Branding Won’t Solve All Your Problems

Seth Godin wrote today about a couple of big companies that have re-branded themselves recently, with some scepticism:

I guess the punchline is: take the time and money and effort you’d put into an expensive logo and put them into creating a product and experience and story that people remember instead.

Man with a megaphoneSad but true: many companies seem to think that by launching a new ad campaign, changing a logo or starting a blog, they can fix all of their problems.

Wrong.

Organizations need to remember that just because they shout something loudly, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

I had a brutal car rental experience recently, waiting hours for a rental car despite having a reservation. Not surprisingly, I was a little upset and my Twitter followers got to hear all about it. The first line of the car rental company’s response to me (after an email to their head office) included their slogan in quotes, right down to an inappropriately-placed period from their trademark.

The company has definitely created a story. It’s not the one they want people to hear, though.

Instead of messaging and bureaubabble (please don’t lead a paragraph with the word "pursuant"), I might have been a little happier if the response had included the words "sorry," "improve" or "won’t happen again." It included none of these.

You can’t brand your way out of a poor product or poor customer service.

  • rob tyrie

    Where’s the rant part?

  • Absolutely right. If bad service is your brand than no slogan or logo will get you out of it. I think we have been conditioned, and so have the big companies, that if they shout loud enough what they “want” us to hear will drown out what we actually experience. And maybe in the past that was true. But over the next couple of decades as consumers become less held by a small number of major brands, that yelling will become more expensive and less effective until … poof the organization no longer exists.

  • It’s funny, or maybe not, but every time I see one of Bell’s new vehicles with their new “logo” I think the same thing. Branding won’t solve your problem nor will outsourcing 611 calls to India, but that’s probably a rant for someone else’s blog!

  • nice image : )

  • Michael — yeah, I can’t remember where I saw that first… 🙂

  • Ken

    Dave – New fan of the site. I fully agree with your post. It appears more often as though “customer service” is being removed from American vocabulary.

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