Thanks Nic for sharing empowering ideas!
Ten Ways to Kill your Company Branding
Even the most popular brand in the world can be killed. It can be done deliberately or mistakenly. Memorize all ten and if you catch yourself doing any of them, turn it around fast.
Even the most popular brand in the world can be killed. It can be done deliberately or mistakenly. Below are the most common mistakes that kill brands. Memorize all ten and if you catch yourself doing any of them, turn it around fast.
1. INCONSISTENT CORPORATE IDENTITY. A company must use the same name, logo and tag line in every contact inside and outside the company. The company name on the sign out front must match what is on your business card and website. How the phone is answered is important and every way a customer might hear about you should be consistent. Consistent means go wide with your efforts. Branding won't be achieved if you choose to use only one or two marketing avenues to get the word out. (like only radio, or newspaper ads) Your customer must hear and see all your name, logo, tag line and colors consistently over and over and over in many different ways before you are imprinted on your customers mind map.
2. POOR VISUALS (or no visuals). If you want your company name to pop into someone's mind be aware that pictures are more sticky than words. We think in pictures. Have a consistent visual picture and logo that comes to represent your company. For instance when you see the golden arches you know you can get that same consistent hamburger and fries. Create a strong company visual image (logo) and make it known.
3. NOT TRAINING EMPLOYEES. Think of your employees as potentially walking, talking billboards. Pump them up about the name, logo and tag line - train them to be community ambassadors in your marketing campaign. Reward them when you find them doing it right.
4. FAILURE TO TRACK BRANDING EFFORTS. Every time someone calls your company (or franchise, branch office, etc.), the person on the phone should gently probe for how they came to call your company (saw your ad on TV or heard it on the radio,read your press release, attended a seminar last fall, a friend said this was the best place ever, etc.). Record the answers and keep a master list. This data should direct future marketing.
5. NOT USING EXISTING CONSUMERS or CLIENTS FOR BRANDING. Ask your customers or clients if they will join you in getting the word out — ask for their opinion about your products or services, ask them what they think your company's greatest strength is — and ask if you can quote them in brochure or ad which you can then include in your press release.
6. LETTING MARKETING MATERIALS GET STALE. Many businesses make this marketing mistake but it's particularly true for small businesses. They decide to have a company brochure and pay for design and then order 10,000 copies which takes them seven years to use up — but they refuse to get a new brochure until all those are gone! Order smaller amounts and re-do them more frequently (even if much of the same information is used with new graphics). Don't use the same television or radio ad for three years — when your materials are stale, people ignore them and tune out your message.
7. FAILING TO FOCUS BRANDING ON THE CORE SERVICE. If you want your branding to be successful, decide what your one core service is and target your marketing to that primarily. This is why Blockbuster stayed 1 in their field. Their core service is renting movie videos/DVD. They also rent video games, sell candy and have a line or merchandise that goes with the movies (Scoobie-Doo Video can be purchased and so can a stuffed Scoobie-Doo dog). But their marketing is mainly about renting movies -- not candy and popcorn sales.
8. NOT HAVE A TAG LINE THAT IS BELIEVABLE. If you go to J.C. Penny's three times and each time could not find what you are looking for, then you aren't going to believe their tag line: It's all inside. If the tag line doesn't match the reality for you consumer, they will not believe it and they will kill your marketing efforts with negative word-of-mouth comments.
9. FAILING TO "GRAB" THE PUBLIC WITH YOUR TAG LINE. Good tag lines are usually three to six believable words that match your core services AND has great appeal. When Avis came up with "We Try Harder" they were telling the world we know we aren't 1 in the business but man we are going to really try to beat those big guys out. It made American consumers smile because we have all been in the position of trying to beat someone out in one way or another and we support an hard charging underdog. When Wal-Mart came up with "Always lower prices. Always" they were telling us we were going to save money every time we shopped in their store … not just during a sale or blue light special ALWAYS. And then they made sure we did. When Nike came up with "Just Do It" they were telling us to get off our lazy bums and get out there and just do it (in their shoes) — we all know we "should" get out there and do it — they prodded us nicely. When Precision Intermedia came up with "Imagine No Limits" they were telling marketing consumers to think outside of the boundaries of money, location, history, or any barrier you might perceive in your marketing endeavors .. Because if you can imagine it — it can be done.
10. NOT KNOWING WHERE SUCCESSFUL BRANDING STARTS. Successful branding starts inside your company. Only you know your core service. Only you and your staff deliver the message. Talk to your consumers often. Only you can catch an employee being a good ambassador and reward them for it. Only you can insure consistency in use of name, logo, and tag line. Successful branding starts inside your company — it's nurtured there and you can take all the credit for it's success — we provide the tools and tell you precisely how to use them for the most successful branding. We accept no limits and invite you to imagine no limits to making your brand known in your community and beyond.
Learn more about the author, Nic Soto.
Comment on this article
Posted by Ian Ejan, Rancho Cucamonga, California |
Feb 26, 2008
Posted by Sachiko Miller, Issaquah, Washington |
Jun 04, 2008
Thank you for the good tips. I also provide branding service for my clients, and these are very important point! Thank you.
Posted by Jen Grisanti, Los Angeles, California |
Aug 01, 2009
This is an excellent article with very valuable information. Thank you!
Posted by Reg Charie, Courtenay, British Columbia Canada |
Mar 23, 2010
Very good points Nic.
I would like to add one more point.
Making the wrong choice when it comes to promoting the site with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), is often the case.
While important to branding, very few will search for your brand by name.
A graphic artist calling their company 3 Monkeys will have a much harder time getting to the top of the search engine ranks than one using the domain name packaging-graphics.com
When you build your brand you can do it by using a keyword rich domain name with the keywords being relevant to your product. This will help to assure the site of top Google listings as Google prefers keyword rich domain names.
Once the visitors are at your site your logo and tag-line should drive your brand home.
A 2nd domain name can be purchased with your brand as the URL and forwarded. This will give you all the benefits of both avenues of attack.
Best of luck all. Reg
Posted by Tad Dobbs, Trophy Club, Texas |
May 06, 2010
Nic, Great post. I agree completely with everything you've stated, especially point 10. If the company culture doesn't support the brand then you can't expect your target market to buy it.
Posted by Monty Fuller, West Sussex, Chichester United Kingdom |
Jan 13, 2012
Tapping on existing consumers is extremely important, and their quotes/testimonials are often very impactful for your branding. Of course, their cooperation should be rewarded with useful promotional gifts, which when used, are again walking billboards that can help market your brand.
Monty - Business
Posted by Chas Wyatt, Gladstone, Oregon |
Jan 16, 2012
I guess Nic left Biznik; still, a great article. With the advent of the internet, attention spans are shorter and everything is more about visuals(witness the number of infographics in place of written articles on major internet media sites). Of course, the same argument was made about television. Try flying Virgin Airlines- their branding is about serving their customers and making flight a comfortable experience again(juxtaposed against experiences I have had on their competitors). Branding can go deeper than a logo, color and graphics schemes, or a catchy tag line.
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