SHINING A LIGHT ON LUMOSITY'S MISLEADING MARKETING
By Eric Elliott
Don't let the quest for short-term profits and quarterly gains overshadow the hard work you're doing to develop long-lasting, trusted relationships with your customers. When companies intentionally mislead their customers and make claims that they can't possibly support, they're risking a lot more than just a fine and some bad press. In today's social economy, a company's reputation is one of its most important assets.
Let's be real for a second: did any of us really think spending a few minutes a day playing some cleverly designed games on our mobile devices would improve mental function? Today the Federal Trade Commission announced that Lumos Labs, the company behind the popular "brain-training" app Lumosity, will pay a $2 million redress on charges of deceptive advertising practices.
According to the FTC, Lumos Labs claimed that training with Lumosity would:
- Improve performance in everyday tasks
- Delay age-related cognitive decay
- Reduce cognitive impairment due to health conditions such as stroke and PTSD
What's more, Lumos Labs claimed that research studies had been conducted that supported their claims. However, we now know that Lumos Labs' claims regarding their most popular product are not entirely true. While there is a lot of research going on regarding neuroplasticity and the benefits of cognitive training, it is now pretty clear that the only thing Lumosity improves is the user's ability to play Lumosity. The FTC goes on to explain that much of the customer testimonials featured on the Labs' website were in fact solicited endorsements.
If we're being honest, isn't this where we all do most of our brain training?
Truth and transparency are more relevant today than ever before. When you get caught misleading your customers, and you most certainly will, you will face the consequences (hello, Volkswagen). Isn't it just simpler to create something awesome and be honest about the results?
I'm not a cynic. I honestly want to believe that Lumos Labs really intended to help their users improve their cognitive abilities. So I'm asking you: How could Lumos Labs have marketed Lumosity to build a solid customer-base and build market-share in the crowded mobile gaming marketplace while still being truthful about their product? What would you do in their shoes?
Shawn and I would love to hear from you. Please take a second to comment on this article and in our forums, because you are the whole reason we show up to work.