Should your brand be a chameleon?

Chameleon I think one of the saddest elements of blogging is that so many conversations get lost in the comments section.  I thought this exchange was worthy of dragging back into the light.

Recently, Adam Steen from Growth Capitalism asked this question:

Lately, I’ve been struggling with branding.  I’m a firm believer in developing a brand that someone will recognize and relate too.  My problem is that when I describe TCM; I feel the need to brand us differently to different people.  What happens to me in many cases (not all!) is that "financial" minds understand the financial lingo and "entrepreneurial" minds understand all other lingo.  So, my answer has been to adjust my description accordingly.

I can come up with some positives and negatives to this approach, but I’m curious… Is it okay to give different descriptions of my business?  And by changing descriptions… Does that hurt our brand?

To that question, I answered…

The answer is yes.  And no.

A brand is not like a jacket…you change weights and styles based on the season. A brand is your heart and soul. It’s why you as a company exist. It’s what makes you unique in the marketplace. It is the core value/s that you are never willing to compromise.

So that is universal and should be the same for everyone. No matter who they are or how they might interact with your organization.

So yes…if you are not staying true to that, you are hurting your brand.

However…how various types of companies interact with your organization is different. 

Your view of your brand should never change.  You see clearly what your organizational heart and soul is all about.

But…when you look at the company through other companies’ lens — they see you through their own filters. In other words — they see you in terms of how you relate to them.

So the financial types "get you" in terms of their world. The business owners "get you" but in a completely different way than the financial folks do.

So really what you are probably saying is: Here is who we are. This is what you can always count on with us. (that’s the evergreen part) Now, because you are a (fill in the blank) we’d be able to help you…(that’s the customized part, based on the audience.)

Flickr photo courtesy of Agamid.

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4 comments on “Should your brand be a chameleon?

  1. Chris Kieff says:

    We have an interesting controversy brewing on our site with a lively dialog regarding Clear Channel removing a billboard advertisement we had placed. We are interested in your opinion if you can find the time to visit: http://www.msco.com/blog/mark-stevens-vs-warren-buffet
    Thanks,
    Chris Kieff, Editor Unconventional Thinking

  2. Mark True says:

    Drew:

    Faith Popcorn says chameleon brands are the latest trend (http://www.storiesbyrel.com/?p=65). Hopefully, your company and mine can help nip that trend in the old bud, bud.

    -Mark

  3. Chris,

    I’ve seen that exact same comment from you three times now — at three different blogs on three completely different topics.

    What’s up with that?

    Drew

  4. Mark,

    Faith may indeed say that…and it may be trending it that way. But that’s mean it is smart or right.

    People create chameleon brands because they do not have an understanding of their own brand. They haven’t done the hard work to discover their brand.

    So…they become whatever each audience needs/wants.

    Good for popularity, not so hot for marketing/sales.

    Drew

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