I usually ignore the commercials that dominate the morning news, but occasionally something cuts through the clutter, usually because it’s witty—LOVE the series of essurance ads: “Hashbrown. Selfie.” However sometimes, I’ll notice a TV spot in a what’s-wrong-with-this-picture kind of way.
One morning this week, even before I’d achieved the appropriate coffeed state—that sweet spot between nirvana and neurosis—my attention snagged on an ad. At first I thought I had heard the company name incorrectly, but then I realized it wasn’t me, it was them. They had made a dangerous assumption. They had their eyes shut to what makes their brand engaging.
Of course, it got me thinking about some of the other wrong assumptions companies make about their brand.
- No one notices incongruity with your brand. Wrong. Your brand style and personality set expectations. If I say, “Southwest Airlines,” you probably think about their side-splitting safety announcements. However, they are currently running a dull ad about winglets that save fuel costs resulting in low ticket prices. (At first, I thought it was a feminine hygiene product.) Is their agency mad at them? Did the Board veto all the good ideas that were congruent with their brand style?
- Brand it and the world will flock to your door. Wrong, again. Slap a logo up and forget it is not branding. Branding is a conversation. Your brand is a living entity. You need to feed, nurture, brag about it, get others talking about it, live it, adapt it and give it some love.
- Brands should remain unchanged forever. Nope. Don’t confuse stagnation with consistency. Being consistent is like piloting a vehicle: if the road changes, you adapt to manage the terrain. If you start heading off the road, you make corrections. If you aren’t getting anywhere, it’s time to reassess your route or choice of vehicle.
- Everyone knows what you do. Mmmm, no. Hard to believe, but in our frantic, busy lives, potential and current customers are not riveted to your message. The old maxim holds true: tell them. Tell them once more. Tell them again.
- Once we build our brand, we’re done. Au contraire. Every day, in every way, you need to let the world know what is new and good with your company. You need to keep your brand top-of-mind. Communicate. Share testimonials. Use social media. Update your web site.
Brand is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t let it wither. Don’t lose the vibrancy. Don’t squander the trust. Don’t assume. Open your eyes.