Tag lines: would you buy a house from a guy in a kilt?

Differentiation is good. Very very good. I made the point in my post about the Ottawa Shawarma scene that in a crowded, site undifferentiated marketplace, for sale finding a catchy gimmick is a great way to get people to remember you. This unfortunately is the other side of the “personal branding” coin.

Guy in Kilt

Yes, cheap I noticed it. Yes, I remembered it. But no, I’m not going to buy a house from you my Scottish friend.

A good tag line should do at leat one of the following a) tell me what you do if I don’t already know, b) tell me how you do your thing better than anyone else, and / or c) make an emotional connection to show me how “sympatico” you are with me – how you think like I do about your subject area. 
This one does none of those things.

5 Reasons this tag line won’t get me to hire the guy in the kilt:

1) It doesn’t tell me what you do for me.  The tag line doesn’t tell me anything about your business – and mine. How well / differently do you do what you want me to hire you to do: buy or sell property? Kilt does not equal real estate excellence in my mind. Sorry.

2) It’s all about you. There are perhaps a few large egos in the Real Estate business, and this one makes me suspect you might be among them. If you’re not, show me that by not focusing your ad entirely on yourself. If you are, just save your money and commission a statue of yourself in your back yard. Maybe a little shrine.

3) I don’t want to see you in a kilt. I would be incredibly uncomfortable meeting you in person – especially if you were actually wearing a kilt. Don’t get me wrong, a kilt can be very classy at a wedding or a military Tattoo. But it’s an eccentric thing – kind of like telling people you are a closet Klingon speaker or always wear socks with fish on them. You’ll get remembered, but it doesn’t build your brand.

4) There is such a thing as bad publicity / attention / memorable-ness. While I was taking this picture, a random passer-by laughed out loud at the ad. And not in a “ha ha that’s so clever I want to by a house from him” kind of way. Enough said.

5) My wife is a MacDonald. Apparently there’s some kind of ancient blood feud. Something about your ancestors murdering a bunch of her ancestors in their sleep. Sorry. Nothing personal. But you did bring up the ethnic thing.

I’m so mad at Switzerland!

A Rant about Canadian Brands for Canada Day 2009

So you ask: “Mad at Switzerland? What could anyone possibly have against the Swiss” – those lovely Alp-ine purveyors of Rolex watches, visit this Nestle chocolate, and fastidiously discreet banking services? Sorry Switzerland. It’s not about you. It’s about you beating the pants off Canada in the global branding arena.

And to be fair, in the rant video attached you’ll note that I have equal opportunity anger issues against Sweden, Finland, and even my own ancestral homeland the Netherlands. And as you’ll see, it’s all because of their brands. Each of these countries punches far above their weight in the contest for the global brand belt. As you’ll see in the stats below, these countries even beat the heavyweight in the ring – the USA – when you take their population into account.

Global 100 chart

So why the anger?

Okay, I’m a Canadian. I’m not actually angry per se: just hurt, frustrated, envious, mildly apologetic, etc.

Actually, I want Canadian brand managers to stand up and take notice. We need to get more internationally respected / recognized brands. In this deck on SlideShare, you’ll find some supporting data (from Interbrand / Business Week) and my challenge to Canadian Brand Managers.

Go Canada!

What Canadian brands are Global candidates?

Fortunately, the good folks at Interbrand also published a helpful guide in 2008 for that as well.

Interbrand report on Canadian Brands.

The top ten

  1. Blackberry
  2. RBC
  3. TD Canada Trust
  4. Shopper’s Drug Mart
  5. Petro Canada
  6. Manulife
  7. Bell
  8. Scotiabank
  9. Canadian Tire
  10. Tim Horton’s

Some thoughts on differentiation from a great consumer brand guru

And when I say “consumer” I mean “consumer”. But unlike the objects of our host’s consumption, advice this way of thinking should never be a “sometimes food” for smart differs.

But the big question is: which of these plates are you going to buy?