Updated: Feb 8
How Good Branding and a Brand Strategy Can Prevent It
Are you fumbling your brand and not hitting the goals you want? Here are ten fumbles and tips on what you can do about it. Ultimately, a Brand Strategy and thoughtful Brand Management is the answer.
The Big Ten Fumbles
1. You have no clear direction, plan or plays
Your brand is running amuck. You have no stickability, and customers are leaving for another team. You need something to change but don't know what it is. You've tried everything you know with no results.
Are you taking advantage of your brand's ability to create a fan base? Because a fan base equals more revenue. You don't know how to tap into your customer values and increase brand engagement. You don't take advantage of the discipline of branding and a brand strategy, and your brand runs amuck.
A brand and the value of branding are often undervalued and misunderstood. Develop a better understanding of the power of your brand and the multidimensional facets and magic behind it. And the impact your Brand and Branding efforts have on your revenue.
Try a Brand Audit to find if your current brand efforts and elements accurately reflect your brand.
Develop a written Brand Strategy and Brand Management Plan that includes internal and external research. Branding is the pull. Marketing is the push. If possible, Branding and a Brand Strategy should precede and underlie any strategic marketing effort. If not, combine both strategic efforts with branding being the guiding light.
Distill and clarify the heart of your brand: Brand DNA, Leadership GPS, values, personality, brand attributes, associations, and messages. name, logo, style, symbols, graphics, look, feel, colors, and sensory connection.
The following are other branding fumbles that can be avoided with a thoughtful Brand Strategy and Brand Management.
2. Your employees don't understand your purpose. Do you?
You're not sure how your purpose applies to your company's brand. Maybe you're not sure of your purpose in general.
Purpose is the pull of our nature; some say it's the pull of the soul. It's not what you do; rather, it's why you do your job. As a leader, your purpose is the heartbeat of your brand, the unique magic that makes you different, and what drives your achievements.
Harvard Business School "believes that the process of articulating your purpose
and finding the courage to live it—what we call purpose to impact—
is the single most important development l task you can undertake as a leader."
Galvanize your organization behind a purpose, engage more customers, and positively impact your revenue.
Motivate and help employees use purpose in their decision-making. Purpose adds direction as they make the little decisions moment-by-moment. Those little decisions and actions over time have a tremendous impact.
Defining and sharing your purpose is not easy. Harvard Business School says, "we've found that fewer than 20% of leaders have a strong sense of their own individual purpose." However, defining and articulating your leadership purpose can give you an advantage and make the difference between good and great brands.
Learn more about how to uncover your purpose and what drives you.
Check out Purpose-Driven Brands, or If You're Searching for Purpose, Ask Yourself These 5 Questions.
Over the past 10 years, brands with meaning (purpose)
have outperformed the stock market by up to 206% - Havas Group
Having a purpose doesn't necessarily make you purposeful. Acting on purpose is what counts. And a Brand Strategy can keep you on your path.
3. You fail to stand out from the crowd.
What's your big draw?
Do you fail to understand your key customers? Do you fail to understand what keeps them up at night? What distinguishes you from your competitors? You look and sound like everyone else. Is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) obvious? Do you need some help?
DIY (do it yourself) is not always the best play.
Research your targets; find out their needs, motivation and drivers.
Determine your USP. Avoid interceptions, do competitive research, find a niche that no one owns, and create a new one or products that serve your customer's needs.
Dig deep into your leadership GPS: your purpose, vision, your story. Share the things that matter to you.
How Strong is your brand? >> Take the Brand Quiz
4. You market to everyone.
This is a yellow flag.
Do you want to market to a packed stadium or your VIP section? Not all products fit all needs. You can't be everything to everyone…unless, of course, you have a 10 trillion marketing budget. Painfully, you want to believe all targets are equal because you don't want to lose out on any revenue opportunity. You don't have the time to research your targets and readjust your priorities.
How many times did you run a campaign and didn't get the results you expected?
Develop a market segmentation strategy that organizes and prioritizes your customers. Base your segmentation on a combination of demographic, psychographic and behavioral traits, which allows you to best relate and communicate with them.
Prioritizing your target audience will give your business a better shot at survival, make your product or service more memorable, and make your message more laser-like.
5. You've lost revenue, and you're losing the game.
You don't know why. Have you kept your profits and prices low, so you don't lose customers and hope to capture more? You are hanging on by a thread and are barely making ends meet. Your competition is killing you. Do you need to do something else?
Is losing money the best play?
Develop a Brand Promise.
Give your customers more value. Learn more about how you can serve your customers; give a little something extra, provide more options and improve your customer service.
Perhaps the reason price is all your customers care about is
that you haven't given them anything else to care about. - Seth Godin
Strong, value-driven relatable brands can command a premium price.
68% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and
services from a brand known to offer
good customer service experiences. - HubSpot
6. Your brand looks and feels inconsistent.
Your brand looks scattered. You're confusing people. You can't decide on the right look, and don't use consistent design, colors or imagery. It just looks terrible.
You're missing a revenue-generating opportunity.
What causes brand confusion?
