Okanagan Panorama

Monday, 18 May 2015 05:11

Brand Busters: How Public Visibility Can Undermine Branding Measures

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Brand Busters: How Public Visibility Can Undermine Branding Measures by Rae Stonehouse, Okanagan-based Author, Speaker, Speech/Presentations Coach, Power Networker & Toastmaster Extraordinaire.

Creating a memorable brand for your business is an essential marketing strategy, if you want to stay in business, as well as grow it. Businesses regularly spend vast sums of their hard-earned money … well to earn more money … by raising their visibility in the marketplace.

But what happens when their created branding image differs from what they are actually projecting? What effect does a business owner’s employees have in promoting the brand or taking away from it?

A short errand-running trip around Kelowna recently got me thinking about how branding works, for better or for worse.

I was following a large truck delivering a load of compost to an eager local gardener. On the back of the truck was a vividly coloured advertisement proclaiming the value of ‘Nature’s Gold.’  The product was all natural and guaranteed to make everything grow wonderfully. There was actually quite a bit of marketing copy on the truck. As I was driving and in care and custody of my vehicle, my attention was to my driving and navigating one of our busy streets rather than reading the promotional copy word for word.

As far as branding effectiveness goes, it was. As a gardener it caught my attention. Lots of colour. Text to grab my attention. As I was following the truck I was thinking about my garden and how I wouldn’t mind if a load of Nature’s Gold was dropped off at my house as a gift. Then the unexpected happened. The delivery truck spewed out a large cloud of black smoke, and I do mean large! A cloud of uncombusted hydrocarbons descended upon all the vehicles in the delivery truck’s vicinity.

Hmmmm …. Nature’s Gold and smog. All that marketing money spent to promote a business’ brand up in smoke! (pun intended). This isn’t an isolated event as I have noticed the truck or perhaps another one around town spewing black death. Perhaps Mother Nature would recommend a regular tune-up for delivery trucks.

Moments later a small blue pick-up truck made a questionable u-turn, budging his way into traffic going the opposite direction to where he was originally going, quickly followed by several back and forth lane changes. On the back of his truck was the proclamation that he was your local roofer of choice. I have no way of knowing whether he was the business owner or an employee. Hmmmm. I’m thinking that he wouldn’t be my first choice. If he was that reckless while if traffic, what would he be like on my roof? I’m not sure if my home insurance would cover bungee-jumping roofers.

Branding tip … if you have your name, business name and/or contact info on your vehicle, behave! Follow the rules of the road like the rest of us. Okay, some of us!

Barely around the corner another branding faux pas presented itself. I was travelling down the road at an acceptable speed. A brightly yellow-coloured local taxi driver felt that he could break the scientific law that two objects can’t be in the same place at the exact same time. A mere few feet away from me he shot across the road, necessitating me to slam on my brakes. To show my affection I honked my horn of course. An older white-haired driver responded equally as friendly my giving me his index finger.

Now I look at every yellow cab to see if Mr. Friendly is driving. Would I use or recommend that particular cab company? Certainly not for a while. The company has spent money on promoting their bright yellow image. Are they responsible for the behaviour of their drivers?

A few blocks away another branding exercise presented itself but with a different twist.

As I was approaching a busy intersection a large 18 wheeler, ‘semi’ as some would call it, turned the corner a little too wide. The tractor portion was up on the centre island and the truck looked to be in a perilous situation. I couldn’t help myself but my initial thought was “hey look at this bonehead!”

As I watched the situation unfold, I noticed the branding on the side of the trailer declaring that this was likely driven by a Student Driver, being trained by a professional driver. After a series of corrective moves the driver was able to extricate himself from the island and carry on his way. The branding message wasn’t wasted on me. A student driver was learning how to drive safely by a professional. Mistakes happen when you are learning. That’s often a quick way to learn how to do something. I was grateful that in the near future there would be a properly trained truck driver that had learned an important lesson.

Would I have been so understanding if the semi was any other company i.e. a business truck? In this case the branding worked for them. They were walking their talk.

Perhaps that is the basis of business branding: walk your talk and talk your walk!

Something to think about …

Top photo credit via CC Mark SmiciklasMark Smiciklas


Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.


Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books, paperbacks and on-line courses:


Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro

52 Power Networking Tips: 52 Power Networking Tips: How to Network Like a Pro

PROtect Yourself Now!PROtect Yourself Now! Violence Prevention for Healthcare Workers

The Savvy EmceeThe Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

You're Hired! Job Search Strategies That WorkYou're Hired! Job Search Strategies That Work: Available as an easily downloadable e-book or as an on-line e-course.

You're Hired! Resume Tactics:You're Hired! Resume Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

Job Interview PreparationJob Interview Preparation: Job Search Strategies That Work

Leveraging Your NetworkLeveraging Your Network: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Power Tactics: You're Hired! Power Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Job Searching Success Tips ListYou're Hired! Job Searching Success Tips List

Working With Words:Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations

Blow Your Own Horn! Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals

Make it Safe!Make it Safe! A Family Caregiver's Home Safety Assessment Guide for Supporting Elders@Home


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or info@raestonehouse.com

Rae’s social … are you?

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RaeStonehousehttp://twitter.com/RaeStonehouse

Linkedin? Rae is http://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehousehttp://www.linkedin.com/in/raestonehouse

Copyright 2018- 2021 Rae A. Stonehouse.

The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.


To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at https://raestonehouse.com.