Cognitive Dissonance and Branding – Do not mix!

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about branding and what it means to truly build a brand.

One thing that I keep coming back to is having that guiding star in branding. That one thing that you use to make any business decision. The thing that drives all other activities.

For example, you probably already know the story about the President at Southwest refusing to sign on to anything that didn’t match their goal to be THE low cost airline.

The more I look at it, the more I see the importance of such a focus on your true mission, your ultimate goal.

The problem is that too many companies build cognitive dissonance into their every day practices. Cognitive dissonance (according to Wikipedia) is “an uncomfortable feeling or stress caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.”

So, how does this play out?

It’s the company saying they stand for customer service and making decisions that will make things difficult or confusing for their customers but easy for the company.

It’s the company saying they save you money, but aren’t the lowest price.

It’s any number of things that illustrate to the customer that you don’t practice what you preach.

Customers can spot fake. They know when you’re not doing what you say. They won’t be fooled.

Sure, it’s not easy, but doing the right thing never is.

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Cognitive Dissonance and Branding – Do not mix!