Joel D Canfield

Brand strategy for
family-owned businesses

Who Do They Think You Are?

Heartbreaking Branding Fail

Yesterday I was watching a live stream from a personality I've always enjoyed. Their famous TV show was witty, smart, practical, and homey. Later, they had another show that showed a different personality; still witty, still smart, but with an 'all in good fun' bite.

When we needed what they taught, they were our first stop. Our only stop, in most cases.

Five minutes after I joined the live stream, they misunderstood a comment in the chat, and the result stunned me.

This cheerful homey person I'd have enjoyed having lunch with went red in the face, leaned into the camera, and spouted a paragraph of invective laced with every profane word I've ever heard, and including personal insults toward the commenter.

I sat, slack-jawed and blinking, until they recognized their error, apologized in a joking manner, and called themselves a few body part names. All the while, their house partner in the video looked into the camera with a slightly amused look, but no other reaction.

After I closed the stream, I was still agog. It wasn't just the profanity, but the lightning-trigger anger and personal attack that shocked me.

Never again will I be able to watch their shows without a knot in my stomach (meaning I won't watch them, period.) Never again will I be able to search for things we use almost daily and include their name in the search, knowing I'll get what I want.

Yes, I'll work harder and perhaps settle for lower quality, just to avoid the sick disappointed feeling I know I'll get every time I hear their name.

Branding doesn't take time off. You don't control it. You only influence how your fans (or ex-fans) brand you in their minds and hearts.