Tagged branding

How Telling Bitch Jokes Taught Me a Hard Branding Lesson Most Companies Don’t Get

Two days ago, while eating dinner in my living/dining room and watching our television with all of 7 channels, Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” came on.

My roommate’s face lit up. “This song! It reminds me so much of you!”

I had no idea whether or not I should be flattered. Have you seen this video??

A little concerned, I asked her why it reminded her of me so much.

I mean, we never talk about money, except for how much I owe her for the bills at the end of the month and how freaking expensive plane tickets can be. And though she’s stylish, I don’t model how I dress after Rihanna (or anyone remotely well-dressed, for that matter).

And somehow, it didn’t feel as flattering as that time a little Chinese girl told me I looked like Taylor Swift.

Because, um, cold-blooded murderer?

She said she didn’t know exactly why. Obviously because I like to joke around with the word bitch, but also just because it was catchy and fun to sing if you didn’t think about the video. (Phew.)

I mean, the girl speaks so little English the only words she understands without looking up the lyrics are “bitch” and “money.”

I’m going to to go with the fact that Rihanna repeats the word “bitch” about a million times throughout the song… because one of our favorite get-tipsy activities is to create funny English-Portuguese mash-ups of the word bitch, then using our favorites to refer to a mutual acquaintance that’s impossible to deal with. It’s fun.

It’s sometimes funny the things people tell you that reminded them of you, isn’t it?

On a personal level, it can be hilarious… especially since we’re allowed to have fully fleshed-out, multi-faceted personalities.

But on a business level? You better be careful.

(I’d be mortified if one of my clients have told me this song reminds them of me.)

For example, I recently had a client reach out to me with a website that was completely sub-par.

But it wasn’t sub-par for the reasons you’d think.

The template and design of the website were absolutely beautiful. Like, I was envious of it.

But when I read through the website, it was impossible to decode. I had no clue what the heck they were selling.

It turns out they sell subscriptions to online courses. I sincerely thought they sold some kind of software.

The problem was, they’d gone out, looked at a bunch of different “cool” subscription and solution-based websites and taken what they thought were the “best” pieces and words of copy, and used them to inspire their own pages.

As celebrity style icons, if you will.

The problem is, their idea of the “best” words to adapt is the rest of the world’s idea of “jargon.”

They were trying to come across as professional, but didn’t know how to go about it, so they took inspiration from elsewhere.

It’s totally normal to take inspiration from others that you see are successful…. but you’ve got to put your own spin on it. And for goodness sake, you can not put yourself aside for the sake of a cool design or good-sounding words.

Because then? You end up reminding everyone of someone else, or resembling a bunch of faceless people in a crowd… or an axe murderer.

You blend into the crowd of sameness rather than sticking in someone’s memory or reminding visitors of that kick-ass music video they say on YouTube last night.

You get unintentionally stuck with the branding of businesses and individuals who are not you or your brand. And because of that, your brand, your customer loyalty, and subsequently your sales, suffer.

Not quite sure how to let your business have it’s own personality on your website?

I’m putting out an ebook on my top five secrets to a website re-write, which both help you have the personality you want and convert more visitors. It’s main focus is to help you turn high bounce rates into low bounce rates and higher profits.

Put your name and your email into the form below, and you’ll be one of the first ones to receive it. (Even before I put it live on my website!)

*Edit: the ebook is now live! Get it here: http://www.carolinafreelancewriter.com/slaying-high-bounce-rates-ebook/