Brand vs. Brand vs. Local Brand

Every new customer goes through a decision process. And the first decision is “Where do I buy?” The answer to that question is determined by the strength of the brands in consideration. Whether or not you get a chance at the business is determined by the strength of your brand.

It’s a competition between brands to win that first decision. Let’s see how that plays out. In this little exercise, I’m pitting two big brands against one local brand in the pest control business.


A potential customer decides he needs an exterminator and begins the hunt for a business to fill that need. What he sees, and this is true for almost every industry, is a vast, indistinguishable landscape of commodity businesses promising mostly the same thing: quality service, free estimates, a guarantee. In my local service area of Waco, Texas there are about 40 pest control businesses mostly promising these same things. Who gets the business, or at least wins its way into the decision process?

The pest control business that contrasts itself from a sea of commodity choices gets a customer’s attention. That contrast starts with you brand’s promise.

Potential Customer: “Yes, I know you offer quality service, a free estimate and a guarantee, but everybody does. What else?”

Let’s check our three competing brands websites to see if they have a brand promise that sticks out.


Terminex Website

Two things stick out on the Terminex website. First, their feature video which promises:
“We can help you get them before they get to you.”

Second, their tagline:
Power over pests.

Those two things together imply a promise of personal control over pests. While maybe not the strongest promise, it is definitely a contrast from the other choices.



Nothing much sticks out as a brand promise from the BugsDotCom website. They do have a link to a knowledge center and a “Bugapedia,” which implies a promise of education along with pest control. But that requires a lot of dot-connecting by the customer.

The lack of a tagline is a serious brand deficiency for BugsDotCom. In a highly competitive, commodity industry, a tagline is a powerful brand communication tool. It communicates your brand’s personality and promise in just a few seconds.
For more on taglines, see this article –  Taglines: When the Brand Name Doesn’t Promise

Eagle Pest Control


The tagline, “Don’t Tolerate Exterminate” is prominent on the website and offers a contrasted brand promise. It hints of the old Raid bug spray campaign of “Kills Bugs Dead.” While it does offer some differentiation from the other local choices, it could be stronger. After all, isn’t it Eagle’s job to exterminate pests?

Unfortunately, Eagle is also saddled with a website that looks like it was built in 1999. Visual brand representation makes a difference when there is no strong differentiation between brands.

Who wins the customer choice in this
Brand vs. Brand vs. Local Brand?

Most likely Terminex. They have the most differentiated brand promise. It’s also a promise that customers would care about. A homeowner often feels helpless against a pest control problem and Terminex promises “power over pests.”

Does Your Brand Win vs. Brand?

Are you winning your way into the customer decision process? It starts with a brand promise that is contrasted from the sea of your commodity competition. Take some time to analyze your brand promise and see what customers think you will deliver beyond your product or service. Then develop a tagline that clearly communicates your brand’s promise with a dash of personality.

Does your brand win?

See my complete series of articles on Brand Building to Build Your Business.
Part 1: It’s Never Just a Marketing Issue
Part 2: Define Your Brand
Part 3: Taglines: When the Brand Name Doesn’t Promise

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