December 11, 2018

The Palessi Brand Fit Lesson for Radio

Tuesdays With Coleman

Do listeners visit your radio station or podcast for the product or the brand?

While you chew on that, let’s visit the story of Palessi.

A couple of weeks ago, Payless ShoeSource opened a pop-up boutique store at a former Armani location in Santa Monica. The company invited groups of upscale fashion gurus and social media influencers to a grand opening event, complete with gold mannequins, soft lighting and models. The name of this new store?

Palessi.

Palessi Branding

And so, this fashionable, trendy new brand in town brought in their target crowd where they could get a good look at the merchandise.

The customers loved what they saw. Influencers used words like “elegant,” “classy” and “sophisticated” to describe the shoes, which attendees guessed cost between $400 and $600.

The shoes were from Payless. Actual retail price? $19.99 to $39.99.

The stunt brought the Payless brand a great deal of publicity, but perhaps more important is the larger branding lesson.

Would it have worked if the store was opened, same mannequins, same lighting, same models, same pricing….using the name Payless?

Would it have worked if the store was opened, same mannequins, same lighting, same models, same pricing….using a line extension? Like Payless Premium?

Of course it would not have, because fashionistas have a preconceived notion of what Payless Shoe Source is and it is not for them. It is not a brand match.

But what about the product? Could Palessi have gotten away with selling $20 shoes for $400?

For a short time, yes – while the store’s newness had a halo effect and word spread about how cool it was.

But before too long, the inferior quality of the shoes would probably have become apparent. Straps would fall off and soles would start wearing out long before they ought to for shoes that cost $400.

In a different decade, this ruse could have played out a little longer but not today. The Google reviews would be vicious, Instagram would be littered with photos of the disintegrated shoes, and someone would make a video outing the store for selling $20 shoes for $400 that would go viral. Then TMZ would show up, and well…you know the rest.

Back to the original question.

Do listeners visit your radio station or podcast for the product or the brand?

It is the brand that brings your listeners in – just as Palessi brought its customers in. It is the product that keeps them there. If your product is misaligned to the brand – as Palessi’s was – you will ultimately pay the price.

 

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