How do you pronounce puffery

What is puffery and why is it bad for your brand reputation?

As marketers, we are expected to generate some interest in the brands we promote or represent. We can do this by correcting certain negative perceptions that encourage positive ones, making sure they come to the mind of potential clients or clients, and in myriad other ways.

However, it is a common misconception that marketing requires buffers - or exaggerates or twists facts to generate interest in the brand.

Still, this form of marketing hype creeps into marketing strategies one way or another, for both large and small brands, intentionally or unintentionally.

What is puffery?

Puffery is a statement or claim that is promotional in nature. It's usually subjective and not to be taken seriously.

Examples include claiming that your product is “the best in the world” or something totally unbelievable like a product that claims you feel like you are in space.

Most consumers tend to ignore bizarre claims unless a brand successfully associates them as a tagline, such as Red Bull's claim that it gives you wings. While customers don't really believe that the energy drink is literally giving them wings, Red Bull has successfully used the proposition to improve their brand position.

Why puffery can work

There's a reason these forms of marketing have been around for a long time, and continue to do so today: they can work well.

Claims that a product will solve a key problem in your life will grab your attention. Numbers that show how much money you are saving could seduce your wallet, and overemphasized little things could cause you to change your voice.

As a consumer, it's not really our fault. It's the same reason we generally prefer less complex songs. We like simple bite-size information, and marketers have taken advantage of this throughout history. Unfortunately, abuse cases are widespread, often with false advertising and fraud.

Puffery legal issues and risks

Because of this practice, false advertising along with trademark infringement became illegal under the Lanham Act in 1946. Although companies have largely adhered to and adjusted their strategies, a number of violations have occurred to date, often leading to massive legal disputes.

One of them is the successful $ 13 million class action lawsuit against Red Bull in 2014. No, not because the drink didn't really give you wings, but because they claimed their drink could improve focus and speed of reaction, despite the fact that it did actually the case could not be scientifically proven. However, Red Bull claims that their labeling is correct.

This example shows how dangerous it is to circumvent the problems of false advertising with buffers. Perhaps Red Bull really does improve concentration and reaction speed, if only for a short time and only for certain people. I'm sure we know someone who thinks better and reacts faster when they get their daily dose of caffeine.

The US National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health even published an article claiming that caffeine reduces response time and improves performance after being tested in a simulated taekwondo competition. In this case, however, the court still ruled against Red Bull for allegedly pushing too far - which becomes a problem for marketers as there is no clear quantitative limit to what is too far.

Reputation damage from puffery

Let's take things on a more personal level.

You might meet someone at a marketing conference who praises this new software they just bought. They're pretty reasonable about what they say and can point out certain areas where the product is better than what you're currently using. In addition, you have verified that it is not a seller of the company and you have decided to give the product a try.

After purchasing it, you find that the product is solid, but based on the information that person provided, it is not what you expected. You don't necessarily have to be dissatisfied with your purchase, but you are also no longer happy because it was oversold for you. The next time that person recommends something, you are unlikely to make their point without a grain of salt.

The same applies to brands that make certain claims and do not deliver.

Consumers will likely remember having been disappointed by certain claims. Depending on how disappointed you are, you can expect them to talk to others about it. While you may have received the first sale, you may have just damaged the long-term relationship that could have been established with a customer.

The decreasing effectiveness of Puffery

Research shows that people who are more familiar with a product are less likely to be affected by buffers. This is because they are more informed and can easily spot the points that don't make sense to them, reducing the effectiveness of the ad.

The same goes for many online marketing pitches.

While people unfamiliar with the latest developments in search algorithms might find the idea of ​​paid link farms pointing to their website attractive for increasing web traffic and performance on SERPs, those who aren't getting bad SEO information would Knowing this This is a bad idea and I find the suggestion undesirable. Even a quick search of your favorite search engine for "Are Link Farming Any Good?" Would provide results that state and show why this is not a good idea, however.

With the growing amount of information available to us, checking claims using search engines makes things even easier, in addition to the fact that building knowledge in our areas of interest is much easier than it has been in the past. While there are still barriers preventing access to information, or in some cases not simple enough, these barriers are being removed every year.

With the increasing difficulty of using Puffery effectively, the potential legal issues, and the ever-present risk of costly damage to a brand's reputation, using Puffery is becoming increasingly detrimental. It should be avoided by brands now and even more so as we go into the future.

Photo credit

Selected image: PixabayIn-post photo:Pixabay