Find Your Backward “J”

by Nora D. Richardson

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While on a mini road trip with my husband last weekend, an unintentionally funny sign caught our eye and gave us a chuckle.  It was a simple sign, stenciled on a piece of plywood, with a simple message: “Buy Lunk Cars.”  Well, obviously the sign should’ve read “Buy Junk Cars,” but someone (presumably this business owner’s kids), stenciled the “J” on backward, turning Junk into Lunk.

As we went on down the road, we noticed several more “Lunk” signs, each with the hidden power to get noticed (and create a giggle) because of just one little backward “J.”

So it got me thinking: Would I have noticed these signs if it wasn’t for that little awkward reversed “J”? Probably not.  After all, We Buy Junk Cars is a sign we all see here and there, no matter where you live.  But Lunk Cars?  Now that’s a rarity.

A Great Brand Differentiates your Business from the Competition

Whether this business owner realizes it or not, he actually employed a tactic that I encourage all of my clients to strive towards: this business owner differentiated his business from his competition.  In doing so, this guy accidentally created a brand for his business.

Branding is the process of creating a clear, consistent message about your company or product.  It’s about developing an image for your business – both internally and externally.  Branding builds a name for your business, showcasing what sets your business apart from your competition.

Nothing is more important than SETTING YOUR BRAND APART from the competition.  This can be accomplished in both big and little ways, but essentially it must be done to foster the success of your company or product. (Please note, I am not encouraging you, nor recommending to you to reverse a letter in your logo.)

A “J” is Worth 1,000 Words

Further along in our journey that day, I noticed that that little backward “J” was simply a mistake; we found other signs from the same business with the “J” in the correct position.  Because of this inconsistency and inadvertent error (among other reasons), this isn’t exactly an example of great branding; however, it’s important to remember that sometimes it’s the little things that tell a big story about your business.

Your brand should tell your story: the story of you and the story of your business.  Your brand should intrinsically highlight the reasons your business is both exemplary and also unique.  In this case, a curious “J” nudged my interest in this business – at just a glance, I was already picturing an eight-year-old family member furrowing his brow as he concentrated on filling in that mislaid stencil.

A family business, perhaps?  Maybe, but my assumptions are unimportant.  What is important is that “J” stuck in my mind enough that I felt the urge to come home and write a blog post about it.  Now that’s the kind of brand recognition you want!

Find Your Backward “J”

Your business will benefit when you find your own backward “J” to place in the center of your excellent brand.  Without that “J” that truly sets your brand apart and innately tells your company story, your brand is likely to go the way of the rest of those We Buy Junk Cars signs: unnoticed, unappreciated and uninteresting.  Find your backward “J” and you’ll find your excellent brand – the excellent brand your excellent business deserves!

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