Managing your brand is not always an easy thing. It’s like trying to wrangle an unruly pet – there are times when you think you are in control, but really, at the end of the day, you’re the one on your hands and knees cleaning up it’s mess. But, there are many ways you can take control of your brand and make it do what you want.
There are many articles and experts who tell you what you should do, but few tell you what you should NOT do. By being more aware of these pitfalls, you can avoid them, and truly push your brand forward.
1. Releasing Bad Products
Crystal Pepsi. New Coke. Segway. Windows 8. These products are quite memorable to many people – and for all the wrong reasons. These products had big names behind them, companies that were darlings of consumers and Wall Street, but that didn’t mean they were immune to bad publicity. Many of these products weren’t terrible (except maybe if you ask soda enthusiasts), but they just weren’t fantastic. For all the hubbub and marketing blitz that followed them, they simply could not deliver.
The Segway, for example, was just too expensive and wasn’t really much more convenient or faster than walking. Google Glass was too gimmicky and had many privacy issues surrounding it. While it may seem basic, do not release any product before it is ready (especially if you want to avoid customers meltdowns like those who tried to upgrade to Windows 8).
2. Take Attention Away from the Original Idea
There are many ways to gain attention today – from viral videos to gimmicky events. However, before you sign off any ideas that can help create buzz, try to evaluate if this can help or hurt your overall long-term marketing and branding efforts. You don’t want these gimmicks and stunts taking away attention from your original product or idea. While these can spark interest, this may be short-term and work against you in the long run.
People may expect you to go bigger and bigger each time and any disappointment may turn them against you. In all your efforts, your messaging must be consistent across the board. Your customer insight is crucial and must be your main goal, in order to further your brand.
3. Ignore Your Competitors
Many companies focus their attention on finding their customers – and rightly so. After all, they provide the cash that flows through your coffers. However, you must also look at the other side; that is, your competitors. While business is not a gladiator stadium where you must fight competitors to the death, ignoring them can have just as fatal consequences (for your company.)
Competitor research is important, so you can get ahead of the game. Try to become familiar with their products and services. Engage your customers as well and try to determine what they like and don’t like about the competition. You may discover more about yourself once you look from the outside.
4. Ignoring Your Online Brand
The Internet and Social Media is a great tool for almost any company – not only is it practically free, but you can gain so much mileage from a single tweet or YouTube video. However, social media is also a double-edged sword. Like a virus, you often cannot control the spread of both good and bad publicity. On the Internet, everything is pretty much fair game, but if you put effort into it, you can take control of your brand online.
The first thing you should do, especially if you’re a new business and before you launch, is to take control of your online handles and profiles. Register your FaceBook page, Twitter handle, Reddit username, Instragram name and hashtag and whatever else social media site you can use. Try to engage your customers online properly. Treat them as you would if they were right in front of you, and even better. Anything and everything you put on the Internet lasts practically forever. One wrong word or tweet can destroy your reputation online.
Wrangling your brand can be difficult, but it can be done. There are many things you should do to keep your brand consistent and keep it in your customer’s minds. However, there are also pitfalls you need to be aware of, so you can avoid them. That way, you control your brand, instead of having it control you.
- No one is immune to pitfalls and dangers of brand management. Learn about them and avoid them.
- Don’t release products before they are ready. Don’t take away attention from the original idea.
- Don’t ignore competitors. Don’t ignore your online presence.
Joshua Beam is a full-time freelance writer based in Northern Oregon. He blogs about Branding & marketing for Brand IQ. He finished his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina with a degree in Marketing and spent one year as an exchange student with ESCP Europe at their Paris campus. After working for a large, multinational company, he went back to school, getting his MBA from the Hult International School of Business in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Currently, he is a business owner and a freelance copywriter too. He lives with his partner of ten years, Jen and their son Cody.