When brands hit the sweet spot, everything comes together for a marketing home run. The brand’s brand promise, messages, staff, ads, collateral, students, administration, social media, etc. – everything is working great – it doesn’t seem like anything can stop your brand and your stakeholder expectations are being met. However, there is always something that will eventually put a bump in the road.
Take Dion’s for example. Dion’s is known for fresh-made and delicious subs, pizzas, and salads in New Mexico. They are also known for their amazing proprietary dressing recipes. Personally, I am a fan of their turkey and swiss sub with Greek dressing.
Unfortunately for New Mexicans, on January 24, 2017, the dressing train came to a stop as Dion’s announced they were upgrading their dressing manufacturing facility and temporarily replacing their dressings with a “high quality alternative”.
In shock and awe, many people bought as much of the small containers or bottles of their favorite dressings to give longevity to their cravings. In the days following, the people of Albuquerque came up with several ways of holding off any potential issues from the dressing shortfall, including “declaring Marshal Law on the city or state” as well as selling 3 oz. containers for $100 and $200-$250 for 16 oz. bottles on Craigslist and Ebay. Closer to Dion’s bottom line, fans stopped going to the stores and many orders were cancelled when patrons found out the famous dressing had not returned.
I believe the response caught Dion’s a little off guard as the news originally suggested “ranch-gate” would end after a few weeks, but after 13 days Dion’s announced their new manufacturing equipment was operational. During the Super Bowl, the local news outlets were letting the state know the dressings were returning. Dion’s CEO, Mark Herman, went on to say “We received an overwhelming response to the story about our Ranch dressing and I understand that many loyal fans dearly missed some of Dion’s signature flavors. That’s why we are so excited to announce the completion of the production facility upgrade which will allow us to continue to provide our quality products for years to come.”
Morals of the Story
Just like in your personal life, if you break your promise you run the risk of alienating yourself from those who trusted you. Your students, staff, faculty, administration, potential students all expect your school to live up to certain expectations.
The simple truth to the story, there is no “high quality alternative” to your brand. Your brand, is your brand. You do everything you can to protect and keep providing customers, students, staff, faculty, and administrators what they expect from your brand. Essentially, live up to your brand promise!
Second, and just as important, the “high quality alternative” distributed is most likely a competitor. If you provide an alternative, you are suggesting to your customers this other product or service is just as good as yours. You’ve given your stakeholders an opportunity to shop around. When the original returns customers may prefer to stay with the alternative product/service. Don’t give your stakeholders the opportunity to shop around.