Start-ups and small businesses are just as prone to sabotaging their brand as are the biggest global corporations. Some branding fails are PR nightmares while others dissolve a company quickly and quietly.
Businesses are so eager to jump to the execution of their brand that they skip over a step or two to get there. And sadly, these costly mistakes can kill a brand—and even its company—completely.
But you can’t build a brand by dwelling on the mistakes. Let’s recognize the mistakes for what they are and then focus on how to turn things around so that your brand succeeds.
Think of a brand story as the front door to your brand. It’s the entryway of the brand experience for your customer-to-be in what you hope develops into a loyal fanbase.
Start with what you know. Why does your brand exist? How does your brand contribute to the world? What is your brand’s mission? What motivated your team to launch this brand?
Consumers connect with stories that resonate with them. People want to be passionate about something, so give them a reason to share in yours.
You Don’t Understand the Playing Field
Every brand has competition. Even if you believe that your brand is unique and unlike those conventional companies, your competition is still those squares.
So take the time to dissect everything. What is their brand’s story, voice, tone, personality? How are they marketing their brand? How are they selling their brand? How do they set themselves apart from their competition? What is their user experience from first discovery to loyal customer?
Most importantly, where are they successful are where are they falling flat?
Size yourself up to your competition so that you can strategize how to differentiate your brand and how to take on tactics that you know are proven to succeed.
Your Brand Reinvents Itself Too Often
Your brand is not Madonna. She’s already called dibs on the reinventing-myself-with-every-new-release brand.
It also sends the wrong message to your customers. How can your customer have confidence in your brand if you keep shifting who your brand is?
Have confidence in who your brand is and what your brand sells. Focus on your brand’s values and your target audience, not on slapping a fresh coat of paint on the walls.
You Fall Short on Expectation
Your brand is a summary of a promise to your customers. And when you don’t deliver on that promise, customers tend not to trust your brand or stay loyal to it.
So don’t make promises you can’t keep. Seems simple, right?
Brands often make grandiose claims because they make headlines, not because they’re good on making good on them. But when the glitter of the press fades, so does their consumer base.
Instead, focus on the experience your brand can deliver and how that can resonate with your target audience. Brand fans choose to stay loyal to a consistent, reliable experience because they like brands they can trust.
Your Team Isn’t Behind the Brand
We have a company value where I work called “living the brand.” And because of it, my peers are committed to the brand beyond a simple understanding of what the brand means.
We embody the brand’s personality. We are more mindful of the choices we make, both at the office and in our personal lives, because we understand how our actions are a reflection of the brand. We identify and empathize with our target audience so deeply that we find ourselves going above and beyond. Everyone shares the goal of maintaining the brand’s values and positive experience because everyone understands that the brand is only as strong as the team behind it.
Is this how you’d describe your team?
If your team isn’t behind the brand, then you don’t have a brand. Your team doesn’t need to be obsessed with the brand, but they (at bare minimum) should have a solid understanding of it. Only then can they have a choice if it’s a brand they can stand behind and promote or if they should walk away.
Evaluate your team. What is their commitment of your brand? Is there anything you can do to strengthen their commitment, be it training, responsibility shifting or increasing their involvement with the brand?
You just may discover key players on your team that could boost your brand’s greatness.