Brand Schizophrenia is what can happen to a company when it has a strong “silo” culture. The “contradictory or antagonistic qualities or attitudes” of schizophrenia experienced inside organizations can be felt outside in the consumer marketplace.
Consumers get confused. Brand equity can be lost. Brand image gets diffused.
A regional bank in 1999-2000 (in the earliest days of online banking). At that time, consumers attracted to online banking were sophisticated, better educated, and more willing to take risks, so the website was designed to attract them. Conversely, general market ads had a 1950s look and tone, with a folksy, “we’re really there for you” message. And the call center was incentivized based on how quickly they could complete calls. If you were a customer of this bank, would you have known the “person” you were dealing with? (I created GSS’s “Relationship Matrix” to help companies avoid this problem.)
Kindle vs. Amazon today. 1) I get emails from Amazon suggesting I buy books I’ve already purchased on my Kindle. 2) I can “save for later” a book of interest on my Kindle, but don’t have that same function as a known Kindle owner at the Amazon website. To the brand’s detriment, I’ve started to think of them as two separate companies. What’s next? Wondering why I can’t get non-Amazon content on my Kindle.
Consumers have a harder time relating to a schizophrenic brand. If they don’t have a simple way to think about a company, they often stop thinking about it. A clear recipe for diminished customer loyalty and sales.
Let me know your thoughts or offer up your own stories about Brand Schizophrenia.