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Are you being labeled?

Have you noticed that nearly everything is labeled? There are signs for every room in your home, including laundry rooms (like we couldn’t figure that one out). Celebrity couples morph into one label (Brangelina or Kimye) and current events quickly are named.

We’ve become label-crazy and there’s no sign of it slowing with legions of clever folks working hard to get their label to stick. In communications, it’s critical that your organization’s brand is promoted and protected. But what of labels that others assign you that are off-base?

Before you launch something with a clever acronym or humor, test it out on folks who are not in your industry. What’s funny to a 20-something-year-old creative team may flop with a target audience. Acronyms rarely promote understanding so use discretion. Before any big launch, run your messaging through reliable, honest outside sources who can alert you to any potential issues.

Crises operate differently and if your organization is involved, it’s critical to deliver speed, accuracy and be the most credible source. You can influence these labels for the better if you are proactive and clear. The news cycle is filled with urgency and sometimes media will run with less than perfect information in the race to be first.

If labels are wrong, say so and say why. Be persistent and be consistent. No one knows your brand better than you so be the first to define it. If you practice message control at all times, you have a better chance of being understood. And that's a label we all want.

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