Brain Chatter: Marketing Stunt or Marketing with Purpose?

October 18, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

Talk about an attention-grabbing headline:

Why This Luxury Watch Brand is Calling 17,819 of Its Customers to Personally Apologize.”

Over 17,000 people? Directly called?! You’d click on this article for sure.

We definitely did. AdWeek reported last week on how Kickstarter watch brand Filippo Loreti decided to call 17,819 of its project backers to apologize for very delayed watch deliveries (2-5 months).

On the surface, this is a fantastic example of customer service and unparalleled at that.

Things get a little murkier as you continue to scroll down the article:

“It’s trying to do this in two days, and is livestreaming it all on Facebook…” It’s dubbed as #SorryDirectlyToYou.

Before you decide to roll your eyes and click away, it’s still a great customer service idea.

The iffy part is if Filippo Loreti is capable of maintaining this kind of customer service effectively.

By deciding to do this stunt, and gain great PR in the meantime, the watch brand has essentially set an incredibly high bar for itself. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it should hopefully work as an ongoing motivator to repeatedly put the customer first and keep the brand in check with its beliefs.

But, words have to be followed up with tangible actions. When a bar like this is set, it means customers are going to have a certain expectation. They’re also incredibly quick at forming these expectations.

Just like a brand belief can’t just be words painted into a mural in some boardroom, actions (even as grand as this) can’t be a one-hit wonder.

If it is just a one-time thing, then #SorryDirectlyToYou is just a PR stunt with no substance. Then at the end of the day, what do any of its values matter to potential customers? There’ll be no opportunity for people to connect with it on a deeper level than just product.

In the Battle for Time, brands simply can’t afford to be that empty. If they are, then they end up being discarded in the unremarkable pile while audience move onto the next best thing.

Filippo Loreti released a statement that included the following line:

However, we still thought that the least we could do was show them live that we are working really hard to make up for our mistakes. Instead of hiding behind anonymous e-mails and a defense line of customer service, Filippo Loreti knows when it’s time to ditch the tech and go for a good old “sorry.”

It’s a great sentiment. But if the brand really thinks that the least it could do was show people that its working hard to make up for its mistakes, then it has to always do this. Period.

We’re not saying it can’t. We’re simply saying it must.

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