MarComedy: Don’t make me laugh

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Do Customers Leave Brands By Mutual Consent?

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News out of London has Jose Mourinho leaving his post as manager of Chelsea Football Club by mutual consent. As a fan of Manchester United myself, I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand I respect his track record and football acumen. He’s also amusingly arrogant and a true showman. But with big bucks behind him, he’s also turned Chelsea into a massive rival for ManU. I’d imagine Ed Lee has similarly mixed feelings…or maybe not. A lot of people hate Mourinho.

To say that he left by mutual consent is spokes-babble for the fact that he lost a pissing match with his boss. There’s been a well-documented chilling of relations between Mourinho and Roman Abramovich, the club’s owner, over the expect standard of sucess. Something gave. But not before "the
special one" (a handle he picked up after saying at his opening CFC press conference: "Please don’t call me arrogant, but I’m European champion and I think I’m a special one.") had completely reinvented and revitalitzed Chelsea. And that’s the reason for the official line.

But do customers leave brands by mutual consent?

For the most part, brands wouldn’t consent to a customer leaving them. That means lost revenue and a lost supporter. Brands (and I use the broadest sense of the word) are constantly working to prevent you from leaving them. Relentless advertising extoling benefits. Product placements and strategic alignments to help us realize how the product/service/whatnot completes us. Occasionally brands will stop courting a particular set of customers if they feel they need to move in another direction. But that’s by mutual disinterest really.

There are loads of reasons why a customer leaves a brand. The main one would be breach of trust. It’s really a category of reasons:

  • failure to deliver on brand promise;
  • a bad customer service experience;
  • failure to live up to legal or social standards;
  • personal or financial injury and so on….

When a customer leaves a brand its a one-sided affair. The brand can stand outside the customer’s window blaring "In Your Eye"s all it wants. There’ll be no happy ending. The term we’re looking for is Irreconcileable Differences.

And that illuminates some parrallels between the Mourinho/Chelsea saga and the Brand/Customer relationship (apologies for the shoddy production values…):


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Written by Jonathan Dunn

September 19, 2007 at 9:00 pm

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