15 June 2015 0 Comments

The Perils of Bad Branding

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Gazprom_hqBranding exercises can often fall completely flat on their faces, especially if a distinct lack of imagination is utilised by marketing executives. This was perfectly shown during the rebranding of the Las Vegas Hilton, when its name was changed simply to the LVH Hotel. Uninspiring, boring and more akin to a title used by a motel on Vegas’ ring road, the hotel began losing money, having to lease off properties as timeshares in late 2014.

This sort of poorly-planned approach to marketing has been endemic within Vegas’ companies in recent years, with social media platforms particularly being badly maintained and operated. It might explain why online-only companies such as Yeboyes Casino – sites that offer customers the ability to play casino games over the net – have risen to such significance in recent years!

Then there’s the ignorant side of branding. Case in point is the 2009 joint venture that occurred between Russian energy giant Gazprom EP International B.V. and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. So, what did the two companies choose as a name for their new energy partnership? Nigaz. Surely a portmanteau that never, ever should have come in to existence!

Stores have, over the years, been complicit in terrible branding and marketing exercises too. This year, U.S. retailer Target made headlines when it decided to sell, in the children’s toys section, action figures from the series Breaking Bad that depicted a crack dealer and drug lord! The same goes for Walmart, whose online store’s Halloween section included, for a very short time, a sub-section entitled “Fat Girl Costumes”. Perhaps Walmart should have taken better care of its workforce so as to guard against such disgruntled behaviour?

One thing that the majority of bad branding examples share in common is the fact that, upon seeing the mess-ups, one simply can’t understand how said gaffe got past the hordes of execs and management types prior to release. Malaysian Air is no different; in 2014, after losing two planes to terrible, world-shaking circumstances, the company launched a “bucket list” themed campaign, asking where their customers would like to visit before they die. Come on now.

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