Big brands are never short of a marketing lesson. Sometimes however it’s not so much of what they do but what they shouldn’t have.

No really, there are some things that shouldn’t be done, even in the name of marketing (heck, especially marketing). There are plenty of things that B2B marketers can still learn from themselves instead.

This week Starbucks certainly served as a new disastrous example. While the company’s CEO was known to dabble in controversy more frequently, this latest marketing stunt has left the internet in an uproar.

There’s something of a misconception when marketers look to large brands for examples and others presume these brands are infallible. In reality however, is that a large brand serves as their own mirror, reflecting an image of when they finally reach a large brand’s own level.

  • They ask themselves what they would have done – A brand’s own big mistake acts as a framework. And in within that framework, B2B marketers can envision similar solutions to which they would have taken a different approach than a mistaken brand. In Starbuck’s case, a company would do better to really look at itself and where it stands in the world before carelessly dabbling in its homeland’s culture wars.
  • They check to see if they’re missing something too – The same framework might also reveal that if there’s something missing in a brand’s company, there’s a chance that you could have it. That gives you an advantage of over a big player. Isn’t that something every little business has always wanted to achieve? You can only find it though if you look to your brand as much as you would observe a large brand’s example.
  • The history of it all, says it all – Mistakes in marketing that are so huge tend to leave a mark in history. And when you’re a part of history, you’re creating something that could still teach a lesson to future marketing leaders and innovators. When you decide to avoid the same mistake of a large brand, you are sending that message to the next generation of people who can carry your torch.

Large brands rise and fall. That doesn’t mean you should only pay attention to when they rise. Know that they can make mistakes and moments like that are your opportunities to search for answers inside your own brand.