starbucks Machietto, so be it.
Not too long ago, I sat in a presentation from an agency trying to win a CPG company that makes rapid chargers for a range of products like iPhones and iPads. The senior agency people asked what the brand purpose was and was met with silence until the CEO said, “brand purpose? Is this a joke?”. He finally got up and walked out, indicating the agency pitch had failed.
Too many marketers believe the brand purpose horse manure and spend a lot of money and time trying to identify it and integrate it into their corporate mantra. Does anyone think that when a consumer picks a product off the shelf, they will spend time asking, “does this brand align with my values?”.
Know your customers and understand why they are customers, and stop wasting time on brand values that align with consumers.