Why the Idea Is Dangerous & How to Get Past It
“I don’t dislike any of them. But I’m just not seeing ‘the one.’”
If we had a dollar for every time a client said this to us, we’d be retired and sipping strawberry daiquiris on the beach. Our clients come from all different walks of life, yet the idea of “the one” seems to be part of a universal language in marketing. Whether you’re working toward a new name, logo or tagline, holding out for “the one” is more than just disruptive to the creative process. It drains momentum out of the project and, in the worst-case scenario, hinders the final results—results you’ve invested a great deal of money to obtain.
The Biggest Challenge Is Visualizing the Future
We’re not saying it’s outlandish for clients to be looking for “the one.” We’re saying quite the opposite, in fact. When we present creative concepts, whether they pertain to a name, logo or tagline, it’s very difficult to visualize the future. And that’s totally understandable. This isn’t something you do every day. It can all feel very foreign and, therefore, jarring. But this is what we do every day, which means that, by the time we’ve presented the concepts, we’ve already done our homework and visualized the brand from every angle.
We know how it’s going to live and breathe in every application, including the vehicle, uniforms, print collateral, website, etc. We like to think of ourselves as branding weathercasters. We have the ability to forecast how the concept will live because we’ve done it so many times before. When you work with a branding agency like ours—one that has created more than 2,000 small business brands to date—it’s important to know you are never, ever flying blind. We’ve already created the flight plan for every creative concept we present.
When the writers are brainstorming new names, they’re working with the illustrators to discuss how the brand can come to life in a captivating and disruptive way. And by the time it’s in the illustrators’ hands, they’re working with the designers to ensure the new logo can be seamlessly applied to the vehicles, uniforms and everything in between. It is a chain of events that’s bursting with potential energy. But if you’re stuck on the idea of waiting for “the one,” the idea that needs to feel absolutely perfect in your mind, that potential energy will never be unleashed. It’s also important to acknowledge it’s not about what feels right for you, per se. We’re not branding for you. We’re branding for Mrs. Smith, the homeowner who is tired of getting burned by companies left and right. Mrs. Smith is looking for the exception. And that’s where you come in with your one-of-a-kind brand that stands out in the best way possible.
There’s No Beating Around the Bush: We Know What Works
If you’re not seeing “the one,” the reason is simple: it doesn’t exist. It is an elusive idea that will leave you searching and searching until your budget has dried up and you’re feeling misunderstood, frustrated and defeated. This is what the myth of “the one” will do to clients. We know because we’ve seen it happen far too often.
That’s not to say your ideas and preferences are irrelevant. They most certainly are important and valued, which is why we dive deep and embark on an in-depth creative process to understand your business from every angle. But once that process is complete, if you feel that none of the concepts are even remotely on-point, that’s when the red flags go up. Modifying and making tweaks to a concept is not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about dismissing the concepts entirely because they’re “not doing it” for you. This is when the project can reach a serious standstill.
What does “the one” look like for you? The fact of the matter is that we’ve been doing this for more than 25 years. We know what works and what doesn’t. And there comes a point when, as the client, you have to take a step back and trust in the process. As an agency that works primarily with home service companies, we would never in a million years think we know more than the plumber about plumbing. So when a client tells us the concepts aren’t “there,” when we know fully well that they are, we reach an inevitable impasse. And it’s not because we’re stubborn and want you to stroke our ego by approving a concept. It’s because we know that if you let go of the reins a bit and let us do our job, you’re going to be oh-so happy you did. In all of our years in business, we’ve never had a client take our advice and say, “I wish I didn’t listen.” It’s more like, “Wow, thank goodness I listened to you guys!”
If It Feels Different, That’s a Good Thing
No, it’s a great thing. The competition is stiff. So why would you want to look like every other company out there? For many clients, the initial concepts feel too “out there.” Too risky. Too foreign from what they always thought an HVAC or plumbing company should look and feel like. But breaking free from the clutter is exactly what you want to do, isn’t it? Otherwise, you would’ve never come to us.
Fetch-a-Tech is a great example. This HVAC and plumbing company is now dominating the dog-eat-dog market in Las Vegas. But when we first presented the name, many people were taken aback. They didn’t know what the point of the name was, how it was going to live as a brand and why it was worth going in such a bold, unconventional direction. Thankfully, the owner trusted us from the start to do what we do best. The company embraced Fetch-a-Tech, and what followed was a lovable logo and a tagline (Service That’s a Breed Apart) that brought everything full circle. If the team had listened to those outside of the creative process—people who don’t do this day in and day out—the brand would’ve never taken shape. Rebranding for disruption requires taking a leap, even when some of the closest people in your life might be telling you to stay put and go in a safer, more “normal” direction. We’re not saying you should ignore the advice of your family, friends and colleagues. But when all is said and done, you came to us for a reason. You saw our portfolio and imagined where you could take your business by rebranding with us. Whether or not you reach the goals you’ve set is ultimately up to you.
There’s Something We Need to Clarify
If you think you’re an outlier when you don’t see “the one,” think again. The majority of our clients do not have that “aha!” moment. At least, not in the beginning. So if you think our other clients have seen “the one,” and you’re just one of the unlucky few, this is not the case. It is rare for any client to look at a concept and say: “That’s it! That’s the one!” If they do, it’s a wonderful moment for us and for them. But the truth is there is usually an element of apprehension. Whether the apprehension is minor or major will vary, but it’s almost always there. And this is completely normal because, as we said before, “the one” is a myth.
There is a difference between bringing a vision to life and trying to create something that just doesn’t exist. There are times when our clients love a concept right off the bat. But more often than not, there is another discussion that needs to take place. And again, this is completely understandable. When you’re seeing a name or logo for the first time, it’s like seeing your brand in a vacuum. In his latest book, “Branded Not Blanded: KickCharge™ Your Home Service Brand,” Dan Antonelli discusses the analogy of the brand wheel. The logo is in the center of the wheel and the spokes surrounding the wheel represent every other marketing channel that helps tell the brand story: the truck wrap, web design, social media, etc. So when you’re seeing only the name or the logo, you’re seeing only a portion of the brand wheel, which brings us to our final point.
It All Comes Down to Trust
We invest the time it takes to develop rock-solid concepts—ones we can’t wait to go home and tell our families about. Maybe even ones that make us jealous we can’t use to start our own HVAC company (guilty as charged). When a client tells us they’re not seeing “the one,” our first step is to find out why. We want to know what’s missing for them and what we can do to modify the concept and provide something they feel great about. But if we go through the motions and there’s no sort of forward momentum, we know this client has “the one” syndrome. And that’s when we have to have a conversation about trust.
We can’t fast forward to the future and show you all of the wonderful things in store once you approve the concept. If we could, we wouldn’t be writing this post. But at a certain point, you have to trust in our abilities and our experience. The real trailblazers are the ones who trusted us back in the day before we had the portfolio and success stories to back everything up. After rebranding thousands of companies, we have it down to a science. We wouldn’t have done this time and time again if it didn’t work, “out there” concepts and all. The most disruptive and successful brands are the ones that feel the least safe.
So when you feel like you’re not seeing “the one,” think about what that actually means. Is it something you can articulate? Or is it something that just doesn’t exist? By looking for “the one,” are you reaching your goals faster? Or are you getting in the way of your own success and potential?
Some people spend their whole lives looking for “the one” and end up turning down potential partners who, when given the chance, would have been everything that person wanted and more. Don’t make the same mistake with your brand.