Adam T. Sutton

Branding Lesson: There’s a Right Way to Boil a Frog

July 30th, 2008

Mr. Phinney was a genuinely nice science teacher in my high school. He liked to relax and chat casually with students while not in class. Like many science enthusiasts, Mr. Phinney (or occasionally Phinn-dog) knew a lot of strange things about the world.

One is how to boil a frog. If you drop a frog into boiling water, it will immediately jump out. If you put a frog in lukewarm water and gradually increase the heat, the frog will calmly boil to death.

Believe it or not, knowing how to boil a frog is valuable. For instance, when you’re at the airport, waiting like a happy little frog, you might notice that you’re plane has been delayed 15 minutes. Ten minutes later the delay is a half hour. That’s annoying, but manageable. Another 10 minutes pass and you’re on a 45-minute delay. Eventually the plane shows up two hours late, and you’re frog soup.

Had the airport immediately posted a two-hour delay, you might have jumped out of your seat and screamed “what the heck!” Maybe you would have berated a counter person and demanded justice. You would have jumped right out of the boiling water.

The same logic can be applied to marketing and product changes. A product that has to undergo quality cuts to cope with the tanking economy should do so gradually. Change one element at a time, or gradually scale down quality. Fewer people will notice.

If your brand needs an image overhaul, don’t rush it to the public. Slowly change your website, commercials and direct mail. Don’t completely change a medium all at once — or you’ll likely have some customers jump out of the pot.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

Categories: Marketing, Online Marketing Tags: , , ,

  1. November 13th, 2008 at 07:35 | #1

    As it seems to me, article actual for today. I wish the author of a blog to publish more than interesting articles!

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