Does brand dominance + banning competitors = Branned?

The Halifax Herald is reporting that attendees to this year’s Olympic games in Greece may have their goods confiscated or even told to turn their clothing inside-out (!!) if these items are sporting logos from companies who compete with Olympic sponsor companies.

This isn’t the 50’s. Today’s consumers are intelligent, media-aware, and incredibly sensitive to the “message behind the message”. And one of the things they do best is smell fear.

This policy makes it look as though the IOCC is afraid that its sponsors will pull out if their competitors show up in a two-second internationally televised glance at a bottle of Pepsi. It also (more important and damaging to the companies in question) makes the sponsors look as though they’re afraid of even a little competition, as though even the slightest reference to a competitive brand will undermine their media marketing message.

Consumers don’t respond well to fear. If a company that big, with that much money behind it is afraid, then maybe it has reason to be. Maybe it’s not as good as we all thought.

The best way to get – and keep – consumer confidence is to be confident in your company and the worth of its products or services. Be cautious of your competition, certainly… but shutting them out completely just makes the consumer want to take a second look at other options.