Slogan Sandwich: Messages Have Layers

 Yesterday, as I drove past a deli in my neighborhood, I saw a banner advertising a brand of lunchmeat.

The sign read: “Take Back Lunch” with the company logo below.

Maybe my mind is wired differently than most, but I immediately thought that if you have to “take back” your lunch, then you must’ve lost your lunch for some reason.

Hmmm…

Associating “losing your lunch” with a line of deli meats may not have been the marketing team’s direct intention. Nonetheless, it follows the train of thought of some consumers.

I’m sure this company wanted to encourage people to pack their lunch, to make time for themselves while enjoying a great sandwich using their meats and cheeses. But so many other slogans could accomplish this goal without a hint of… well, vomiting.

On the bright side, it did get my attention… and it certainly helped tattoo the brand on my brain. It’s probably just not the initial impression they were looking for.

Moral of the story: Don’t be so married to a slogan that you block out other interpretations of your message. Invite opinions, test it out, and be open to the feedback. It helps build a stronger message… and that’s what it’s all about.


How Slick is Google’s name “Chrome”?

  Some small businesses claim it’s getting harder to find a short, interesting short word that really sums up a new product they’re launching. One that grabs attention and has an appropriate meaning. One that “fits.” I disagree, so let’s have a look.

Google recently launched the beta of Chrome, a new type of Web browser. Folks who use it seem to love it. But I’m more interested in its name.

A recent piece in “Name Wire” discussed this topic. The author seemed to doubt its value, saying its too much of an “insider” name (the word “chrome” means something to them when it comes to industry jargon). You can see for yourself at  http://www.namedevelopment.com/blog/archives/2008/09/google_chrome_o.html 

Let me clarify… I’m no chip-head. I’m not a computer geek or expert when it comes to code or programming or such. I can navigate my way around a Help page pretty well, but that doesn’t count here. So I feel pretty comfortable in looking at Google’s naming as Mrs. John Q. Public would. And I really like it.

For most PC users, Google’s Chrome is an add-on feature to help “make the Internet run faster.” When I think of the word “chrome,” I think of Pimp My Ride. I think of Father’s Day antique car shows where one is blinded by the workmanship of chome enthusiasts. I think of chrome as a shiny automotive aftermarket add-on for hot cars to make them look even more spectacular. Just as racing stripes make a car look faster, chrome makes it look more expensive. And way cool.

So to me, Chrome on my computer will bring the perception of “cool,” speed and quality in an add-on customized, pimp-my-ride kinda way… then the name more than works.

Let’s hope the browser works half as well!


Patron Saints of… Marketing?

 It is better to be a hammer than an anvil.”
                                             – St. Dominic de Guzman

When you’re creating a brand, you’re crafting a message you hope will resonate and last for a long time. One that makes you stand out… one that is memorable.

I’ve always been curious about how the stories of people (and their messages) have been able to survive through the ages. When you consider historic saints, for instance, you typically have a crazy rebellious person of legendary actions. Heck, some were so persuasive that people today still devote their lives to them, or honor them in quiet ways. How many St. Francis of Assisi statues decorate gardens in your town? Quite a few in mine.

One of my favorite saints is Saint Dominic, who must have been fantastic at the art of persuasion. He started the Order of Preachers back in 1215. Born of wealthy parents, he traveled parts of Europe, sharing stories with people and correcting false information about Christian teachings. To help make his point about the perils of a worldly life (versus living simply), he practiced extreme self denial, wore uncomfortable clothes and slept on the floor instead of the beds provided.

In other words, he wrapped himself in his message.

Saint Dominic and others like him are fine examples of how personal branding can last for centuries – if your message is authentic and if its done right, with the right intentions. Here are some examples:

1) Logo and image – A dog with a torch in its mouth, and a star from his chest are both visions his mother is said to have seen around the time of Dominic’s birth. Now they’re part of his iconic images.

2) Consistent message – History books say that Dominic never spoke a work unless it was to praise God. Not a word. No “do you think it will rain?” No “these sandals are killing me.” Not a word that was not consistent with his message and his mission.

3) Stand out in the market – Dominic was passionate. He knew his market, who he wanted to persuade, and he was inspired to be as different from the existing “brands” (heretics) as possible. In his dress, in his behavior, in his message… “It is not by the display of power and pomp, cavalcades of retainers, and richly-hosteled palfreys, or by gorgeous apparel, that the heretics win proselytes; it is by zealous preaching, by apostolic humility, by austerity, by seeming, it is true, but by seeming holiness. Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth.”

4) Words supported by image – He wrapped himself in his brand, and he acted in a manner completely consistent with his message.

When you consider your own branding approach, both personally and corporately, what messages do you send? Are they consistent with the mission and goals for your business – and for your life?

When you offer “the full package,” you may not earn sainthood, but you’ll certainly be a top choice in your market to reach the clients who need you most. Be inspiring, and may your journey be Blessed!