AbuLLard's ABCs of Branding

"Notes from AbuLLard" - July 11 2007

Words, words, words...

It's not what you say
that matters,
it's what people hear!


What follows is a true story.'

 "A leak!" I cried from the kitchen, as the salad dressing dripped out of the bottom of the cruet.

My friend ran outside and soon reappeared with a "leek" in her hand.

 Words are what we use to convey the essence of our business to the market.
  • We use a few words in a tag line that try to capture what we are all about.
  • We want to generate "Word of Mouth" to enhance our marketing.
  • We need the right "Key Words" for our web sites.

It seems so simple and yet choosing the right words is one of the hardest jobs we have. Why? Because in today's noisy, multi-media market you don't have a lot of time to get someone's attention. People don't read long wordy explanations of your business. You have to choose a few words that convey your message in a way that will get your point across quickly.

Think about the three examples I started with. A tag line should be more than 6 or 7 words. To generate "word of mouth" people must be able to remember your message and repeat it. It has to be short and memorable. And having the right one or two "key words" on your web site can make the difference between page 1 on Google or page 22. Certain words are worth a lot of money on the Internet.

How do you choose words that can do all this?

Rule number 1: As always, keep it simple. Use "common language" ... words that everyone knows. Test your messages on your mother, or your grandfather. Do they understand what you are talking about?

Rule number 2: Use the words that potential customers would use to identify what you do, not some made up word that they don't know. Words, like jokes, that have to be explained have lost their impact.

Rule number 3, avoid words that have multiple connotations or cultural overtones. The same word can mean different things in different situations. A friend of mine who works for a business card printing company sent me a card from a company named: Jihad Automotive. Now the word "Jihad" means "striving for excellence in the name of god." But I suspect that quite a few people may have a negative reaction to such a Automotive shop!

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AbuLLard on the Radio with Jim Blasingame

Abullard will be doing his quarterly radio appearance on the "Small Business Advocate" radio show with Jim Blasingame this week. Abby and Jim will talk about how customer service ... good and bad ... can be a factor in determining your brand value. Tune in at:

Thursday, July 12, 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM,
Go to:
and click on the "Listen Now" button.

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AbuLLard's ABC's to be available as an "e-book"

Coming soon ... a downloadable e-book version of AbuLLard's ABC's of Branding.

It will feature the same cast of characters and a few new definitions.

A Preview of AbuLLard's e-book version of his ABC's of Branding

"W is for WORDS". In addition to what we talked about above, think about the fact that the same word can mean different things in different situations. Take, for example, the word "Duck" as illustrated below ...

A few other uses of the word "Duck"

  • A funny person, as "He's the queer old duck with the knee-length gaiters and walrus mustache."
  • A playing marble, esp. one that is not used as a shooter.
  • Cricket Slang: a player's score of zero: to be bowled for a duck. Compare to "Goose Egg"

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