And.

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The word “and” has killed more brand strategies than an online community college marketing course. Here’s a company mission that foretells brand strategy problems:

Our priority is school safety and accountability; our goal is to be the standard for integrated school safety and operations systems.

First sentence: How can something be your priority when you’ve added something else?  That’s two priorities. Second sentence: They added the word “integrated” to the mix, whatever that means. And for good measure, bringing up the rear is the tag along “operations systems.”  I’ve been to this movie before and it’s not pretty. Not from a branding standpoint.

I know this company. They do good work in the school security space. Their most in-demand product is smart cards. Cards with chips in them that have multiple applications but student safety is the key care-about.

If you parse the Is-Does from the statement, they are a security company that offers accountability. Accountability for what? Safety? And they integrate, but with what? And of course, operations systems are important, but what are they?  Is this a hardware, software or services company?

The positioning reality is — this is an educational smart card company. The other stuff are bells, whistles and features. Oy.

And. It will get you every time.

Peace.