Monday, April 15, 2013

The Business of Business: no "Kwik" fixes

Sometimes the greatest lessons in business can be learned from government errors. Take for example the recent Maine Lottery ‘Kwikie’ debacle. I thought that this week we could explore what went wrong, and how you can learn from it. Keep in mind there is no ‘Kwik’ fix to branding- only long term development.

As the architect of Rent-A-Husband, the greatest double-entendre brand names in history, I was appalled reading Portland Press columnist Bill Nemitz’s column about the ‘Kwikie’ a few weeks ago. The head of the bureau that oversees branding for the State’s lottery was quoted as saying- they knew they were going to do something provocative. In other words, excite the senses of ‘Kwikie’ patrons. At the same time, lottery officials were going to gamble that their double-entendres related to promoting ‘Kwikies’ would not be offensive. Yes, this is in fact, high-stakes marketing.

Here is where the state leaders failed miserably. When you incorporate a double-entendre strategy into your branding plan, you must always work up from the lowest common denominator- in other words, the least sophisticated level of taste. Lottery heads, worked from the excitement of the ‘Kwikie” name down.

The Bureau leading the charge said it did not want to spend 100,000 to 200,000 dollars on professional marketers, to do what they felt they could do in-house. Because of that decision, the lottery now has no over-arching brand, has a world full of bad publicity and has lost the past six months of branding efforts- say nothing about questionable resource allocation.

There is a reason why successful branding experts carry the rates we do. I hope that going forward; lottery officials will consider professional branding consultants. Double-entendre branding is much more of a science than an art. Lesson here: when you roll the dice on a provocative  brand- make it a calculated risk. While the ‘Kwikie’ brand seemed like a kwik fix, the truth is that it was not well reasoned. Successful branding can lead to long lasting brands. The ‘Kwikie’ brand should go away as kwik as it came.

Kaile Warren-16 Gin Mill Lane, Windham, Maine home# 893-2128 cell 712-5323 best daytime number Thank you.

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