Identification – how to avoid a crisis

What’s in a name? It’s a cliched question, but a pertinent one. The way you identify yourself, your business and your brand is a key part of marketing yourself, and not in the way you might expect. A recognisable and memorable name is one thing… reaping the benefits of that name is quite another.

We’ve all done it. You’re looking for something online: first stop, the search engines – but wait! The results are light years from what you were expecting. Whatever could have happened? And then you notice a simple typo, a few letters in the wrong order that have made all the difference to what your friendly neighbourhood search engine thought you were looking for.

It’s a simple mistake, and one that’s quickly remedied if you recognise what you really meant to search for, but how many times do people type their searches wrong, point their friends to the wrong shop, or forget which brand name they’re looking for, without realising it? Back in the 1980s, Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter appeared in a series of ads for Cinzano. It should have been such a success… but by the time the great British public got to the supermarket, they’d forgotten which drink Ms Collins was promoting, so they went for “the one that looked right”. Sales of Martini went sky-high and the bosses at Cinzano weren’t terribly pleased – a case of mistaken identity that cost Cinzano dearly.

Raising awareness of your brand is about so much more than a chic set of marketing materials and a PR agency. It’s about having a brand that’s unmistakable, one that doesn’t allow your customers the chance to confuse you with anyone else. It’s time to look at your market in a new way – from the perspective of someone who thinks they know who you are, but who isn’t quite sure enough.

Look for the names that appear near yours in the search engines, or the ones that appear if you spell your company name slightly wrong. Is there any potential for your customers to mistake you for someone else? Remember, your business’ identity might be second nature to you, but your customers need to be in absolutely no doubt about who you are.



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