BRANDING: How to Wreck Before you Start

Branding Trap: Trigger Words

What is Branding? Let’s start with a different question. What are trigger words? People use Trigger Words to talk about their profession in a way that the average person would not understand what they are saying. Most people use these when formulating their initial branding.

For example, if an astronaut said he uses SLAMMD to measure his weight in outer space then wanted you to buy a helmet from him you might be confused. To bring a more realistic example, if you went to a used car dealership and the used car salesman told you the car had strong bushes on the wishbone and you don’t have to worry about the CAN-bus or the brakes getting spongy. That confused everyone. Now take that moment where your state of mind is in confusion and you have a lot of questions and feel a certain level of certainty. Not fun right? Now take that feeling and add this car salesman asking you to write him a $10,000 check for the car. I bet you feel strongly about this branding.

Really analyze yourself at this point. Did this cause confusion or did this cause you to get defensive? It could be a great car but sadly perception is reality. Using trigger words will destroy your social media reach as well. This bad habit will force your hand into using the scary practice of engagement pods.

How does this apply to branding?

Now, what does this have to do with branding? Well, we have seen many startups where the owners were excited and consuming hundreds of hours worth of material regarding their industry. Then when it came to articulating what they do to the average person they would move people to a “potential scam victim” state of mind. This is a scary feeling for a website visitor or a person just scrolling through social media and coming across your ad.

So when you are in that season of a startup when you are formulating your initial branding and preparing to launch make sure you simplify what it is that you do to where everyone can understand it. Make your branding easy enough for anyone to understand. You might be saying “Well, Sam, I serve a very niche prospect and they will definitely understand what I am saying so I don’t need to dumb it down.” Yes that may be true but if I owned a chair company I would not just want people who need chairs to know what I do but I would also want people who know people who need chairs to know what I do. 

Final example:

STARTUP OWNER: Hi I am Dave and I make and sell chairs for restaurants.

MESSAGE FROM WEBSITE LEAD: Hi I am Bill and my sister Susan owns a restaurant. I saw that you provide chairs for restaurants and she has been mentioning how she wants to get new seating in her space. You can reach out to her at xyz@xyz.test. 

Dave’s branding was so simple that Bill immediately understood the application. 

Trigger words will WRECK your branding before you even go fully to market. Slow down your branding process. Don’t be afraid of simplicity. Branding is crucial but can easily get complicated. Watch out for the trigger word trap!