Monday, November 18, 2013

Call the lawyers, @Subway (A Work-Related Post)

Branding is hard work. It takes time and effort, once you've settled on a good look and feel (or better yet, experience). So when someone tries to take advantage of your work, it can be a minor annoyance, or worse yet, be damaging to your brand. And so goes this smoke shop that uses the Subway green and yellow in their signage. This isn't the greatest of pictures, taken from my dash cam, but the greens and yellows of the two signs match to make it appear as if this were the "Subway Tobacco Station."

This is sad (as in pathetic, disappointing, troubling) on several levels:

* Someone thought it was a good idea (the store owner? the sign maker?)
* It was approved and allowed (the landlord, the sign installer, the city)
* No one's stopped and said "Hold up, here" (like the franchise-holder)

We've all heard it said that in this modern information, experience and social age, your brand isn't what you say it is, it's what your customers say it is. A successful brand cultivates its image in such a way that its customers can't help but reinforce it.

But sometimes you've got to look at the larger landscape - not only "how do my customers define my brand?" or "how do I want prospective customers to see my brand?" but "how do my competitors see my brand?" and "how do my business partners see my brand?"

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