Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Branding Clichés

It seems that every good idea, every admirable quality, at some point gets overused and eventually becomes a cliché. Some qualities become so popular that every organization aspires to possess them or at least claim that they possess them. I run into this all of the time in crafting brand positioning statements and elevators speeches.  These are some of the words and phrases that I believe have become clichéd:
  • Leader
  • Quality
  • Innovation/Innovative
  • Reliable
  • Responsive
  • Customer focused
  • Service
  • Trust/Trustworthy
  • Authentic
  • Green
  • Organic
  • Luxury
  • Estates
  • Resort


It’s not that the concepts that the words stand for are undesirable. It’s just that so many brands are claiming these, even within the same product/service categories, that they have become hollow and meaningless. So, here is what I would recommend regarding these words and phrases. By all means, embrace them as a way of conducting your business and perhaps even as a point of difference. In support of this, even include them in your internal brand strategy documents. But, don’t integrate them into your taglines, elevator speeches or marketing campaign themelines. These are admirable qualities to possess so by all means strive to possess them, but don’t scream to the world that you possess them. Let your actions scream that for you. Think of it this way – those that are always claiming that they are trustworthy may be trying to overcome self-doubts about how trustworthy they really are. Or those who are claiming to be green may be doing so just to ride the wave of a popular trend. Don’t claim these things, just be them.

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