Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Is This a Branding Problem?

I have been a brand strategy consultant for 18 years and have worked with over 200 brands. And I have been approached by many other brand owners who were seeking help. Here is a dirty little secret - not all of the problems I have been asked to solve as a brand consultant have been branding problems. 

While seventy to eighty percent of the time, the problems have been branding problems, the rest of the time they have been other problems that the management teams thought could be solved by repositioning their brands or giving their brands new identities.

Here are the other types of problems that I have uncovered in the course of my brand strategy consulting:

  • Inferior products
  • Sub-par business models
  • Significant flaws in customer service training
  • A divisive CEO
  • Extreme management team in-fighting
  • A toxic organizational culture
  • Disruptive technologies that have made their products obsolete
  • Customer-facing computer systems that undermine delivery against the brand promise

And even if the problem is a brand-related problem, when asked to refresh the brand's identity, often the problem extends well beyond a brand identity problem. These are some of the brand-related problems that I frequently encounter:
  • An out-of-control and confusing brand architecture due to multiple mergers and acquisitions
  • A unique value proposition that is no longer unique in the industry
  • A "me too" product and brand strategy
  • Poor brand identity controls
  • A lack of understanding of the customer and his or her needs
  • Market share being taken away by an increasing number of niche brands
  • Focusing too much on functional needs rather than emotional, experiential or self-expressive needs
  • Inefficient and ineffective marketing spending
  • Marketing department skill set gaps
  • Incompetent marketers
  • Poorly performing marketing agency partners
  • Need to recover from a brand crisis
  • Inadequate marketing spending and extremely low brand awareness
  • Salesforces running amuck in improperly positioning or messaging their brands to make a sale
  • Inconsistent positioning of brands across geographic markets
  • Brand extension failures
  • Inconsistent target markets for the same brand
  • Financial decisions that substantially compromise the customer brand experience

So when someone jumps to the conclusion that a new logo is required to revive the brand, dig deeper. The problem is likely to the much more complicated than that.

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