My return to Ontario driving (especially busy Highway 401 driving) has been quite terrifying. In the Ontario Drivers Handbook, it looks like the approach is the same as European driving – slow traffic stays on the right, faster cars pass on the left.  The reality on highway 401 is very different, annoying and scary.

My part of Highway 401 is a mostly-three-lane highway between west Toronto and the Kitchener area. This part of the “golden horseshoe” is very busy with HGV (trucks) traffic. There are lots of onramps and offramps.

The result:

Left lane: heavy traffic with people who think they’re going a reasonably fast speed.

Middle lane: trucks

Right lane: emptyish, except for entering and exiting traffic

Emptyish lanes on the right means people who are annoyed with trucks in the middle and too many cars in the left passing lane, weave in and out of the right hand lane to pass all the trucks. In Europe this is illegal. In Ontario it’s just normal. For me it’s no fun.

What does this have to do with brands? Multi-product brands have systems with their websites, URLs, naming, sizing, labelling etc. When anybody in a company or a vendor feels like independently introducing a microsite with a different URL (because they don’t like the normal website) or make up their own name for a product because they don’t like the officially chosen one , they’re messing with the system, and the thing gets jammed up, crashed up, an stressed out. Like Highway 401.

Some call these people go-getters. Some call them impatient. I call them right-laners. On the road and in brand management, right-laners think they’re getting somewhere fast, but they’re bugging people (as well as causing lots of accidents, road, brand or otherwise).

Driving makes me grumpy, as you may have noticed.

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. George, I have identified a similar, and similarly-maddening, roads situation here in Australia. It drives (no pun intended) me crazy. Hope the move back to Canada has been smooth and a happy homecoming overall. All the best, Nick

  2. Yes, hope all is going well in Canada and you are enjoying it there. And Hi Nick! Hope all is going well for you too in Australia.

    Speaking of messing up systems, brand systems, not liking official rules, and the “i’ll just do it my way” type thinking:
    I bet you have thoughts… 🙂

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Brand Architecture, Brand Design, Organizational Behaviour