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Don’t Sell Your “Antes”

Picture of a pile of poker chips

Basing your brand strategy on “antes” is a recipe for failure. Antes are things customers reasonably expect you to provide in the course of business. Things like:

  • Good service
  • Products that last
  • Truthful advertising

Companies using these as points of difference don’t usually have a lot of branding success. Why? Customers have an expectation that any company in business should reasonably exhibit them.

If something is an ante it passes the litmus test of – would a company ever strategically decide to do the opposite?  For example few companies would ever set out with the stated goal to provide poor service, shoddy products or lie in their advertising. These things may happen, but it is unlikely to be a stated brand strategy.

Americans have high standards and are demanding  – we automatically expect good service and decent products. That is exactly the reason antes don’t work effectively as branding strategies.  If your brand is based on providing something people think they should automatically be receiving the brand will have a tough time capturing anyone’s imagination.

How many times have you seen a slogan such as quality, dependability, service? It is worth zero because as a customer I should be getting those things as a matter of course.

If service and quality are your thing you will need to make it a distinct cut above to effectively use it as a branding strategy – for example offer out of this world service not just “good” service. A lifetime guarantee is the basis for a branding strategy – simply having good products is not.

Basing your brand strategy on “antes” is failed marketing. Don’t try to sell your antes – people expect them for free.