Some common problems are fluctuating design, bizarre colors, and off-target images. Inconsistent design looks unprofessional and demonstrates that you are sloppy and don't seem to care about how you take care of business.
Consistency breeds trust and improves visibility. - Laurie Rinker
Establish a branded design, colors, and images based on your brand strategy.
Create a set of Brand Guidelines. Ensure your teams, partners, the press, and influencers know what they are and that they're readily accessible.
Get an edge on your competition: Lucid Press found "69% of companies report that brand guidelines are not widely adopted or don't exist at all."
Share your brand design consistently across all channels, media and content.
If you consistently present your brand regardless of the platform,
7. Your brand messages are all over the field.
They're not even playing the same game.
Your brand messages are a tangled mess; they're inconsistent and are all over the field.
Your brand essence and your USP/point of difference change with each platform, content, social media or ad. Your customers are not clear who you are, what you stand for, what you offer or what makes you unique.
Do you have messages that are consumer-relevant, thoughtfully developed or delivered?
Salespeople have to wing it. They have to make up their own USP and competitive messages for the brand, and they may not be on target.
Go through the thoughtful stages of a Brand Strategy. Do competitive research and position your brand to develop strong on-brand differentiated messages.
Enhance your company's story to make it more engaging so customers care.
Connect with your customer on shared values. Voice your stand on important issues, such as community service, sustainability, or purpose. However, when connecting your company to something, make sure it links back to your brand identity.
Create a Collection of Brand Statements & Messages, add them to your Brand Guidelines, and get them to your people.
Apply your key messages and content consistently and creatively through all content, platforms and media
77 % of consumers buy from brands
who share the same values as they do. - Havas Group
8. Your team doesn't high-five your brand.
Your leadership and the employees are not on the same "brand page." Employees and management have different views of the brand essence, what to say, and how to deliver the customer-expected brand service or product.
Your team does not know the plays.
Only 48% of employees believe their leadership team,
corporate communications, HR and marketing departments
all speak about their brand with a unique voice.
Customer service is siloed and has no connection with brand management. The employees are not empowered to deliver the brand without heavy management support.
78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.
Brands in the United States lose about $41 billion annually
due to poor customer service. - Helpscout
Develop a brand alignment plan as part of your brand strategy.
Create brand training to motivate all employees to embrace and deliver the brand, especially those on the front line, including sales and customer service.
Create standards and metrics that guide and track your employee advocates and team on delivering on-brand messages, products and services.
9. You don't walk your talk.
You don't keep your word. You don't offer a brand promise.
Customers don't know what they can expect from you. You leave a trail of broken promises.
Customer and employee trust is a huge issue.
The brand promise is one of the most critical factors impacting the success of a brand. It's a commitment you make to your customer paid off with every experience.
The highest-performing companies in Gallup's database
deliver on their brand promise 75% of the time, according to their customers.
Develop a simple brand promise you can consistently deliver. The brand promise should be customer-centric, value-driven, compelling, truthful, and unique.
Get a Brand Audit.
Train the entire team on the brand and the brand promise. Engaged employees bring the brand promise to life and consistently deliver meaningful customer experiences.
When a promise is kept, trust is developed. This trust is not won in grand gestures; instead, it's gained in small, consistent, meaningful increments.
Read More: Are You Keeping Your Brand Promise?
These companies have greater levels of customer engagement,
which enables them to surpass their competitors in terms of share of wallet,
profitability, revenue and relationship growth." - Gallup's database
Candidates don't see anything special or "cool" about the company.
Employees are not trained on the brand. They don't understand the value of the brand essence and how to talk about it.
Employee Turnover is high. You've developed a bad reputation for turnover because morale is poor, and there are no emotionally aligning factors, so employees don't refer and bring on friends and like-minded candidates
Employee Referral Programs can attract and secure the right talent.
"Referral programs used by companies such as Google, Fiverr, and Accenture
attract between 40% and 60% of company employees."
With a clear Brand Strategy for Employee Branding, organizations can turn their employees into influential brand ambassadors and recruiters. Presently, Career Arc states, "69% of employers are working on employer branding strategies with their marketing teams."
Encourage employees to share company brand messages and content through their personal social media outlets.
With brand training, motivated employees can drive the right customer experience, are more likely to improve employee loyalty, and contribute to controlling the brand's reputation management.
Stanford University says, "the retention rate of employees gained through referrals is 35% higher than that of employees hired through external channels."
Take the Next Step with a Brand Strategy
Ultimately a thoughtfully developed and well-researched Brand Strategy, coupled with well-crafted design, impeccable implementation, and strong brand management, will drive your revenues.
"Brand launches or re-launches typically achieve
15-25% greater growth."
Brands That Deliver™ and Laurie Pillings Rinker, a brand-driven marketing strategist.
Laurie is a consultant, author, speaker, podcaster, and Principal of Brands That Deliver™. Clients hire her to clarify, define, and transform their brands and revenue using her step-by-step process. After refining the brand and implementing the strategy, she and her team develop successful brand-driven marketing programs while encouraging social good.
You can reach Laurie at BrandsThatDeliver.com