Are You a Red Lorry?

Posted: 25th June 2012

On a recent trip to Scotland I had the pleasure of driving more motorway hours than I would care to remember. On the quieter stretch of the M6, north of Lancaster, I spotted a lorry far into the distance. It was too far away to read any text and see the company logo but the colour scheme was very distinctive. It looked a bit like this...


How many of you looking at that thought 'Home Bargains' in an instant? That's exactly what it was, a Home Bargains lorry. Personally the brand colours aren't my favourite and having red and blue together without a gap creates a visual tension. However, they are incredibly distinctive. I also passed lots of red lorries (and blue and white) on my journey. They were everywhere, but they all look the same and were completely unmemorable. I couldn't tell you the name of a single haulage company or retail brand I saw in red.

With the Home Bargains lorries, once I'd seen one I started seeing lots of them, on the way home again, and ever since. Once something noticeable has been brought to the attention of our conscious minds we become more aware of it in future. Have you ever bought a model of car you think is quite unique and then seen lots of them on the roads afterwards? It's the same thing, and so I apologise in advance for those of you who will notice every Home Bargains lorry you see from now on.

You may love Home Bargains, you may loathe them, but what they have is a brand that sticks out and a colour scheme that is so different you know immediately who it is, even from a distance where all you can see is the colour and nothing else.

Think about their shops for a moment... What do you associate with them? Even if you've never been in one, you will likely have a brand association with them. The collective set of associations we have about a shop, or company, or service, is their brand.

Your service has a brand. It's what people associate with it, the feeling they get when they see or hear or read something about it. It's not just your logo, or colour scheme, it's what people say about it. It's how people feel at every single touch-point they experience when they access your services. It's what is written in the press, in the correspondence they receive, the language you use, the smiles on the faces of your staff.

In a future blog I'll look at some things we can learn from the world's best super-brands. But in the meantime, ask yourself what is your brand? Does your stuff stand out? Is it distinctive? Is it interesting? Or are you just another red lorry?


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