3 F Words That Will Kill Your Brand

3 F Words That Will Kill Your Brand

Not THAT F-word obviously. But here are 3 F-words that are enemies of your brand. 3 things that are so toxic, so negative that you should avoid thinking them. Avoid saying them. And definitely avoid doing them if you want to build a strong brand

  1. FLUFF

In the brilliant book ‘Good strategy, bad strategy‘, fluff is defined as

‘a form of gibberish masquerading as strategic concepts or arguments…. words that are inflated and unnecessarily abstruse…to create the illusion of high-level thinking.’

Abstruse means hard to understand by the way (to save you looking it up like I had to).

FLUFF will kill your brand. If you consistently use nonsense management speak or empty words to describe who you are, what you do or your impact, no-one will understand it. They might pretend to, nodding along or appearing thoughtful as you say things like ‘strategise’, ‘transformative’ or ‘catalyse’. But in reality, it will only serve to take away meaning and distract from the great work you do. Our tip – keep it simple. We tend to avoid long words, jargon or words that are not immediately understood.

  1. FEAR

This is not just the enemy of your brand – for me, it’s more of a life principle but it applies here too. If you act in fear, it will kill your brand. Fear is not a useful emotion to work from, act off or communicate if you’re trying to build a brand. This might sound obvious but it’s rarely deliberate. We allow fear to drive our actions, so we play it too safe,  we dilute, we use fluff to avoid committing to action.

A really good way to avoid fear driving your brand choices is to do a risk analysis. Think about all the things that COULD go wrong or the challenges you might face. Then work out how likely they are and the impact if they do happen. Once you’ve done this, you’ll feel a lot better and you’ll also be able to come up with solutions that manage the risk so you can really go for it, taking bold action instead of playing into the fear.


  1. FOG

Not actual fog as in the weather condition but the state of mental confusion. This fog usually leads to lack of clarity. And as I’ve said before on this blog, confusion and lack of clarity will kill your brand. When things are foggy, it stops us seeing the way forward and we’re afraid to act. Since your actions are how people actually experience your brand this doesn’t help.

So how do we avoid the fog? Firstly avoid our first F. Fluff = fog. Secondly, seek help. Maybe you need an objective view. Our clients often say that the clarity we bring is a major benefit of working with us. Finally, stop talking, start doing. Testing to learn is a great way to break through fog.


So there you go. The 3 brand killers – FLUFF, FEAR and FOG. 3 F-words that we should all avoid if we want to build strong brands.

If any of these F-words are holding your brand back, give us a shout, because we can help!