Marketing and advertising insights for automotive suppliers

15 Branding No-Nos: What Automotive OEM Suppliers Should Never Do

15 Branding No-Nos: What Automotive OEM Suppliers Should Never Do

(Plus one quote from a legendary movie director)

  1. You didn’t make your logo plain as day. Nothing worse than a logo that can’t be easily read in any context: From an online banner ad to a highway billboard. Whose ad was that? Not sure. Money wasted.
  2. You didn’t make rules. In society, if there were no laws, there’d be chaos. Same with a brand. A good set of brand guidelines is like the Constitution. A great brand is controlled creativity. Amendments can be made but not without serious cogitation.
  3. Inconsistency. Once your brand rules have been established, always use the same typefaces, the same colors, the same tagline, the same tone of brand voice. And never mess with your logo. Never, ever, never.
  4. You haven’t gotten your people on board. If you have 500 employees, they can be 500 brand ambassadors. Teach them about your brand. What it means, how and where it can be used, why it’s important. Your investment in time will pay off handsomely, especially if it reflects the culture of your company, which it absolutely should.
  5. You don’t simplify. Simple is different. In marketing, different is good. Simple is easier to understand.
  6. Your brand isn’t fun. A good personality is valuable everywhere, even in automotive. Fun people are fun to be around. Brands are like people. Nobody’s perfect, and no company’s perfect. Don’t make like you are.
  7. You don’t respect your audience’s time. Please keep your brand messaging short and to the point. Nuff said.
  8. “You cannot make art without risk any more than you can make babies without sex.” I recently read that quote by Francis Ford Coppola in Time magazine. Change “art” to “a great brand” and it still works. (This isn’t really a no-no. I just love the thought and wanted to share. All great brands take risks one way or another.)
  9. You don’t get to the damn point. So get to the point.
  10. Bragging. Nobody likes a braggart. Avoid self-aggrandizing superlatives about your brand. Leave that to others.
  11. You’re in a hurry. Time is one of the most important ingredients in a strong brand. It takes a year or more for your audience to understand and embrace your brand. Relax. Stick to the plan.
  12. You’re not visually consistent. If you use dramatic photography, always use dramatic photography. If you use illustrations, always use the same style of illustrations. If you don’t use photos or illustrations, be consistent with your simplicity. Talk one visual language. Over time, you’ll become fluent in it, and your audience will start to understand.
  13. You don’t keep score. If you don’t keep score, how do you know if you’re winning? Don’t rely on your instincts to answer that question. Do a brand benchmark study as early as possible. Measure awareness, sales, sales leads. Follow up with another study in six months. And a year. You’ll know how much your brand is moving the needle.
  14. You don’t keep things fresh. Run the same ad over and over, or post new social media messages too infrequently and your audience will forget about you. Don’t let that happen.
  15. You make it all about you. Express your brand in terms of what your customers need and how you can fill that need. Less about you, more about them and what you can do for them.
  16. You don’t know what those other people are doing. If you’re saying what your competition is saying, you’re wasting your money. An audit of the competition, and constant monitoring of the category, is essential to making your brand fresh AND relevant.
Brand Positioning

Ernie Perich

As the owner and creative director of Perich Advertising + Design for more than 30 years, Ernie knows a thing or two about automotive marketing. He combines brand strategy with smart creative to help automotive suppliers strike a nerve. Contact

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