Brands are in a state of constant change, evolving and adapting to new conditions around them and responding to the changes in their marketplace.
Because of this, brands are always working to balance where they’ve come from, where they are and where they are going. With so many conflicting demands, it is very easy for you to lose focus on your brand’s core identity.
Here are a few pointers that might indicate that this is happening and what you can do about it.
Everybody in the organisation has forgotten what the brand stands for
If management and staff can’t clearly explain why your company exists, what it is your company does, how it does it and who it does it for, the chances are your brand is losing focus.
When you’re busy, brand maintenance is something that doesn’t seem necessary. But over time, this creates a lack of brand understanding which will make it increasingly difficult for you to communicate with customers old, new and potential – what it is that differentiates you from your competition.
Declining sales are the first indicator that something is amiss. To avoid the problem altogether introduce measures that make the brand accessible to everybody in the organisation so that everybody understands what the brand stands for.
Employees that understand your point of difference and value proposition can explain it clearly to your customers. And if they get it, they’re far more likely to buy from you, again and again.
Too many things for too many people
All brands are continually developing their products and services to increase sales. The danger lies in offering goods and services that don’t align with your brand aims. Think Apple in the mid-nineties.
A company built on innovation with a brand position of ‘Think Different’ reacted to sluggish sales by producing endless iterations of existing products in various shapes and colours that resulted in a massive inventory that they couldn’t support. Cue disgruntled existing customers, potential clients who couldn’t see the point in changing to Apple and a company that nearly went out of business.
Avoid diversification for the sake of itself. If a product or service that you’re thinking of offering is a poor imitation of the one you already provide (or worse, a product that one of your competitors does), reconsider if it’s in the best interest of your brand to launch it.
Confused and inconsistent messaging
So many channels, platforms, places and times to promote your brand. In this era of communication diversity, you can use as many or as few mediums as you like to communicate with your audience. However, there’s one thing that must always remain consistent. Your brand message.
‘Just do it’. No brand name is even necessary. Nike’s slogan is universally recognised not because of some ‘secret formula’ but because they’ve developed a message that reflects their brand position and applied it consistently everywhere and on everything for decades.
Consistency is the result of a brand sound strategy. Don’t allow tactical considerations to push you in the direction of modifying or changing your key messaging. This will only confuse your target audience and leave them wondering what it is you stand for.
A brand identity that’s parted company with your brand
If you’ve not reviewed your look and feel and compared how you appear to your customers in comparison to your competitors, it might be worth doing so.
If your identity is jaded, old-fashioned and tired that’s how your customers will perceive you.
Fortunately, a refreshed logo, a re-engineered colour palette, a modern font and some contemporary photography might be all that’s needed to bring your existing brand identity up to speed. This can be done quickly, easily and at a reasonable cost.
Finally, any growth strategy that is reliant upon back-to-back special offers and discounts will eventually undermine your brand position by commoditising what it is you offer and should be avoided.
Resist altogether the temptation to overhaul your brand and imitate what your competition is doing. Concentrate on what sets you apart and distinguishes you. Don’t waste time trying to be like somebody else when it pays to simply be yourself.
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