How To Not Damage Your Brand: Do the Opposite of Everything Xbox Is Doing

xbox-one-called-xbone-probably-a-less-terrible-nameI love Xbox. I’m a huge Xbox fangirl – in the same way I’m a twitter evangelist, a mac fanatic and a lover of any movie set in space. I’m also intelligent, savvy and unwilling to be disrespected by the very companies I support. In short – a savvy consumer. So when the XBox One reveal was universally acknowledged as “whaaaaa…uh…meh…um…I don’t….ugh” I was just as disappointed and mad and sad as the rest of the fans. Call of Duty and another racing game? You can’t play your old games on the new console? It looks like a VCR? More fees? Ugh.

But I had hope. I had hope they were saving some really cool stuff for E3 (the largest industry gaming expo in the US). I had hope they weren’t REALLY going to ignore women again. I had hopes they would fix a lame reveal event that was essentially an announcement about Xbox making more money and controlling EVERYTHING while pretending to be the future of gaming. Yayyyyyybleh.

Mostly I had hope they would be smart enough to fix the mess they created. But they didn’t. What they did do, in fact, is lie to us.

During the reveal, Xbox purposefully led us to believe that the new Call of Duty (their most lucrative game franchise) would have a brand new state of the art super magical game engine when in fact it would have no such thing. It’s the same engine with like…some smoke effects added or whatever to the same engine they’ve had for 10 years.They revealed this AFTER the event. Days after.

From Forbes:

When we’re talking about a new engine we’re talking about upgrading significant systems within in that engine. We’re not talking about throwing it all away and saying we’re starting from the ground up.

Sounds reasonable…except it is not what they said during the reveal. Not even close. They specifically said “Call of Duty would be powered by a brand new engine”. Misleading, yes. And maybe not a lie so much as a blurring of the truth. But the Xbox audience is NERDS. We take this seriously. And a blurring of the truth is the same a s a lie to us. That’s who the audience is and you have GOT to know your audience as a company.

This is not how you respect your customer base. This was a mistake followed by another mistake and god help them if they follow it up with an even larger mistake at E3.

Right now you might be saying…I don’t play video games Kiala – why should I care? Because it wouldn’t matter if Xbox was selling a shoe or a flying tiger car or falafels. What matters is they’ve damaged their brand and now – instead of spending time , money and energy creating and inciting their fanbase to throw money at them, XBox is scrambling around trying to repair the damage they’ve done. This is how businesses fall behind instead of move forward.

The takeaway from this whole mess is always respect your customer, never lie to them and if for some reason you mess up? Own up to it. Don’t lie to them again and mostly – try to have a sense of humor about it. If you can make people laugh at your mistake, you’re 75% on your way to regaining brand loyalty.

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