They’re soggy and sink to the bottom of the bowl – fast. Nobody sets out to deliberately crush their brand, but it can happen so easily if you don’t stay on task. To keep your brand crisp, fresh with vitality no matter what the challenge – NEVER relax your branding efforts. It’s an evolving, unified process that never stops.
Following are ten things to avoid at all costs if you don’t want to become a ‘Brand Flake’. Don’t sink to the bottom of the bowl when you can rise to the top with a bit of healthy know-how and good taste.
1. A WISHY-WASHY BRAND IDENTITY
A fluctuating brand identity won’t cut it. Consistency is the key. Your name must be seen and heard often. Your name, logo, tag line, line and graphics must be the same everywhere – inside and outside. Explore marketing channels and spread the word. It takes time and repetition to be remembered.
2. HO HUM, BORING VISUALS
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the impact the wrong visual can have! Go the distance here and if you can, avoid stock photography. Original makes a difference. Make your brand visuals an experience worth remembering many times over.
3. CLUELESS UNINSPIRED EMPLOYEES
Is there anything more pathetic than employees who don’t have a clue about their own company’s brand? And possibly, some don’t even care. These are the people who should be able to respond with a 15-second elevator speech if asked. They should be the company ambassadors. Motivate them and support their efforts.
4. OUTDATED TRACKING OR NONE AT ALL
Whether it’s a telephone call, an email response, an inquiry from a website or a trade show contact, if you’re not finding out how they came to contact your company, you’re missing a huge opportunity. This is data than can actually drive your marketing efforts, so put on your tracking hat and get busy.
5. IGNORING YOUR EXISTING CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS
Take them for granted and watch the numbers decline. These people are gold mines. They can do more for you than a viral advertising campaign. Get their opinions and feedback. And definitely ask for permission to use their quotes and testimonials in your marketing materials.
6. MARKETING MATERIALS GONE BAD
It’s a common mistake and one made too often by small businesses. In the fervor of creating new marketing materials, when it comes time to print copies of collateral pieces, the order is humongous. Thousands of new brochures take up space in the storeroom and it takes years to use them up. Who can justify creating new ones?
Of course digital marketing has changed things to some extent, but it still happens. If you do online ads and video, the same rule applies. You will lose traction and customers, if you don’t keep them engaged, entertained and educated.
7. MISSING THE CORE MESSAGE
Your brand cannot be all things to all people all of the time. Know your core message and believe in it. It’s about your brand’s main value proposition; the differentiator that sets you apart from the crowd.
8. MAKING PROMISES YOU CANNOT KEEP
If customers come to you for a particular product or service and cannot find what you told them you sell – guess what? You lose. If your messaging doesn’t match the reality for your consumer, they will not believe and they will not return. Negative marketing word-of-mouth comments are killers.
9. A SOGGY TAG LINE THAT DOESN’T DELIVER
Your tag line is just as important as your logo. Short, sweet and deliverable. Usually four to eight words should get the point across, but be sure they match your core services in the most appealing way.
10. IGNORANCE OF YOUR BRANDING’S ORIGIN
You and your employees are the ones who know the company best. So the essence of who you are and what you do must come from inside your company. Talk with and listen to your customers and each other often. Nurture your brand. Provide the tools for your employees to spread the word and recognize them as brand ambassadors.
Through collaboration, commitment and consistency, your brand can shine brightly. After all, if you can do something about it, isn’t it better to be known as a fresh, crisp, tasteful brand rather than a tired, soggy, tasteless flake? Your call.