The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: The Importance of Branding

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Branding can be one of the most powerful disciplines within your marketing strategy to gain or lose momentum for any size business. Since your brand is a reflection of who you are, the feeling customers get when they think of you, or briefly put your personality, it’s incumbent upon your business to have a good branding strategy to thrive in any marketplace.

Because when branding is done right, your company will see an increase in sales, a rise in product value, and ultimately make a name for yourself among a sea of competitors.

Over the years, many brands have come and gone because of 5 unique qualities that distinguish a good brand from a bad one—those being consistency, uniqueness, simplicity, storytelling, and engagement.

Branding disasters and triumphs happen all the time. So when globally renowned brands find success or failure with their strategies, it’s important to note whether you should implement these tactics for your own development or avoid others’ mistakes.


Now is the best time to re-evaluate your branding strategies – with summer at our front doorstep and the pandemic winding down, people are ready to interact with brands again and spend money. To help, we’ll review a few household-named brands, so can you compare them to your own branding strategies and see how they match up.


So let’s take a look at a few major brands like Carhartt, Fubu, and REI to learn more about where they found success or failure to help you learn more about your own brand.


Carhartt is one of our favorite brands for several reasons and is the perfect example of how branding should be implemented. For the 126 years they have been around, they’ve made little to no mistakes with their branding strategies, which is unmistakably impressive.

In the beginning, the essential part of their branding success was storytelling through their defined audience. Carhartt has been known to make durable, long-lasting clothes for blue-collar workers. This campaign or brand idea highlighted the ruggedness of these workers, ultimately creating a tribe mentality between everyone working a blue-collar job and giving them something in common.

This commonality led to an exchange of experiences and why people personally use Carhartt. This is the basis of how successful brands are built, which ultimately drives growth, awareness, and sales.

But what is more impressive with Carhartt’s brand is its ability to change with the times. For years, Carhartt’s brand perception was the male blue-collar worker, but as we’ve made technological advances, that need is not as prevalent as it once was. Recognizing this, they implemented several campaigns directed toward women, artisans, and craftspeople to meet the needs of a new and growing customer base. Even now, you can find Carhartt on the streets of NYC because of what it represents: getting things done.

Brand Takeaways:

There is a lot to learn from Carhartt and its branding and marketing strategies. Still, the biggest takeaways for any brand are knowing who your audience is, developing communities within that audience, and knowing when to adapt to your audience.


Like Carhartt, Fubu is a clothing brand, but instead of focusing on the blue-collar life, they represent streetwear.

In the 90s and early 2000s, Fubu was inescapable, you couldn’t walk a block in any major city without seeing someone wearing one of their designs, and within only a few years, they managed to fade from the limelight. But why?

There are a few reasons for their downfall, but the biggest one is how they strayed away from their brand. When you aren’t consistent with your brand, you confuse your customers as to what you stand for or against, and ultimately the struggle to trust you.

For instance, in 2001, Fubu decided to expand by creating a record label. They entered an entirely different industry without strategically aligning themselves with industry professionals or a business strategy.

If you’re thinking about expanding your business, it is always important to ask yourself why you are expanding and does it reflect your current brand’s vision or mission?

Similarly, Fubu started designing and purchasing inventory on a much larger scale than was needed or wanted. Without consulting their customers, they unknowingly strayed away from what made them a 350 million dollar a year grossing company.

Brand Takeaways:

Fubu’s downfall can be directly correlated with its inconsistency in brand strategy. Rather than keeping it simple, they ended up biting off more than they could chew, which led to confusion, indifference, and a lack of trust in their consumer base. Had they been more attentive to their customer’s needs, just like Carhartt, they may still be as relevant today as they were 20 years ago.


Another exemplary brand to take note of is REI. For those who don’t know, REI is a co-op that sells outdoor equipment for basically every scenario, whether it’s camping, hiking, biking, or simply the clothes people love to wear while being outside.

REI has made strides in the branding world because of the simplicity of its brand, its willingness to educate and engage with its consumer base, and the transparency in their companies goals.

REI has always stayed true to its mission: getting people outside. A few years ago, REI started the Opt Outside movement, which encourages people to step away from their screens and (you guessed it) go outside. What is particularly appealing to people about this movement is that REI isn’t asking you to wear their gear or use a hashtag to promote their own products. They simply want people to go outside.

Not only do they encourage people to go outside, but they provide educational guides and resources to help people get outside and plan adventures. It’s a direct parallel to thought leadership. They’ve established themselves as the go-to resource for all things outdoor, which has inspired brand loyalty and a massive following.

If that isn’t enough for you, they even host events ranging from volunteering to clean up your local park to classes with certified instructors that help teach you various outdoor activities. Together, all of these events prove their mission statement isn’t just a gimmick but what they truly stand for, and people love it.

Brand Takeaways:

REI turned itself into the go-to resource for everything outdoors, which is what any brand should strive for regardless of industry. By being authentic and genuine to their brand, they have developed a community and cult following that will share their values for years to come. By inviting, educating, and trusting their consumers to go outside, they have built a truly unique brand.

How WBG can help your branding needs

We’re the one-stop shop to help develop or reinvent your brand. We can assist you in avoiding the mistakes other brands have made and guide you to the successes other brands have found. Whether it’s the message you’re sending out into the world or the aesthetic of your designs, logos, or fonts, we can advise along the way so you can reach the level of awareness your company or business deserve.

Get in contact with us today.

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