Monday, February 9, 2015

Brand Schizophrenia

While brands should not be monolithic, one-dimensional or static entities, neither should they be something different at every turn. Complexity and nuance can work, as can an evolving personality. However, standing for something different from one medium to the next or from one customer to the next borders on schizophrenia. An inconsistent brand voice borders on the same, as does an inconsistent brand identity or message. 

How does this happen? Are your brand's marketing efforts divided into silos? Is advertising separate from promotion? Does someone else handle selling scripts or trade show booths? How about social media? Who handles package design? Who handles store signage? Does your brand use different marketing agencies for different needs? Do you allow a decentralized sales force to create marketing pieces for your brand? Do you have frequent turnover or promotion on your marketing staff?

What mechanisms have you created to insure consistency? Do you have a widely understood and accepted brand positioning statement? Is there consensus on your brand's archetype, personality, voice and visual style? Do you communicate all of this in every agency brief?  Do you have a brand identity review board? How about a digital asset management system? Do you measure your brand's equity on a regular schedule? Is someone responsible for your brand's management? Does everyone in your organization know what your brand stands for and what its promise is? Do you integrate brand strategy training into all employee training? 

I hope you are not creating a schizophrenic brand. People don't know what to expect of schizophrenic brands. They can't trust schizophrenic brands. And, most importantly, it is difficult for them to encode any association with schizophrenic brands into their brains as the associations are constantly changing. Say "yes" to layered, nuanced brands that have a strong point of view and a consistent promise and message. Say "no" to brands that act as though they have multiple identities and personalities. 


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