Texting: Media breakthrough or brand killer?

I know a lot of today’s generation tends to communicate via text. Many have said that’s their preferred means of receiving messages, which has led a lot of marketers to adopt this as the next big way to disseminate information. To be fair, usually such information is requested via subscription or something, so it is indeed something the customer did ask for.

But I wonder if the possible brand damage that tactic could inflict has really been considered.

Here’s what I mean…

Let’s imagine you’ve subscribed to receive short little Burtisms, similar to these blog entries, via text here and there. One would hope we’d have the same great experience we have here, me sharing ideas from time to time and you getting a little something useful. Once a week a little Burtism text pops up in your text inbox, you read it at your convenience, it brightens your day, you happily go on about your life.

But what if my happy little Burtism text pops up right in the middle of an important conversation you’re trying to have? What if I’m interrupting good news? Wouldn’t that be rather an aggravation? What if my happy little Burtism pops up during bad/sad news? In addition to being an aggravation, might that be  considered inappropriate, even it it’s not intentionally so? Even if you could forgive such an intrusion, might my brand then carry that negative association with it from then on?

As my friend –  and quite the marketer himself – Nic Bittle said, “What we sign up for today might be a nuisance tomorrow.”

Indeed, and that’s not the kind of brand association you want.

The answer remains to be seen, but a it’s not a bad idea to ask these kinds of “then what” questions as you go.