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10 Telltale Signs Of A Comb-Over Brand

March 7, 2019

man with extremely long comb-over hair sticking way out to side ten chickadee birds roosting on hair strand rhyme red rover please don't comb-overblank vertical space, 32 pixels highWhy do comb-overs make us shake our heads and snicker?blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Because someone’s faking it. They’re not comfortable with themselves, so we’re not comfortable with them.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

We want to say: Be yourself. Don’t spend time on something that looks bad and doesn’t work.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Brands do comb-overs, too. Here are 10 telltale signs of a comb-over brand:blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 32 pixels high

1. They use stock photos because they’re “good enough.”blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Even though they’re generic. Even though people yawn and scroll past them. Even though other companies use the same photos. blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

2. They use jargon that might be misunderstood. You have to speak the customer’s language, not your own.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You win people over by being human and likable, not technocratic and remote. blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

3. They try to “fit in.” They take their cue from other brands. They say the same things other brands say. This is one of the harder comb-overs to spot.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Why? Because brands that play it “safe” don’t get noticed at all.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

4. They steer clear of humor. They think it makes them look unprofessional. They don’t understand that humor is more than telling jokes. It’s doing business with a smile and a light touch. It gets people to lower their shields.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Clive James said it best: “Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. Those who lack humor are without judgment and should be trusted with nothing.” blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

5. They let analytics and efficiency define their scope. Analytics and efficiency are both good things, but they encourage “safe” marketing: repeating what’s already worked, spending as little as possible.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

To get noticed, brands need to take risks. Effective marketing can create customers. blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

6. They stand for… a good product or service– and that’s all. It’s not enough to set you apart. People today are bombarded with choice and competing truths.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

A brand’s “truth” (philosophy) can help it stand out and attract customers.
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7. They think there are only so many ways to tell a story. There’s always a fresh way. And that’s a good thing because times change, and brand stories need to be refreshed and retold.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

That’s why it pays to hire collaborators who can see the stories with fresh eyes.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

8. They believe in detail-stuffing: always cram as much information as possible into posts and infographics. Bad mistake. If it’s not eye-friendly, people will scroll by.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Less is more (read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address). White space is your friend. Think long, write short.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

9. They rely on “influencers” to create all their buzz. Sure, influencers are nice-to-have. Any brand would be glad to have an industry expert or “thought leader” give them a shout-out.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

But the most credible testimonials come from advocates— satisfied customers. And happy employees are some of the best brand advocates a company can have.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

10. They make assumptions. Two in particular: people are as interested in their brand as they are (false), and people really understand what they do (dangerous– some people may have a totally erroneous impression).blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

A brand’s first priority has to be getting noticed, which means being different. If you’re just part of the noise, no one will stop and listen to your message.blank vertical space, 32 pixels high

blank vertical space, 16 pixels highBrand comb-overs aren’t deliberate bad choices. They spring more from tunnel vision and lazy thinking.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Say goodbye to comb-overs. Own your hair, own your brand.blank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels highdetail man with extremely long comb-over hair sticking way out to side ten chickadee birds roosting on hair strand rhyme red rover please don't comb-overblank vertical space, 16 pixels highblank vertical space, 16 pixels high

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About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Questions? Send me an email.blank vertical space, 40 pixels highRecommendation testimonial for Mark Armstrong Illustration from Jay Moye global editor-in-chief coca-cola company

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Mia Moravis permalink
    March 7, 2019 8:49 AM

    Brilliant, this ~ bravo, Mark! Very informative with a couple of new industry terms learned ~ and brill accompanying artwork!

    Like

    • March 7, 2019 1:33 PM

      Really appreciate that, Mia– thank you! I may have even established a new standard: “Hey, lookee there– a 4-bird comb-over!!” 😂

      Like

  2. March 7, 2019 11:07 PM

    Comb-overs – maybe this explains all the brands that are now using owls on TV ads.

    Like

  3. March 8, 2019 7:39 AM

    Excellent in every way, not a hair out of place! ::applause::

    Like

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