Branding and the Bear Necessities

Yes I ate them all… I ate every single one of them… in one sitting… while watching an episode of The History Channel’s ‘Cities of the Underworld’. I believe it was ‘Hitler’s Underground Lair.’

The gummy bears were delicious, but they came with a bitter aftertaste – and I will not be buying them again.

I bought this box of gummy bears at my local produce store. I’m a big fan of all the Dan-D-Pak products (chocolate covered almonds, trail mix, the occasional dried fruit etc…) so I picked up a box of bears. But when I got home and pulled them out of the bag I noticed that what seemed to be a full box was actually only 2/3 of the box that I was used to buying. You see, what those sneaky guys did was cave in the bottom, so less gummy bears get in whilst appearing as if nothing different had happened. Same size box to the naked eye, same price.

I was mad. I didn’t care about the lack of value that was lost. It was the fact that it was so sneaky, so deceptive.

It wasn’t so much that I had lost trust in the brand as much as it was me being insulted by the brand. I had been tricked.

Branding is the social version of the individual connection we call trust. I believe that great branding begins with truth-telling. Telling the truth – authenticity – is such an important element of effective branding. So you had a tough year. The economy is poor. Not as many people are buying your gummy bears as they were 2 years ago. But the most stickler of consumers understand that. Cutbacks have been made all over (Have you been on a charter flight lately? You have to bring your own toilet paper). But to fool me into buying your product is just poor decision making, and not worth losing a customer over.

Do you have any examples of brands that are slowly eroding away at your trust?

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