Brand Fatigue Part 2: The Customer’s Perspective

Now that we’ve covered your perspective on fatigue with your own brand and materials, it’s time to dive into the mind of your customer.

Remember a crucial component of that Google definition we looked at in Part 1: 

A lessening in one’s response… typically as a result of overexposure…”

This lessening of customer response is what we, as marketers and brand caretakers, want to avoid at all costs! After all, the lifeblood of any successful brand is its customers; we want to keep them coming back. But we also want to remain high in the consideration set of potential customers.

There are ways we can achieve this — but as with anything worth doing in life — they all involve balance, attention and commitment to strategy.

For the purposes of getting into the customer’s head, let’s break this out into two categories of fatigue from their point of view 

          1. Overexposure
          2. “Confused” exposure

Overexposure – Too Much of the Same!

We’ve all seen or heard “that one commercial” that drives us absolutely bonkers.

As marketers, we often consider earworm jingles or memorable moments in ads to be a measure of success. We want that message to become trapped in people’s brains!


Repeated exposure to the same or overly similar messaging might be the most common cause of customer brand fatigue known to man. In extreme cases, this fatigue may devolve into sheer annoyance, and from there, infuriation.

But depending on your market situation, a frequency-based approach can be a great strategy to get your message heard and retained — just ask any media buyer.

This is where the art of balance comes in — balance of your creative messaging and your ad placements.

In some cases, such as over-the-top (OTT) streaming services or online pre-roll, certain audiences are more likely to be inundated with the same ads, as this is not yet as crowded a market as terrestrial TV or radio. But messaging overload can occur anywhere ads are seen, heard or clicked on — and this leads to customers simply shutting you out. That’s why it helps to vary your creative as much as possible.

One strategy could be to run more than one creative concept at a time. The branding and main messaging components should all tell the same story, but the creative execution can vary. Just keep it on-brand.

GEICO has been doing this for years — often running several creative campaigns at once to tactfully drive home their main mantra as often as possible, without causing undue brand fatigue among potential customers. (From geckos to caveman to everyday folks in ridiculous situations, everyone knows “15 minutes can save 15% or more on car insurance!”)

If you need more examples of consistency done right, look no further than the two Sonic drive-in guys, Progressive’s Flo or Allstate’s Mayhem. Sure, there will always be folks who love them and folks who love to hate on such long-standing spokespersons. But the fact is, for years, these brand icons drive real results and real loyalty.

Of course, big production budgets are at play here. But we can help you think of ways to keep up that frequency when necessary, while economically varying messaging. After all, it’s our job.

Confused Exposure – Too Much Going On!

While GEICO is obviously doing just fine overall, they may only be getting away with so many creative executions because they are so powerful as a brand. (That’s the beauty of having a huge advertising budget, a strong partnership and a “relentlessly consistent” approach.) They’re able to tie everything back to savings, but only after spending years priming audiences with their kooky style.

Often, clients have many branded assets or divisions to manage, and don’t have the luxury of tying all executions back into one message.

Automotive groups that sell several different makes of cars under the same family name are a prime example of this. While you ultimately want customers to remember “that one name” when it’s time to buy a car, clearly branding each of their dealerships in terms of the makes they offer can help further differentiate them from the many choices out there.

For example, our client Jim Butler Chevrolet is part of an auto group that sells many different brands across the St. Louis area. Our job is to make sure that folks remember that they are “The Chevy Powerhouse.”

However, we also create advertising for their Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & Ram dealer, as well as their pre-owned offerings. To differentiate, we pay close attention to the messaging we attach to each unique brand — taglines, copy points, music, footage style — it all matters!

The Bottom Line

You want your audience to be super in tune with who you are as a brand — without beating them over the head, and without being too all over the place. Balance is key.

To the extent that your budget allows, you want to maintain a consistent brand presence while keeping your approach and execution fresh. This way, you stay in the good graces of audiences and higher up in their consideration set.

A good agency partner will know how to help with this — and trust us when we say: It’s one of our favorite things to do!

Drop us a line, and let’s start talking about how to bring just the right touch into your branding and marketing efforts!