The Dangers of Inconsistent Branding

Do you hate it when someone spells your name wrong? Like when they add an “h” to the end of Sara or assume that Jamie is always—unequivocally—written as Jamie. In my case, I see a variety of misspellings for my name from Kari to Cari to Kerry. Drives. Me. Nuts.

brand strategySo why do we get so bothered when someone misspells or mispronounces our name? Because our name is quite possibly our chief identifier. It’s what makes us who we are. It’s what “brands” us, as we marketing folk say.

But as upsetting as it is to hear someone butcher your name (don’t even get me started on my last name), it is even more disconcerting when it happens to your company name. Think of how many times you have received an email from a prospective client, investor, channel partner or customer wanting to do business with your company, even though you are pretty positive that you don’t work at Crispy Crème, Toyz R Us or Craft.

It’s frustrating.

You work so hard to come up with a clever business name that is highly differentiated and illustrative of your core competencies. The last thing you want is for someone to mangle your carefully constructed company spelling;however,  have you ever thought that you might be fueling the fire of confusion?

My colleague recently stumbled across the website of a call center services provider that displays the company name six different ways. That’s right, SIX different ways. Here’s an example (without using the actual company name): This is Bad; ThisisBad; ThisisBad.com; This Is Bad.com… you get the idea.

Your company name is your first opportunity to hone your corporate identity. It is the heart of who you are—very oftentimes illuminating on your value proposition and key differentiators. Consistently spelling your company name throughout your website, PRs and other widely distributed publications is not just critical because it looks good; not doing so can actually cost you your business.

Imagine heading to a lawyer to meet with him to discuss a doctor malpractice suit you experienced. You saw his profile online and were immediately sold: he is known as the “crusader for health rights,” he is sporting a ridiculously expensive Armani suit in his picture (which screams power), and his bio is a laundry list of victories and legal highlights.

Then you come into his office. The business card he hands you spells his last name differently than his online profile. For a second you panic and think you have the wrong lawyer. Then you check out his law degree hanging on the wall, again spelled differently. At this point, anxiety overcomes you and you are left wondering how you can trust this man to represent you when he cannot even represent himself.

Albeit an extreme example, the thought process remains the same no matter the industry you are in. Simply put, your prospective stakeholders will be wary about doing business with you—whether that means buying your maple syrup, app, data center solution or cowboy boots—if you are inconsistent with your branding. No one trusts the company who can’t get the spelling of their own name right. It makes the company look spammy and duplicitous.

Consistency matters. If it means spending an extra few hours each week to check your website and distributed marketing pieces for constancy, then do it. This applies to everything having to do with your brand—from your name to your offerings to your solutions to your products.

And when you need a little extra help with your branding strategy, that’s what we are here for.

One response

  1. […] In actuality, you could have plenty of great things to say. You could be a well of knowledge, tips and must-have information that your customers need, but if you’re speaking in a way that isn’t appealing or consistent, then that’s how your brand will look. This is one of the many dangers of inconsistent branding. […]

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