Real Meaning in Your Brand
Using your branding or marketing copy as a way to try and change who you are as a company is not effective and shouldn’t be done. Most of the time, that backfires like a bad toupee — at some point they’ll get close enough to tell it’s all fake.
As a college student, I once explained my philosophy of “making moves” with the girls I dated as follows: “You should never do something to create a feeling, but to portray one that is already there.” In case that isn’t clear, what I was saying is that what you do and say to someone has meaning behind it — whether you want it to or not. If you hold their hand, they will take that to mean something — a level of commitment or a statement about how you feel about them, etc. If you don’t feel those things, but still do the action that means those things, well then, it’s not going to go well.
Unfortunately, sometimes we do things because we’ve convinced ourselves that if we say or do that thing, then the meaning will arrive with it. That is a huge mistake and can end in heartbreak.
The same is true for our brand. You can’t create a brand message that doesn’t represent who you are, what you can do, and what you believe. You can’t use a change in your brand and marketing message as an opportunity to convince people that is who you really are. That would be like OJ Simpson putting on white clothes and carrying a Bible to convince people he was innocent or reformed.
Even if someone doesn’t know you, if the culture and capabilities behind the message don’t align with your message, you will only hurt yourself and your reputation. It is not worth the risk. If you really want to change yourself, to build a different perception of who you are and what value you bring, then you have to actually DO the things necessary in your organization to be those things.
Have you ever been to a restaurant that had the word, “Italian” in the name or description and then been terribly disappointed because there was nothing resembling Italian food in the place? It’s like that.
So, if you want to make a change, and are actually making the change in the way you act, feel, etc., then go ahead, advertise it. It has real meaning. If not, well, good luck with that.
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