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Brands Should Do a Gut Check
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Brands are different than people in some senses, but in others they need to be just like consumers. That includes having a point of view, having emotions (yes, brands should have feelings, too), and always doing a gut check. Something that seemed like a funny, simple idea inside a boardroom does not always translate into a success. That 3:00 p.m. brainstorm on a Tuesday could have created what seemed like a good idea, but these ideas need to pass the gut test. If customers do a gut check, so should their brands.

Crate & Barrel is a brand with a sensible gut and one that’s focused around food and home décor. This brand is rarely known for edgy strategies, but instead is simply relevant and a staple within its industry. But Crate & Barrel’s sister store CB2 forgot to do a gut check recently. Not on the a product itself, but with the way this specific product was marketed. The brand created a new product; not ingenious, just cute — a change purse. No gut check needed there. Then, in some board room, probably at the end of the day, the marketing around this change purse was in need of a gut check that it never got. CB2 named the coffee cup-inspired change purse the “lucky beggar wallet.” Really, CB2? Major gut-check fail.

The product itself is inspired by an NYC coffee cup, an iconic image that many consumers can relate to. But the marketing around this product gives consumers the odd feeling that this change purse is related to the homeless problem that occurs in the city and the coffee cups that are used to collect change. And the name? That’s where the gut check fell short. So who at CB2 thought this product was one the brand should carry along with this marketing strategy?

It’s important for brands to gut check the big initiatives; the strategies that form the brand. But brands also need to have enough sense to do the same thing for each and every product and their marketing strategies. Consumers have feelings, brands have feelings, and if a gut check isn’t being done someone is going to get hurt...and the brand will most likely take the blame.


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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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