A Canadian man has filed a lawsuit against Sunwing Airlines – an airline based in Toronto – after being served sparkling wine when they had promised a ‘champagne service’.
According to the BBC the airline said it believes the lawsuit “to be frivolous and without merit”.
And on the face of it I think we’d all agree.
But the lawyer acting on behalf of the complainant said “It’s not about the pettiness of champagne versus sparkling wine – it’s the consumer message behind it.”
And as a marketer, I think I’m with them on this one.
But this isn’t just a simple story of a ‘bad ad’ using the wrong words to describe the product or service, or a ‘Trade Description’ issue (as is often incorrectly cited to describe these situations).
This is much bigger. It’s the manifestation of a real life frustration people have. A brand destroying frustration. One that eats away at any brand value you have.
It’s about how you create and maintain a brand.
The biggest threat to your brand isn’t a poorly thought out logo or the badly executed ‘look and feel’ you present to the world.
It’s when a customer expects a certain level of service (because the adverts, the promotions or the sales team have told them to expect a ‘champagne service’ perhaps) but what they get doesn’t match that expectation.
The whole organisation has to be bought into the brand. The whole organisation is the brand – and if there’s no consistency between marketing messaging and customer experience, it can drive people mad. Even to the point of suing.
We have since discussed this story and Abigail agrees: “Consumers are selecting brands that reflect their values – but also deliver against where they want to be”.
And that’s why these ‘frivolous’ things rankle so much.
Abigail continued: “Brand perceptions are made up from an accumulation of experience and interactions’.
Do you agree? What do you see as the biggest threat to your (or any) brand?