Breaking Brand – How it Happens and How to Fix it
Jonathan Paisner shares the first article in a series of three that highlights the symptoms, causes and cures for a broken brand.
Like the proverbial frog in boiling water, companies generally don’t jump into a brand that is confusing, misaligned, antiquated or irrelevant. But left unchecked, the steady trickle of strategic shifts, shiny new technologies, sub-brands, extensions, acquisitions, special cases and other everyday adaptations can conspire to turn the corporate brand into as much a hurdle as an asset.
So what does it mean when a brand is broken?
In bottom line terms: declining sales; ceding market position to competitors (even some with clearly inferior offerings); doubt in the minds of partners and customers; fewer inbound inquiries AND a lower hit rate when the phone does ring; it can lead to challenges in recruiting; it can foster silos and a disruptive culture; and a range of other symptoms. Safe to say, a broken brand is not conducive to a company’s health and long-term growth.
For all the symptoms of a broken brand, the factors that create these issues can be grouped into three categories: Inattention, Evolution and Age. This article will focus on Inattention. The next two categories will each be discussed in future posts.
Chapter 1: Inattention: The easiest way to lose control of your brand and how to get the control back.
Like anything else, brands suffer with inattention. And, as a brand withers, it sparks a cycle of activity that can hasten further deterioration.
If the corporate brand becomes less relevant, internal teams look to invest in new names or sub-brands at the expense of the corporate brand; or they may leverage partner or ingredient brands in lieu of their own. Or there may simply be a variety of day-to-day communication needs across sales and marketing that an under-resourced brand just doesn’t have the tools to address – so a little cutting, a little pasting, a little resourcefulness and a little modification all team to fill the void, and before long you’ve got something of a brand diaspora.
Symptoms of Inattention
Sub-brand proliferation. For B2B companies – especially those with limited marketing budgets – fewer brands (or even one master brand) drive efficiency in communication and in relationship building or cross-selling. It is simply less practical and efficient for every new product or technology or application to its own name or brand.
Brand dissonance, visually and/or verbally. This can manifest in: multiple formats and styles on PowerPoint slides; sales collateral from different parts of the company looking and sounding very different; internal solution teams looking and sounding like two (or more) separate companies.
Misalignment across sales and marketing messages. At the extreme, marketing is touting the bleeding edge while sales is highlighting applications built on Windows 95.
Key points include:
- Causes of Inattention
- Pruning the brand portfolio
- Actively manage the brand
Read the full article, How do B2B brands get broken?, on BrandExperiencedGroup.com.