Branding comes down to this…

A lot of times we like to lay more blame at the feet of ad agencies than they deserve.  You may recall from how snarky I get around Super Bowl season each year that I’m as guilty of this as anyone. Revisit some of those musings here if you like.

I think it’s worth noting that the advertisement is just designed to spur interest in the offer and get them to try it. The real branding takes place once the customer experiences the value we deliver, so it’s extremely unfair to expect miracles from the ad agency then blame them when the cash register doesn’t ring to suit us.

Consider what Jerry Della Femina said about this in his book, From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor:

There is a great deal of branding that is much better than the product. When that happens, all that the good advertising will do is put you out of business that much faster…All the great advertising in the world can never straighten out the stewardess who wakes up cranky one morning. There is nothing in the world an agency can do about the gas station attendant in One Horse Stand, Nebraska, who has a hangover…”


An experience that doesn’t meet expectations is a broken promise to the customer. And that’s bad. When it’s all said and done, your brand is how your customer perceives your experience. The ad agency can help you tell a great story, but if the story becomes a promise unfulfilled, you may end up worse off than you were before you “advertised.”

Ultimately, it comes down to execution. So put as much thought into what story the customer is going to tell about you after the experience as you put into how you tell your story, if not more. And what your customer is going to say about you is going to come down to how well you actually deliver on what you promise.