Is Your Brand Believable?

Is Your Brand Believable?

I’m struck lately by large companies who say one thing but clearly speak out of the other sides of their mouth. It strikes me that some PR person or ad agency is advising them to put a great spin on everything. Say it enough times and the masses will believe them. Reality has nothing to do with it. It’s all about the spin. It’s also timely that it’s election season in the U.S. and many of the negative ads are also following this pattern. It doesn’t matter that Anderson Cooper is “Keeping them honest,” drive it home enough times and it sticks. Sometimes.

Oil companies are incredulous how, on one hand their spin tells us how much they care about us and their beloved homeland (whether that’s Canada or the United States). They proudly outline how many jobs they create, how they support community, how much they influence innovation and on and on and on. Then they jack up the price at the pumps and collectively drive the economy into the ground. Everything comes from oil. If they “really” cared, they would charge a fee that allows them to make an honest profit, but not hold the world economy hostage. They would be an honourable citizen partner. But greed is really their brand. Wait until gas is $15 -$20 a gallon, wow, just think of all the great things they’ll be able to do for us.

Airlines too are heavy into speaking out of two sides of their mouths. Siting in your seat watching the CEO of the airline on the video spew out how much he appreciates your business, and then rambles on about how great they are and how wonderful they are – blah, blah, blah. What is incredulous here is that while you listen to this tripe, the hostesses are trying to sell you a pillow to use. A few dollars more for a headset. Earlier in your trip you were subjected to: pre-boarding fees, extra luggage fees, long lines and the humiliation of security. I had a friend recently who clicked the wrong button by mistake when purchasing a ticket online, only to be told it would cost $250. to make a correction. Today the worst part of any trip is the flight. They have sucked the pleasure out of it.

None of us can afford to have a brand that relies on spin to try and fool our customers. Airlines and oil companies know that for the foreseeable future we have no choice. They can play their games and win. BUT, there will come a time where they will fall, and fall hard. When faced with a choice our customers will show their dissatisfaction with their feet. You’ll get no second chance. If it is your intention to make your brand shine for years and decades to come it has to be built on authenticity. Your values have to be rock solid. Thank heavens most brands do exactly that.

One thing that greed brands do is is serve as an awesome mirror for everyone else. They reflect on how not to do it. Holding your brand up to them, allows you the opportunity to do the polar opposite and be great.


  1. AndrewMayor says

    The right brand image impacts the bottom line on a number of levels. It provides guidance and direction to your entire organization. You no longer waste valuable staff time chasing conflicting goals, clients and outcomes.

    •  @AndrewMayor I would expand that focus Andrew to the brand message overall. The image can only do so much. There must be substance behind it. There’s an old adage about bad products. “Nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising.” A customer will buy once, but experiencing something bad, will not return. Same goes for Brand Image, once you get through the door the brand better stand for something.

  2. Lindsey Coulter says

    Genuine brands will always remain successful for their transparency and authenticity. However, it is the nature of the beast that a brand cannot be perfect in the face of business. Branding can be compared to dating, you want your best qualities to shine on the first few dates. As the relationship progresses, you’ll learn where the flaws are and it’s up to you to decide if the good outweighs the bad. There is no such thing as a perfect brand. Apple is a fantastic brand in the face of products that are inflated in cost compared to their competitors. We acknowledge that because we love the BRAND (or the positives) more than the flaws.

    •  @Lindsey Coulter Good points – all of them Lindsey. Determining what outweighs the other is exactly what makes a brand strong or not. Even if your customer feels you may a be a bit pricey, do they value your brand enough not to move on? A question we must all ask ourselves.

  3. I have read some good stuff here. you are so very good at all in making an article, I was amazed at all. continue to develop the imagination for a later article.

  4. Hi,
    I’m thankful to you for disclosing the strategies followed by Oil and Airlines companies in promoting their brands in a wrong manner. We can come across these kind of strategies in many businesses, but I didn’t know that it happens in oil and airlines also. Thanks for letiing us know.

  5. thanks Ed Roach for such a great Article, I like your article and your writing style.

  6. Great Post! I believe that brands plays an important role in for promoting a product as well as for selling a product. A business can work wonders if the right brand is used for the product.

  7. Brand is the most important thing in developing a business, you must have unique but wasy to remember brand for people to easily remember your brand.

  8. I tried my best. I really did. I bought newspapers every week, sometimes even if it meant a trip to the store on a day we didn’t need groceries. I poured over them, desperately trying to find coupons for items we use.