Cancer survivor defies the odds by becoming the champion of his sport for seven years in a row and becomes one of the most inspirational figures on the planet.
That’s a script you want to read. More importantly, it’s a movie you want to see. So you agree to make the movie. It’s a blockbuster. So you ask your screenwriter to come in and pitch you a sequel. Here’s that pitch:
The first movie is a fairy tale. The champion actually used performance enhancing drugs to win and has now jaded the world with lies and deceit.
No one wants to read that script. No one wants to see that movie. And that’s exactly where we are at with this week’s news about Lance Armstrong admission of using performance enhancing drugs.
So what does this have to do with marketing? Everything.
What promises does your brand make? Does your brand fulfill those promises or do you leave your customers jaded with lies and deceit?
If you’re guilty of this as a brand, just stop it already. You’ll be found out soon enough. Making unrealistic brand promises like, “You’re in good hands with All State” can be too easily ruined by one insurance agent on a weekend bender. Lowe’s used to say “Let’s build something together.” But when is the last time you and a guy with a blue apron built a shed in your backyard?
And if you still are struggling with this, think about what Jester told Maverick and Goose at the end of this scene. But change the words to: Your brand is writing checks your customers can’t cash.
I wish Lance Armstrong nothing but the best. I hope he perseveres and can inspire people once more. Perhaps the truth will be inspirational enough. Will Armstrong get a second chance? That’s to be determined. But second chances don’t come easy, especially for brands.