After thirty years experience in brand management and marketing, I have directly advised more than 150 brands (with The Blake Project) and indirectly advised (through educational workshops, Just Ask responses, pro bono work, etc.) more than twice that number. That is to say, I have dealt with many brands’ problems in one way or another. Here is my observation of the twenty most common brand problems.
- No one in the organization has a solid understanding of the brand’s consumers or their needs.
- The brand does not stand for anything and it does not promise anything. It is just a name and a logo.
- The brand touts a clichéd, unsubstantiated, meaningless point of difference (such as, we are the quality leader or the service leader or the innovation leader or, worst of all, just the leader).
- Brand messaging is helter-skelter. That is, it varies by audience, message vehicle, campaign, etc.
- A crisis occurs that reinforces that the brand was never really serious about its promise.
- The brand becomes a “whipping boy” for some social issue. Special interest groups that disagree with the brand’s policies target the brand for attack.
- There is little to no awareness of the brand in the marketplace. This could be because it is a start-up brand or because it is new to the specific geographic market.
- The brand’s less than stellar perceptions are due to product problems. The product may have quality problems or be inferior to its competitors’ products in other ways.
- Internal politics and organizational dysfunction lead to brand and customer service dysfunction.
- The brand and the organization behind it have rested on their laurels for far too long, not keeping up with consumer needs and industry innovations.
- The CEO and the leadership team do not understand brand management and do not support it.
- Every time the economy slows, marketing budgets are slashed, leaving the brand vulnerable.
- Every time a new brand manager arrives, that individual changes the brand or its marketing campaign, whether changes are needed or not.
- Growth pressures have forced the brand into new products or services that blur the meaning of the brand.
- Brand extensions have repositioned the core brand in a negative light.
- The brand has pursued a series of price increases at a rate that far exceeds inflation.
- Continual cost cutting due to retailer pressures has resulted in an inferior brand that no longer is demanded by consumers.
- The organization proliferates brands and sub-brands with no clear differentiation or consumer targeting.
- The brand’s architecture is completely confused.
- The brand’s identity is presented inconsistently in different contexts, media, vehicles and situations.
What brand problems have you observed?
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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education