Recently I was listening to the episode of How I Built This with Brian Scudamore. He's the founder of 1-800-Got-Junk. A great business with a great story, but one tidbit that stood out to me was this...
After several years in business, Brian realized that some customers knew the company by its name while other customers referred to the company by its phone number.
The realization alarmed Brian. He realized that he couldn't build strong brand recognition if his customers didn't even know what to call the company.
So he made it easier for the customers. He renamed the company 1-800-Got-Junk. Maybe it seemed a little silly to outsiders at the time. Maybe it didn't seem professional.
But it was easy. It made sense. Customers weren't confused anymore.
Brand Confusion Is A Big Deal
Brand is what people know you by. It's what they know you as. It's what you stand for and how people perceive you.
For a business, brand awareness is one of the best forms of marketing. Look at the companies you admire for their marketing. Maybe Apple. Maybe Nike. Starbucks. Tempurpedic or Pepsi.
They all have great brand awareness.
A few key points...
Brand awareness isn't often built quickly. It's done with consistently improving products. Improving customer experiences. Free product giveaways. And lots and lots of patience.
None of those brands listed above started in the last 10 years.
But one thing they all have in common is that at some point they eliminated brand confusion. They all understand the power of brand recognition.
Every Apple product has the Apple logo on it. That's always been the case. Each product has its own name, but every customer associates the products with Apple.
Nike has many products. But every customer associates the products with the brand.
Even if you're a small business it's important to make it easy for your customers to understand what your brand is.
It's your name. It's your business.
A good brand makes it easy for people to tell others about you. It makes it easy for people to associate your products and services with a name and logo.
How Websites Cause Brand Confusion
I visit a lot of business websites. I own a blogging company and for each client we visit their website to learn about what they do.
Too often I visit websites and get confused. I get confused because the companies often have a logo with one name, a heading with another name and even a third or fourth name in the footer.
Sometimes the name in the header doesn't match the name on the address on the contact page. Sometimes when a customer calls the phone number the person answers as one brand while the website URL is a different brand.
Here's another example, back in the early 2000s, it was common for businesses to try to use a URL for their website that was some kind of keyword instead of their business name.
So Jon Doe Insurance might buy the URL, biloxiinsuranceexpert.com or something like that.
To the customer, that is two different brands to remember.
Brian Scudamore was smart when he realized there was brand confusion in his company. He knew it wasn't any fault of his customers. It was his responsibility to eliminate the confusion. And he did.
Brian's issue was his phone number. And that could be the case with your company as well. It might seem cute to get 1-800-Go-Smile if you're a dentist. But it opens things up for confusion.
Other common issues occur on websites. Go through your website now to see if there is potential brand confusion. If you're unsure, listen to your customers. Ask how they found you. Listen to how they talk about your brand and your name.
The sooner you eliminate brand confusion the sooner your business will grow through word of mouth and other means.