How Branding Can Keep You Out of Trouble



By Amanda Bowen, Director of Business Development at The Content Funnel

Branding’s intent is to clarify your values and how you communicate these values to a specific audience. Would you buy a product named “Bite the Wax Tadpole?” How about one with the slogan, “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant?” Yes, these are real examples of branding gone wrong–see more here. (By the way, “Bite the Wax Tadpole” was from Coca-Cola.)

That’s not all a solid brand strategy can do. Well-thought and consistently applied branding minimizes trouble, like:

#1. Confusing your target audience

Playing mix-and-match with the elements of your brand to suit the moment dilutes the core of your message. It’s one thing to resize a brand logo to fit a t-shirt or a social profile; it’s another to use a completely different color for a campaign. When you keep changing the brand look and voice on a whim, you’re not trusting in the brand message.

Think of brands whose look and message have endured the test of time. Like Lego: you instantly thought of the colorful little bricks with dots. The Volkswagen logo and BMW logo look similar to their original versions. What have these brands gained from their consistency? Easy consumer recognition and instant communication of their values.

#2. The vague brand trap

During the branding process, avoiding a dive deep into the nuts and bolts of your brand results in a wishy-washy message. That’s when we get meaningless phrases like “award-winning” and “world-class.” These words reveal nothing about a company’s real value. How do you define “world-class?” What is “world-class” compared to? Words like these have lost their potency. Relying on them to paint your message is the same as not having a message at all.

You need clarity. Employees rely on clear values to understand the role they play and if your brand is one they want to work for. Consumers select to work with people and brands whose values align with theirs.

#3. Brand confusion

Part of building your branding strategy must include studying your competitors. Repeating what they do is not how to win business. You must find ways to set your brand apart using all the tools at your disposal: the color scheme, a logo, the values. So look carefully at your market. Consider everything from voice to taglines to website colors. What can you do to be different in every way?

Why does this distinctness matter? Referrals are the cornerstone of business, but particularly in real estate. Right up there are reviews. Online customer reviews add a ton of weight. The better the reviews, the more likely you’ll gain customers.

But what if those positive or negative referrals are not for you? What if they’re for a competitor? This happens when brands are too similar in name and messaging. You’ve sabotaged all your branding work.

The Branding Takeaway

Clear branding with a distinct message avoids confusion between your competitors, with your audience, and inside your workforce. Don’t let ineffective branding dilute your message.


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