My bad; My opportunity

By Rachel Blatt

We all make mistakes. But often, those mistakes provide an opportunity to show people just how good you are at dusting yourself off and trying again. Today, as brands’ relationships with consumers become increasingly based in the digital, the possibility of a quick error affecting your consumers at scale is ever increasing. Take, for example, this email Eastern Mountain Sports sent out last night to anyone who’d ever shopped at their store:

It’s more important than ever that brands be flexible, human, and have a sense of humor when things like that happen. This is an example of a brand doing just that, turning a blunder into a lovely Thanksgiving bonus. 

Rachel Blatt is global content manager at Wolff Olins.

How NEXT is your brand?

To see how ready your brand is for change, try these ten questions:

Brand = platform

1. Do you give customers a new power of some sort, like Skype or Twitter? Or do you just help them do old things better?

2. Do you let customers in, reveal your strategy, admit to mistakes, like JetBlue? Or are you secretive?

3. Do you get customers to participate (donate their time or skills, provide content, design products…), like Wikipedia or Lego? Or do you create everything yourselves?

4. Do you encourage a network effect (enable peer-to-peer activity, get customers to bring in new customers), like Zopa or Zipcar? Or do you deal with customers one at a time?

5. Do you happily give away some of your intellectual property, like Mozilla? Or is everything strictly copyright?

Brand = link

6. Do you work through other organisations, thinking collaboration rather than competition, like Better Place? Or are you suspicious of collaboration?

7. Do you offer collaborators a unique technology or attitude or ethos that multiplies the meaning of their brand? And does their brand add to the meaning of yours? Are you like Amazon Marketplace or (RED)? Or are your brand and your collaborator’s brand quite separate?

Brand = theme

8. Do you deliberately offer different things, and act in different ways, from country to country, like Mandarin Oriental? Or do you pride yourself on your consistency?

9. Are you happy for customers and collaborators to adopt and maybe adapt your brand identity, like NYC? Or is that anathema?

10. Do you develop your brand by experimentation, like Google? Or does everything have to be 100% perfect before it hits the outside world?

(Robert Jones : @robertjones2)