It’s not easy being seen, so you have to listen

By Ken Gasque

There are five stumbling blocks that can get you labeled but not branded. If you are not careful and aware of what is happening, your customers will define who you are and label your product or service. Brand developers constantly monitor social media and talk to customers because they know listening gives them the edge.

Five Stumbling Blocks:

  1. Don’t bother asking questions
    “We know what our customers like. So there is no need to talk to them.” Assuming that you know what your customer thinks and wants is dangerous. Brand developers should repeat this mantra five times daily-“It isn’t what we don’t know that get us into trouble, it’s what we know that isn’t so.” Talk to your customers, ask questions and not just about your product. Give them labels that show you listen.
  2. Nobody is in charge, we all do it?
    Everyone! Everyone in charge is no one in charge. Having several people work without clear direction on the brand image and message will lead to inconsistency, which will lead to confusing messages, which will lead to oblivion. If it appears that you don’t know who you are, your customers will not know either and will cease to care. Start with a visual. Start with your logo or label. It can be your rallying point.
  3. We don’t share
    Accounting has the information but doesn’t believe that marketing is a good investment, so they work to keep marketing in the dark, “We don’t share.” We actually knew of a company where the accounting department began designing and purchasing marketing materials because they “could get it done quicker and it wouldn’t cost as much.” The brand image suffered. The staff became discouraged. And the customers noticed. Cost is important but so is marketing. Don’t forfeit impact.
  4. More is more
    Marketing is about narrowing the focus… “Less is more.” It helps refine your focus. Clarence Waters was an all-night service station that sold gas, oil changes, fan belts and fixed flat tires and made pork roast sandwiches. The guy who pumped your gas made your pork sandwich. The more products/services you offer under your brand the more you dilute your brand.
  5. Change is the only constant
    Change is a constant…except for brands. I am not referring to innovations. Brands need to be innovative but consistent with their promise or the experience that defines the brand.
    Disney continually updates the attractions at Walt Disney World but the brand is the same…”The happiest place on earth.” The magic of marketing is the art of brand building. “If you are not a brand you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low-cost producer is the only winner.”
    To build your brand you have to listen to understand. But remember ‘We buy with our eyes.’ Tell your story with your label.

    About Ken Gasque
    Ken Gasque is a brand developer-a professional marketer with a design background. Ken works with small companies and Fortune 500 companies who recognize the need to differentiate their products and services in a cluttered market. Ken is a highly, outside-the-box-thinker on advertising, branding and marketing. Ken writes a blog and lectures on brand and brand development. To learn more, visit
    We build brands using knowledge, experience and magic!