Drama is bad for your brand. I recently talked to an administrator for a public school system who said it better than I can: “Drama is bad for our brand.” She wasn’t talking about student drama which is to be expected. A teen’s brain is not fully developed yet; many of them live inside of dysfunctional family dynamics and let’s not forget the raging hormones.
“We have a student centered mission and when adults have drama it’s in the public eye and on public record, and it distracts from our purpose.”
Whether it’s the hotel industry, the restaurant industry, education, or retail, it’s easy to see examples of how drama impacts the company brand.
Here are a few snapshots of how drama can hurt your brand, and the type of drama on exhibit. These are all personal examples that I didn’t have to work to find. I’ll bet you have a few of your own, which I invite you to post at the end of this blog.
Unhappy Shoe Salesman
I went shopping a retail store in the mall. I recognized the shoe salesman. He used to work at the other anchor store at the other end of the mall. When I asked him about it he said, “This place beats the way I was treated at the other store, and at least there’s a better selection here.”
Drama Type: Management-employee issues. Unhappy employees seek other employment then they talk bad about your company.
Loud Luxury Hotel
I recently stayed at a lake resort in Lake of the Ozarks because of their luxury positioning. I had a early morning presentation a few miles down the road and I wanted a little pampering. To my surprise, this was more of a party palace than a luxury resort. Drunk 20-somethings outside my door at all hours of the early morning kept me from getting much sleep or relaxation. When I called the front desk they had an excuse: There’s a bar downstairs and a band, so there’s nothing I can do.
Drama Type:Unclear Marketing Message. Stop trying to be something you are not. If your brand is about parties, drinking and late nights, say so and get rid of the picture of the spa on your website.
Years ago I simply asked the waitress to substitute iceberg lettuce with romaine. After the waitress asking me to simply choose something else, I got every excuse from, “We get the lettuce in bags” to “I’m busy” to “It would make the cook angry to ask for a change.”
Drama Type: Wrong focus. The focus in a sit-down restaurant should be on the customer, but instead the focus was on avoiding work or avoiding a fight with the cook. I’m not sure how the owner would have responded had he known about the incident. This restaurant is no longer in business. It may just be coincidence, but I’ll never know for sure.
In all types of drama there are always three components: A lack of clarity, a relationship issue and resistance, and if you look closely you can see all three components in each of these simple scenarios.
The end result is turnover, lost customers, loss of trust, or bad press. The truth is, we are all on big brother and eventually drama will hurt your brand.
How is drama hurting your brand?