Build your brand with ONE image, not many

When you are building a brand, it is critically important that you project one singular image. This may sound very simple and intuitive, but it always amazes me when companies get this wrong—and it also amazes me how powerful it is when they get it right.

An example of a company that gets it very wrong is GEICO, the American insurance company. GEICO is represented by two different advertising campaigns with two completely different messages.

  • One shows a gecko (lizard) featuring the message that a 15 minute phone call can save you 15% on your car insurance. Here the message is “convenient savings.”
  • Another shows a caveman who is insulted when he hears the message that the insurance is so easy to use “even a caveman can do it.” Here the message is “easy.”

It’s a shame because both campaigns have the potential to be enormously effective, but when you put them together, they cancel each other out.

An organization that gets it right is the American cable TV channel TNT, which runs the tagline “We know drama.” Their TV commercials repeat the message over and over again. And every show on TNT that I have seen is, indeed, very dramatic. An effective brand…a single message.

When you build your brand, make sure that you are saying ONE thing and that’s it.