Branding in Simple Words and the Worst Movie of All Time

So I have been reading “Made to Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath. I know. I’m late to the game on this one. But they spend time talking about the importance of simplicity of ideas and how that helps them become sticky. Not sure they meant for this level of simplicity, but Phrazit is taking reviews and boiling them down to mere words.

Phrazit describes itself as “a way to browse and share condensed reviews on anything: movies, sports, restaurants . . . you name it.” Basically, users create a cloud of words and phrases around a topic. For instance, I added “Troll 2” to the cloud around “Worst movies of all time.” This is similar to Brand Tags which creates user generated tag clouds associated to popular brands.

This shows a couple of things:

  1. Brands can be boiled down to simple words. When this is done, it can be scary and exciting.
  2. A big part of brand perception is out of the hands of the branders and in control of the market. To better define your brand look for shared equity, or what you and your customers both find valuable about your company.

So what words would people associate with your brand?


Take Control of Your Brand Experience

Think about all the elements of your customer’s experience that you control. There are many and they all work to shape your perceived brand.

I was grabbing lunch at the Rib Crib in Derby, Kansas yesterday. I got seated, peeled open the menu and noticed that the restaurant was playing a local country radio station over their sound system. Seems to fit, right? A Texas-style BBQ joint pumping out some country pop to add to the ambience of hard wood floors and cow skulls on the wall.

However, when a block of ads came on the air that included a 60-second spot of one of their competitors, this seemed like less of a good idea. I sat there along with every other patron and listened to a catchy jingle and description of mouthwatering BBQ from another restaurant—you may know the place, but don’t be late they close at eight.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not wild on broadcasting competitor’s ads at my busiest time of the day. A few patrons got a chuckle out of it, but you could tell that it was awkward for some of the staff. It has to be hard enough to differentiate one BBQ joint from another, without letting things like this happen.

This should remind us all to look at the details of our customer’s experience that we control. Sure half of your brand value is out of your control and locked within the confines of your customer’s mind. That should not keep you from controlling what you can. Check your music, clean up your space, dress appropriately, smile, make your Web site easy to navigate and say hello to people. There are so many things we can do to make experiences better regardless of what we sell.

These things may be small, but they make a big difference.