As a branding consultant, I am the beneficiary of branding being a high profile area of focus for organizations. We have been invited into hundreds of organizations to help them improve their brand awareness, positioning and perceptions. However, perhaps one out of every five times we are contacted, the primary problem is not a branding problem. Organizations often try to solve other problems with a new name, logo, tagline, “elevator speech,” or brand marketing campaign when the problem really lies elsewhere.
What are the sorts of problems that we encounter? First, business model problems. The organization is approaching its business or its customers in an unproductive or unprofitable way. Second, leadership problems. The leader gets in the organization’s way, creates a toxic culture or is leading the organization in a direction that will not achieve the intended results. Third, systems problems. Computer or human systems are working against the ideal customer experience, despite the organization’s best intentions. Fourth, business development/sales problems. I have encountered organizations in which the salespeople were pursuing the wrong customers or the right customers in unproductive ways or just plain scaring customers away. Fifth, product or service problems. I have worked with organizations that were trying to market products or services that no longer met customer needs or that were otherwise no longer competitive in the marketplace.
When I encounter these types of situations, as the retained consultant, I share my assessment of the underlying problem and recommend solutions. Often the organization listens to what I have to say and initiates other projects to solve the underlying problem. But some organizations turn a deaf ear and demand a new name or logo to solve the problem.