Double-Trouble Brewing

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A very talented architect and good friend of mine painfully relates a very telling story about going to his son’s school class to give a talk on career day. The more he talked the more puzzled the looks on the career-hunting kids faces became. He talked hi-rise and office tower and condos- still confusion was apparent. All was answered for him when the question was asked – “what do buildings have to do with software development”?

Borrowed terms are crossing industry lines all the time now as the world searches for words for new categories. And confusion without context is bound to happen.

But why then do Brands, trying to get their message out clearly (you would think) into a hyper-communicated world borrow words from categories that are struggling to be understood in their own space.

Case in point: the craft beer industry in North America has grown exponentially in the past decade. Many that started as micro-breweries, grew to be called craft breweries. The big breweries sensing a missed opportunity have been creating faux ‘craft brews’ of their own. The category is crowded, confused and crazy.

Along comes Second Cup- Canada’s Starbucks before Starbucks arrived, now battling Starbucks- and launches an expensive outdoor campaign using one industry’s (beer) problem to try and clarify their shaky position (coffee).

Second-Cup’s “The ORIGINAL CRAFT BREW” creative only serves to exacerbate their clear communication problem. And the beer folks are not amused.

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