It’s important not to mislead customers with false advertising – common sense tells you that if something isn’t bought as described, there’s going to be problems.
Brand reputation is crucially important yet so easily tarnished, so creating and upholding strict guidelines is extremely important with any type of marketing or PR you produce and syndicate!
Can you back your claims up? If not, it’s false advertising
If you’re spending money on false advertising, it’s not only unethical but it’s also a false economy, as the ROI you’re likely to see in the long term will be false and cause your business harm.
Consumers don’t like liars
Probably the most obvious effect of false advertising is that your customers suffer. They may make decisions based on false or misleading information, which could lead to them wasting money on products or services they don’t need. Examples of these harmful ads may include false warranties, hidden costs, and guarantees which are then contradicted in small print.
Consumers also don’t like broad statements that can’t be proven – so if you’re saying things like “the country’s largest”, “the safest” or “the most environmentally friendly”, you need to have proof to back it up. It may sound impressive but unless you truly know your competition and what they offer, it’s safer to keep your claims more down to earth, and more easily proven!
Your business & brand reputation will be impacted
The knock on effect of poor advertising and unhappy customers is usually seen most in a downturn of sales and leads – it’s easy to underestimate how quickly a poor reputation can spread, especially in today’s social media driven world. One or two poor reviews won’t make or break the bank, but consistent bad feedback from real users will impact your business, there are no two ways about it. It doesn’t matter what your business model is; whether direct sales, resellers, B2B services or store sales, you’ll see these channels drop if your brand becomes a no-go for consumers. Once that happens, it’s a lot harder to get things back on the up and negate negative reviews than it is to advertise correctly in the first place!
Your employees will suffer
Like a row of dominoes, your staff will be the next in line to fall. If sales drop and business declines due to poor reputation, you must start making cuts somewhere, and, worst case scenario, staff are often in the firing line.
Even if staff redundancies aren’t necessary, your employees are still the ones who bear the brunt of misleading ads. They are the middle man between customer and management and will be the ones who must deal with angry consumers who want resolutions that they often can’t give. If this is the case, you may find your staff retention drops as employees leave of their own accord to work elsewhere.
This is a trap that many companies fall into; spending money on advertising to beat the competition, often resulting in all parties making false claims in a big game of “onemanupship”. Instead of spending money on additional advertising or making claims that aren’t true or a stretch on the true, be sure to investigate the competition fully – you may find they’re not as squeaky clean as they appear and instead of trying to beat them with similar tactics of your own, you can simply win business away by being genuine and offering customers the truly better deal.
The money you can save doing this is better spent on innovation, trade shows and investing into your own offerings to further improve them and keep both existing and new customers happy.