Irrational Belief Patterns about Branding That Stop You from EVOLVING In Business
Much like the vision of a company, branding is a subject that is lost on many aspiring and new entrepreneurs. So if you have struggled with developing a compelling brand and making an impact in your industry this could be because you have fallen victim to the following common errors.
As a small business owner, one of the biggest mistakes in business is to choose a name that does not resonate with your target group. Some mistakenly believe that over time, the product will speak for itself or they can change the name at a later date. But what happens if the name becomes too popular or familiar. Don’t create a name in haste, because the name chosen will either make or break your company.
Let’s take Gay Fish Co. Fresh Local Shrimp and Seafood; PMS Firearms Etc; Kidsexchange to name a few. Memorable yes; but for all the wrong reasons. I wonder if these businesses are still operating.
It is important to remember that your brand is your promise to the customer so it’s important that you build a compelling story around your name where the values and attributes of your company are embedded in the heads, heart and soul of your customers. Failure to do so will make it impossible to connect with your target audience, make sales and stay relevant in the market place.
Names matter because your customers have high expectations and when they cannot differentiate you will find yourself beaten by the “generic” brand especially if they feel that quality is not a deciding factor or you are operating in a price sensitive market e.g. clothing, cosmetics, food etc.
Bad Tag Lines
Many marketing specialists argue that you must sell the benefits not the features. So a tag line like “Continuous Quality Improvement” hardly inspires “warm fuzzy emotions” if you are buying beauty products. But if you are in the automotive or engineering sector this would be perfect!
For startups, micro and small business owners here are some of the iconic straplines that you should benchmark your ideas against American Express - Don’t leave home without it; BMW - Sheer driving pleasure; British Airways - The world’s favorite airline; DeBeers - A diamond is forever; Dell Computer – Easy as Dell; Bay – The world’s online marketplace and FedEx - When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight!
Although taglines have been on the decline over the past decade they have been replaced with a 142 character limit thanks to digital technology and social media.
Straying from the Core Product
You may be tempted to change your branding due to a shifting target demographic or the belief that success equates to a massive transformation.
Well, this can be another proverbial death blow to a small business. A sad example here can be seen during the 1980s when Harley Davidson decided to start marketing wine coolers to their audience (not exactly what we would normally picture). Not only was the entire campaign a flop, but they lost a substantial amount of loyal customers along the way.
However, the biggest marketing blunder of all time lays with Coca Cola when they launched New Coke.
The soft drinks war between Pepsi and Coca Cola had made consumers more cola conscious but Pepsi had repositioned itself as a “drink of the youth!” and was beginning to outsell their rivals. The only thing saving Coca Cola was their strong distribution channels.
Faced with slipping to position three in the soft drinks market behind Pepsi; losing out in the Pepsi challenge Coca Cola and more worryingly losing sales to its own label Diet Coke. Something had to be done fast because the executives were getting nervous!
The company launched New Cola and sales went down the plughole. The outrage from core customers made it a newsworthy item due to the backlash. Thankfully for Coke, Pepsi’s reign was short as they came back with Classic Coke and with the major networks following the story and developments, Coke was soon back on to top of sales and positioning!
If you are thinking it’s time to revise and revamp, be careful that you do not stray too far from your core values and ethos. If your customers are emotionally attached to your product and offering, they may feel that you have lost the “heart” of what your product or service represents to your customer.
Consistency is king and remembering this will help you to retain your customers in the long-term.
Finally, these observations may seem apparent, but you would be surprised at how many businesses fall victim to such pitfalls. Branding is the veritable billboard that will equate to your ultimate success or lack thereof. Staying true to your original ethos while appreciating the fact that even the smallest of changes can impeded your business so brand with care. Done well, it will help you to stay on top of your game and thrive in the modern business climate.
If you are interested in getting a brand breakthrough then join Sonia Brown MBE at the Business Breakthrough Seminar taking place on Thursday 21st May at 12:00PM GMT. Book your FREE seat at http://bit.ly/1IDXUxU