Brand Management Marketing Communications

Awful Brand and Marketing Communication Practices That Will Make 90% of Your Prospects Hate Your Brand

What makes your brand and marketing communications ridiculous? This article lists the most downrated practices, from a customer point of view.

This article will upset some people. Others might not agree with it, and they might have some results to contest these findings. This article is based on over 2,000,000 data points from the brand and marketing communication audits we did for 800+ clients during the past months.

The goal of this article is to list the most downrated marketing communications practices, from a customer point of view. If you want to audit your brand, you can start to configure your audit here:

Let’s get started.

1. Spammy funnel email automation

82% of the 2,000,0000 brand audit respondents hated this. Too many emails, coming across as needy, and various desperate attempts to make a sale. None of these is anything your potential customers want to experience while exploring what your company has to offer.

Funnels and email automation are great tools to build customer closeness but use it with moderation and purpose. Only do what your prospects give permission to and do not cross their limits. Do not try to educate them. They do not need your comparisons, free ebooks, and needy emails.

Over 80% of people online are aware that leaving their email address equals granting permission to the company to bombard them with emails. And guess what, most of your spammy automated emails will remain unopened and deleted anyway.

Unfortunately, funnel automation misuses are often associated with online scams and info-product sellers which are both equally unreputable. 

Do not try to position your company next to these, so if you value the reputation of your brand over a few sales, then stay away from spammy email automation.

woman smiling while using laptop
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

2. Frequent, inappropriate follow-up emails and messages

There is another version of needy emailing, which exists in the realm of B2B companies. A tat better than automated spam, frequent follow-up emails were downrated by over 78% of market research respondents. 

What are these annoying follow-up emails and other messages?

You probably experienced it: after a demo call, or a brief product presentation, a salesperson will keep bothering you with stuff like:

  • Did you have time to evaluate our offer?
  • When do you have time to call today or tomorrow?
  • Do you want another call to discuss any questions?
  • Hello Sir…
  • You have only 5 days to subscribe…

Even worse, sometimes they will use your more personal means of communication, such as WhatsApp, Linkedin, Skype, or even Facebook Messenger. Geez.

You get the idea. Most brand audit respondents left comments to describe frequent emails as uncomfortable, weird and annoying. This practice comes across as needy and desperate, and develops a really bad idea about the company in the mind of a customer.

It does not take a marketing psychology degree to answer why prospects get annoyed by these communication efforts. Because they were not impressed by the product or service in the first place, and a purchase intent did not start to form in their mind. 

These follow-up attempts are totally inappropriate and counterproductive. A much better alternative is to check back once to see what they think and don’t make it difficult for them to say no if they don’t need your product. Maybe they will need it later. But if you blow your chances they will not consider getting back to your company again.

3. Trying to negotiate your prospects into buying from you

This technique is used when potential customers were not impressed enough, and the company thinks that listing some reasons will make them change their minds. This is a rather poor marketing communication technique, that once again comes across as needy and try-hard. 

This can be observed on various occasions, typically in the case of companies where a professional brand management team is not present. 

Let’s see a few examples: 

When Dan Lok was advertising his book “FU Money”, he had a video where he said straight to the camera: I know you clicked on my ad, but you did not buy my book. What is your f…. excuse now?

Another example is Speechelo’s YouTube ad, where they dedicate an entire advert to list reasons to buy their text-to-speech solution, and in the end, they even say “now that you don’t have any excuses…”

Unless you purposefully advertise to people with mental disabilities, it is not necessary to remind them why your product or service is the best. If your potential customers expressed some interest but did not make a purchase, that can mean three things:

  • They don’t like your product after checking it out in details
  • They like your product but don’t need it right now
  • Your product is interesting, but they are the wrong audience

Instead of trying to negotiate them into a purchase, fix your marketing communications to make your product more attractive, or find a better audience.

