Consider the word “Comportment:” one of those dusty, remainder bin nouns on par with dated terms like “dungarees” and “sarsaparilla.” On those very rare occasions when people use this term today, it refers to some sort of dated propriety, a finishing school bearing usually cited with a tall helping of irony.
And yet, marketers would serve their clients well to consider how comportment online and offline affects their client brands. In a world that enables quicksilver consumer reaction to every brand and action, how companies communicate can be as important as what they communicate.
This nineteenth century word popped up this morning when my wife groused “I hate Netflix.” That seemed odd. We no longer subscribe, though we did for a while (of course, this was before discovering the wonders of $1 DVD rentals through one of the 12,000 amazingly convenient RedBox locations: not coincidentally, a valued agency client). It turns out, whenever she clicks the main browser window closed on Safari, she finds the same Netflix banner behind it, forcing her to click that window closed as well. Not a major issue, but since it happens time and again, it frosts her pumpkin.
As I reset her preferences to thwart pop-up windows, I thought about how oblivious Netflix must be to this unintended impression. And how dangerous that kind of thoughtlessness can be when multiplied over the millions of impressions that happen online. While advertisers should think of the web as a vast data engine, they should also realize that it is an intimate communications platform. So behaving like an uninvited guest and refusing to leave won’t build your brand.
Sometimes, cheap media can really cost you.