January 28, 2015

Often, our research will uncover gestures already taking place that internal communicators have overlooked as opportunities to improve perceptions of their brand.


Guard against these and you’ll uncover easy communication wins hiding in plain sight.

  • The “Everybody’s doin’ it” Trap Every single bank is required to reimburse customers for unauthorized charges. But consumers don’t know that. And boy does hearing you’ll cover them if a stranger buys 16 gallons of gas and a hamster cage on their card say “I care.” In fact, it’s often the feature they like most in credit card research.
  • The “It’s part of normal operating procedure” Trap No doubt storm Juno that hit (or should I say flicked) the Northeast this January had all the cable providers scrambling to get ready. Time Warner took the opportunity to take credit for their actions by emailing customers to let them know “they’re prepared and going to be doing their best to keep you connected.” How nice of them!  If a tree falls in the woods and no one is… you get it.  
  • The “Well, we do that because we have toTrap You probably read all the news that antibiotics are no longer approved for growth promotion purposes. Oh what’s that? You didn’t??? Well, that happened. But agriculture and food companies aren’t exactly shouting it from the rooftop.  It’s natural not to want to direct attention to a sticky subject. My advice: don’t be scared. Consumers react favorably to the change. It may be mandated, but it’s still an action in line with what they want and can help build trust you’re doing the right thing.
  • The “It’s not important enough” Trap In many car manufacturing facilities, employees wear sweatbands over their watches and belt buckles. Who cares, right? Well, car customers do. In recent work, a silly sweatband did as well as any other demonstration to tell the story of how much this company and its employees cared about quality control.


It doesn’t always take money or dramatic action to earn brand equity. Don’t fall into these common traps that keep you from getting credit for what you may already be doing.

4 Common Traps

more insights