I’m on advisory panels for two different companies, a pet food manufacturer and a paint manufacturer, and I notice the exact same things about both of them. Both companies are trying to find ways to make their products sell better, but they are not really interested in making their products actually better. And I understand why, in both markets, all of the premium pet foods and the premium paints are pretty much the same. There’s nothing really better about one brand than another and the manufacturers know it. They can’t make a superior product because their product is already as good as modern technology can make it, so they’re just trying to make people think that their product is better than their competition, even if it isn’t.
And I find that stupid.
Oh, I know why they do it, they’re just trying to make as much money as they can and attract all the brand loyalty possible, but when their entire pitch is “tell us which phrasing of the same words makes you more likely to buy our product” or “how can we get you to talk about our product on social media” or “what does our product make you feel like”, it makes me want to puke.
And I tell them that.
Frankly, I’m surprised I’m still on these panels most of the time. Every survey about what color to make the bag or what order to put words in, or how their marketing strategies make me feel, I answer that none of that matters. All I care about is how healthy their food is for my pet or how good their paint works. So long as my pet likes their food and it’s at a price that I think is worthwhile, I’ll buy it. So long as their paint does what I want it to do and it’s at a reasonable cost, I’ll buy it. Nothing else matters. And I’m also very honest with both of them that I don’t buy their particular products. I am not a customer of either company, nor do I have any interest in becoming one. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with what they make, I have no particular problem with their product line, I have tried their products in the past and I simply have other things that I like better. I am willing to give them my honest opinion though and tell them what I think of their strategies and largely, I think that they are headed in the wrong direction.
And I think I’m rubbing off on others, much to the consternation of both companies.
Case in point, the company asked on the paint site what the company should do differently in 2017. And someone said “stop telling people that you have a 1-coat paint because clearly, you don’t”. I was rolling on the floor so hard I couldn’t even post and agree. But others did. This came up because they had been asking about new packaging for one of their paints and they kept highlighting “one coat coverage”. Sorry, I’ve used your paint and it’s nowhere near one coat coverage. Well, maybe if you perfectly prepped a wall and covered it with two coats of pre-colored primer, then maybe you can cover it with a single coat of same-color paint, but otherwise, not a chance in hell. People are starting to recognize just how ridiculous the marketing bullshit these companies come up with are. It’s not one-coat paint. It’s not superior ingredients. It’s just spin that they hope nobody realizes is really just empty rhetoric. The more people who recognize it for what it is, the better. I predict both companies will abandon their advisory programs if this continues because they don’t want to hear that consumers are wising up. They want people to be stupid, gullible and easily controlled.
And that’s just sad.