Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Near-Sighted Brand

Sometimes I think I should put an branding eye-chart on my website for companies who have a hard time seeing the truth about their brands. If they were only 20/20 they'd be able to take on the competition from a leadership position and have clarity in their actions. If these 5 observations leave you squinting then maybe it's time you addressed your branding optics:

1) "It's not time to address my brand as we're too busy. When things slow down a bit, maybe we can do something."  The time to address branding deficiencies is now. Waiting only compounds problems and when a slow down occurs, companies are more likely to follow the leader than adopt a long term strategy than leads. Because branding addresses the entire corporate experience, striking while the iron is hot, not only emboldens you but invigorates the whole stake-holder group.

2)  "I do so many things - how can I not promote them all?" The rule is the more services you promote the more it costs you. Going to the door with one strong message is not only more powerful but it allows your prospect to differentiate you from the rest of the pack. Focusing on the one core service that makes the money makes you the leader in that area. Once you get through the door, then it's the time to expose the prospect to everything else that makes you great.

3) If you've got a different logo on your building, your vehicles, your branded attire or your stationary and website then you've got an identity problem. Your only option here is to corral all of your images and decide on one that speaks to who your brand is. Maintaining the status quo will only make your prospects cross-eyed and think that maybe you own multiple companies.

4) Ignoring the professional image. When ever I see home-printed brochures and business cards, amateur logos, static websites and absentee sales efforts - I am dumbfounded as to the person's lack of respect for themselves and their brand. At the alter of cheap, these brands tell prospects that they are not leaders. If they don't respect their brands enough to put their best foot forward, what harm might they do a customer who gives them an opportunity? Sales are hard enough without making it more difficult than it has to be.

5) When new brands strike amazing success they do so because they have outstanding brand values. Staying true to these values keeps the brand on-track. But if it comes to pass that the brand is careening out of control and headed for disaster, then chances are good that it has failed to live up to those original brand values and has tried to cut corners. Stakeholders can never forget what the brand stands for. It's not enough to just say it but they must live it - forever.

If these situations look like some people's brands that you know - make them aware of this article. It beats getting bottle glass spectacles.
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