4. Poorly configured retargeting campaigns

Talking about audiences, retargeting campaigns in 2021 play a big part in audience retention and marketing communications.

Done right, retargeting can be an extremely good asset to get back people to your website. But in many cases, it’s configured so badly that it will achieve the opposite, and previously interested people will develop hatred towards the brand.

Over 68% of the 2,000,000 marketing communications audit respondents downrated retargeting and shared that they find it particularly annoying when banners and videos are following them.

This typically happens when retargeting / remarketing audience is kept very broad. Some advertisers prefer to serve ads to all website visitors, even though it is a lot better marketing communications practice to target highly engaged people only. The ones who have taken valuable actions and shown real interest in your products or services. 

Another common issue with remarketing campaigns is using generic “reminder” ads instead of utilizing retargeting as a brand-building tool. Ad sequences on YouTube and Facebook are quite easy to configure and will keep prospects engaged instead of boring them with the same ads in various formats.

Lastly, make sure to limit impressions to a few views daily so people will not get frustrated by seeing your advertising everywhere.

positive black female doing makeup and filming beauty blog
Photo by George Milton on

5. Poorly done YouTube video ads

Video ads, and generally any form of marketing communication that is below the average content standards are a big no-no. In times when freely available videos are done so professionally with lighting, audio engineering, after effects by advanced video professionals, it is simply not acceptable to come up with a lazy video ad.

Your target customers will notice the difference in video production quality, and won’t be forgiving if your advertising will look worse than the video they were originally intended to watch.

Ad quality represents your brand and tells a lot about your marketing communications. 

Another reason to invest in quality video production when it comes to ads is that better videos will get higher interaction rates, which means lower cost per click and more efficient advertising. 

The math is simple: if you spend $5,000 on a YouTube campaign at CPM (cost per thousand views) of $2.00 – that means you will get 2,500,000 views. If your CTR (click-through rate) is 1% then your campaign will get 25,000 clicks. Increasing your CTR to 2% will get you 50,000 clicks.

In plain English, this means that a better quality ad with higher CTR will get you clicks at a reduced price. Both campaign performance statistics and brand management rules confirm that investing in high-quality video advertising is a must.

For more CPM related calculations you can visit the following link

6. Building on socially sensitive topics

Starting from the mid-2000s, top brands in all B2C industries are increasingly embracing social responsibility. This is a great way to win the hearts and sympathy of their potential customers. 

Besides working for noble social and environmental causes that are generally appreciated by people, buying from brands will also make customers feel that they contribute to that cause by backing the company with their purchase. 

Fairtrade, environmentally conscious, sustainable, and other terms are increasingly frequent in the marketing communications of companies. Just recently at the end of the 2010s, global brands all stood up for LGBTQ rights, changing their logos and taking sometimes excessive measures against employees who did not agree with their take.

This triggered quite some backlash, as people know that capitalism does not care about you.

Capitalism does not care about you

People know that brands are only using socially sensitive topics to get attention and look better, and marketing communication strategies built on these pillars are generally looked at as poor and inauthentic.

While brand positioning strategies should include social differentiators to get the attention of specific groups of people, riding trends of social issues and short-lived events is just corny and cheap.

We only recommend including social topics in your branding and marketing efforts when it has strong relevance to your customers.

What happened with Dove?

Unilever’s Dove is selling limited-edition packaging of its body wash in the U.K. designed to resemble different female body types, according to a company news release. The effort is meant to celebrate different types of beauty as part of Dove’s long-running “Real Beauty” platform, and is being promoted with the hashtag #RealBeauty.

The campaign has received heavy backlash on social media and Twitter, in particular, according to Business Insider. Much of the criticism suggested that comparisons to bottles of body wash are unflattering or ridiculous regardless of body shape. “Re: the Dove thing, of course a company selling products to make you feel body positive wants you to be self-conscious,” tweeted one user named Elizabeth Bruenig (@ebruenig) in a post that now appears to be deleted. 

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