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Quality, Best and Other Awful Branding Words

Eric Groves

By Eric Groves

“Hurry in now for our big sale on quality items! The very best prices storewide!”

Even just typing those words to prove a point was painful. This is the kind of language that you automatically tune out. It’s the type of advertising that is intrusive, annoying and cheesy. There isn’t a whole lot of thought behind it, either. Anyone could describe their product as high quality, or the best on the market. And even though you may believe it to be true, wouldn’t your competitors say the same thing about their products and prices? It’s a tired and lazy way of marketing, and it results in negative brand perception. To put it simply, this type of communication, while it does put your company name and product out there, does more harm than good.

You’ve seen thousands of ads with awful branding words over your lifetime. Imagine the big red sale tags and worthless product descriptions in countless cheap advertising spots with annoying calls to action. Remember the “Head On” commercials? They were certainly memorable (in a bad way). Now think about some of your favorite brands. The classics often come to mind, like Google, Apple and Starbucks. What do all these brands have in common? They don’t lower themselves to define their brand using generic terms like “best” and “quality,” and for good reason. Great brands understand that in order to stand out, every aspect of the brand must be carefully considered. Every customer touch point must be calculated. That includes every single advertisement – even if it’s just a small banner ad on a website or a product description on your homepage.

If you describe your product by saying it’s “bigger, better, GREATER!” It’s time to ditch the “er” words and find a more thoughtful way to pitch your product and brand.

Ok, so maybe now you’re with us. You know that taking the easy way out with your advertising is lame. You want to have thoughtful and creative communications with prospective clients. You want every touch point with them to be meaningful. You want to build a kick-butt brand that turns customers into brand evangelists. How can you do it?


It is important that your voice is infused with personality and moves beyond a literal, dry description of what you do and how you do it. Brand voices should have layers. Just like someone’s personality, there are appropriate times for your brand to be funny, serious, witty and knowledgeable. Infuse traits of your desired attitude and tone within all of your communications.

As you get to know a person or brand, you uncover more layers. Make sure your brand speaks to people in a way that makes them want to be around it. We like to compare brands to people and ask, “What makes someone likable?” Think about some of the people in your life that you are very close to, like your best friend. What are the qualities that you like about them? They are often the same qualities that make people like brands too. After all, we’re all human.


Mark Twain was a great editor. He once wrote, ‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” It’s often easier to come up with a lot of blah-blah brand stuff than it is to get to the point. If you’re creating content for the sake of filling up a page, don’t bother! Every single piece of your external communications should ooze your brand voice. The goal is to be as succinct as possible. Be clear and direct. Great brand voices are not afraid of the editor’s knife!


Our branding philosophy is to stand out from the pack. If you’re a zebra in a herd of stripes, you need to have spots. A lot of elements go into making a brand, but when you’re just thinking about content and specific word choice, it’s important to build a personality that is unique to your brand. Try testing yourself with our brand voice quiz to see what we’re talking about.

All new! Hurry, supplies won’t last! It’s the biggest sale of the year! Next time you read or hear some of those awful and generic branding words, let it be a reminder and motivation to avoid that mistake with your own brand. You can build a strong brand that attracts people and makes them want to be long-term “friends.” It all starts with finding your voice and standing out from the pack.



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