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Repetition is a good thingRepetition is a good thing
January 31, 2022

Repetition is a good thing

Hey πŸ‘‹

I hope you're doing well.

I'm still in Mexico (where I'll be spending English winters from now on). You're all welcome to join me.

There's something about this place (probably the sun or something in the water) that makes me feel really inspired, the perfect frame of mind for writing these emails πŸ‘Œ

This week I'm going to cure your fear of repetition and teach you to LOVE repetition (see, it's great).

The Thinking

Have you ever noticed how unafraid some brands are of repeating themselves?

They're relentless in telling their story, shouting about what they're doing from the rooftops and doing so Every. Single. Day.


Because they know that repetition causes stickiness, and stickiness is what grows brands.

What the hell is stickiness?

Stickiness is simply getting stuck in your customer's mind.

It means being their go-to for X as soon as they realise they need X.

They need affordable furniture β€” IKEA

They want a cheap burger β€” McDonald's

They want a high-performance electric car β€” Tesla

I could go on, but you get it.

Stickiness is especially important if your customers don't generally buy from you straight away. Maybe they're looking at many different brands and weighing up their choices. The key is to be the one they remember when they do make a decision.

A good example of this is hotels. If you're booking a hotel, you're probably going to look at more than one, you'll probably end up looking at lots, but there will be a few that stick in your mind for whatever reason. Be the one that sticks. Nail stickiness.

Why is repetition important?

Firstly, it's highly unlikely that people will see/remember your message the first time you share it. Think about your own social media experience; how often do you see and read every post from the people/brands you follow?

And this is true for huge brands with millions of people following them, so how important do you think repetition is for brands just getting started?!

Secondly, as the saying goes, customers need to see/interact with a brand over 7 times before they feel they can trust and buy from them.

7 times.

That doesn't mean 1 Instagram post (that only 0.1% of your audience will see) to tell your entire brand story. That means social posts, emails, articles, flyers, posters, digital ads that tell customers who you are, what you do and why they should care, over and over again.

Finally, you're speaking to a marching army, not a captive audience. Each time you put your message out into the world, different people will see it. There are constantly new potential customers joining your target market who know nothing about your brand and how you can help them. Remember this.

Why do we find repetition so hard?

Firstly, as humans, it's natural to fear repeating ourselves. We've all used the phrase" stop me if I've told you this already", but as brands, we need to fight that instinct and repeat, repeat, repeat.

Secondly, we take the things we know for granted. We assume everyone knows everything there is to know about our brand because there's an about page on our website, and we've been over this stuff a million times in our heads. But creation takes far more effort and attention to detail than consumption. If we've written a blog post, we go into huge detail, we make sure it's perfect, but most readers will skim it at best and only read the headline at worst.

You probably don't love repetition just yet, and you're still concerned that you'll bore your customers to death if you just repeat the same message over and over again.

Well, you're right, you will. That's why you need this email.

There's a secret to getting repetition right, and I'm about to share it.

But just before we go any further, let's make sure we're all on the same page...

Repetition is not consistently telling people to buy from you without giving them good reason. I know you know that but I just had to make it crystal clear before we continue.


The Practical (the secret)

You need levels. Yes, levels.

Not the exciting secret you were hoping for, I know, but levels are THE KEY.

There are three levels of repetition:

  1. Repeating the same phrase (high)
  2. Repeating the same ideas (medium)
  3. Repeating aligned but slightly different ideas each time (low)

You need all three for brand success.

Repetition causes stickiness, and stickiness is what you want, remember.

The more consistently you express an idea, the more likely it is to stick in the minds of your customers and the stronger the association between your brand and the idea becomes.

Repeating an exact phrase creates the most stickiness, BUT it can become too repetitive, and it certainly lacks depth. This is why it's important to use a mix of all three levels.

So how do you use levels to get repetition right?

How to repeat yourself without sounding repetitive:

Level 1:

Shorten your message into one single phrase that you can use across all of your marketing collateral in the form of a tagline or even hashtag that can become synonymous with your brand. Use it as a hashtag on all your social media content but don't just keep repeating the phrase on its own.

For example: Nike's 'Just Do It'

Level 2:

Repeat this message/idea in different ways to give it depth. This can take the simple form of storytelling on social media or writing email newsletters that bring that idea to life. On a bigger scale, it can be done through campaigns that push the same message but from a unique angle.

For example: Nike's 1988 campaign with Walt Stack, or their" Love Me or Hate Me" campaign with Kobe Bryant.

Level 3:

Use different messages/ideas that relate to your core brand message to give your message even more depth, credibility and longevity. Telling stories that relate to your brand message but are not so direct gives you the opportunity to show people your brand isn't one dimensional.

For example: Nike spotlight those making a difference in the world through sport, but this takes many different formats, and they don't push their 'Just do it' slogan at every chance they get because the single message of that story is more important.

Now it's your turn. Think about your brand message and work out your three levels of repetition.

Reply to this email if you need some help.



Why you should repeat yourself a lot. [Tomasz Tunguz]

Why great leaders repeat themselves. [American Express]


Brands who repeat themselves

Like I said 😜, repetition is a good thing. So, who's doing it well?

No matter your mission, in the same way you repeat your efforts to achieve it, you need to repeat your message and keep telling your story.

Two brands that do this brilliantly are:

Self Care Co.

Self Care Co is on a mission to end mental health stigma. They talk a lot about self-care, being kind to yourself and mental health in general. Their main product is candles, but they also sell 'Be Kind' t-shirts that they have become known for. They've owned that phrase, and it works in multiple ways, e.g. be kind to yourself, be kind to others and be kind to the planet.

Level 1: Be kind.

Level 2. Take care of your mental health, make time for self-care in general (candles, fitness, food, lifestyle)

Level 3: Be kind to the world around you (other people, the planet, other living creatures)

See it in action.


The app lets you share the food you don't need with your neighbours. They're fighting food waste and bringing an entire community of sustainability advocates along for the ride.

Level 1: Share more. Waste less.

Level 2: Help us fight food waste, and here's how to do it.

Level 3: Here's how to reduce waste in other areas of your life, such as plastic, clothing, energy etc.

See it in action.



I'll say it again πŸ˜… repeat yourself.

Some brands do it well, others go too far, but there's a balance to be found as there is with everything in life.

Too much level 1 and you'll put people off; too much level 3, and you'll confuse people.

Find a balance of all three so your customers know why you exist, trust that you mean what you say and understand that you're more than a brand that just does X.

Confidence, trust and depth = a fast-growing brand.



Keep being an outlier πŸ’ͺ

J + K