What’s the 4th Worst Branding Mistake Organizations Make?

They Can’t Explain Their Brand in 15 Seconds or Less

“My grandfather actually invented Cliff Notes. It was in 1952, and he was . . .
well, to make a long story short.” – Steven Wright

Remember when Andy Warhol said everyone would get 15 minutes of fame? In today’s rush-rush world, we don’t have that long to get people’s attention. We have about 15 seconds.

If you can’t quickly explain your brand in a way people get it and want it, they will move on. They are simply too busy to give us “the time of their day” unless we can quickly convince them we’re worth their valuable attention.

That’s why it’s crucial to “Cliff Note” your brand’s story into a concise, compelling Elevator Speech that captures interest in what you have to offer . . . in under 15 seconds.

Sound like an impossible dream? Not if you link your unfamiliar brand to something with which people are familiar and fond.

The secret is not to try to explain your brand. The more you try to explain what your brand does, the more confused potential customers will become. Instead, ask yourself, “What is my brand like . . . that my target audience already likes?’

I learned the power of this concept while in Denver for a speaking engagement with my teen-aged sons. We had a night free, so we went downstairs to the hotel concierge and asked if he had any suggestions for a fun night out.

He took one look at Tom and Andrew and said, “You’ve got to go to D & B’s.”

We were from Maui at the time and had no idea what he was talking about. We asked, “What’s D & B’s.”

He did NOT try to explain what D & B’s was. Imagine if he had said, “Well, it’s kind of like a restaurant, but it’s also a sports bar and they’ve got video games and TV’s and sometimes guys go there to watch football or play pool. But families go there too to play carnival games, kind of like an indoor amusement park.”

We would have looked at him in consternation and said, “Huh?” It’s just TMI (Too Much Information.) The longer he talked, the more baffled we would have become.

Instead, he thought about it for a moment and then smiled and said simply, “It’s like a . . . Chuck E. Cheese for adults.”

Perfect. Eight words and we knew exactly what it was and wanted to go there. By comparing D & B’s (something new) to Chuck E. Cheese (something we knew), he “told and sold” their brand in one succinct sentence. They should have put him on commission.

Do you have an elevator speech for your brand?

Remember, don’t try to explain it. Ask yourself, “What is my brand like – that these potential customers like?” If you compare your idea, company, product or service to something with which they’re familiar and fond, the light will go on in their eyes and their eyebrows will rise. That’s the way to win buy-in in 15 seconds or less.

Want to know the other 4 branding mistakes organizations make — and how to avoid them? Keep checking this blog and I’ll share them in the days ahead.

Into instant gratification? Email us at info@SamHorn.com with “8 Biggest Branding Mistakes” in the subject heading and we’ll email you the entire article you can use in your organization’s newsletter.

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