Your brand is your life. It’s your passion, and you’re using it to the make others’ lives better. You can’t imagine living without it; it feels like part of your family. You love it.
I, too, am quite enamoured with my brand. I also understand that when things go wrong, it can feel like a physical blow to your gut…knocks the wind right out of you.
Wouldn’t you rather have some real advice for knowing what’s available to you when things aren’t going swimmingly with your brand?
I have put together a plan for moving ahead when your brand seems to be dragging you down, and I’m sharing it here.
Where to Turn when Things go Wrong
Your brand will experience obstacles, and you will fail. Every brand goes through it, and the way you respond to difficulties is what will separate you from the competition.
Here are some examples of things that could go wrong, and how I suggest you respond:
- When profits fall, see this turn of events not as a disaster, but as an indicator that something has changed, and adjustments are necessary. Reductions in profit are like a pain your abdomen. There could be something really serious going on in there, but without that twinge of discomfort, you would never know it. In this sense, pain (a.k.a. a dip in profits) is doing you a favour. Check areas like consumer trends, market fluctuations, the satisfaction level of your own customers, changes in your personnel, and other aspects of your business to determine what is causing this downturn.
- When your brand is criticised for not adhering to the latest trends, do not arbitrarily adopt that trend for the approval of someone (or some group) that is likely not even part of your target audience. As with all technological developments (and other trends), make sure that A) it will benefit your ideal customer and B) it is in agreement with your brand’s mission, vision and values.
- When your brand is slammed for ignoring data, remember that not all data is representative of your ideal customer’s needs. What if you’re serving a niche? Well then, common sense dictates that your clients aren’t represented in polls of the general public. Pay close attention to data that pertains to your niche audience; however, avoid the temptation to stretch your brand outside its concentration, in pursuit of mass appeal.
- If you choose, after in-depth research, to engage in some form of disruptive marketing that is in-line with your brand message and that will appeal to your target audience, and your brand gets grief because “that’s not how you’re supposed to do it,”…I beg of you to carry on. If you feel certain in your path, your brand will benefit from the differentiation you’ve created. Remember how the world laughed at the greats: Oprah Winfrey, James Dyson, J.K. Rowling, Henry Ford, Walt Disney and many others.
- When your brand receives disparaging comments on social media, you may feel like coming to your brand’s defence. Instead, thank the person for their opinion, and then honestly ask yourself if they have a point. As long as they’re willing to be civil, start a dialogue with them about how your brand can improve. Not only are you likely to win this person over, the rest of your audience will witness how committed you are to serving your customers.
- If you find that customers are leaving your brand for the competition, it’s time for some focussed triage, and a calm-minded attitude that this is a gift—an early indicator that something is “off.” Maybe you’re asking your prospects to jump through hoops in your sales funnel. Maybe you’re not giving your customers enough attention, at most crucial times. Or maybe your communications aren’t personalised enough. Ask your customers for feedback; and really listen. Conduct a poll; and take action.
- When you feel like you’re losing touch with your audience, go directly back to the people who were with you when you started your business. They will have no problem remembering the passion you had for your budding brand. Ask them to refresh your memory. Ask them to take you back to the time when you knew you could move mountains and that nothing would stop you from creating the brand you wanted to see in the world. You started your brand with heart, and that same heart will clear your head in times of turmoil.
- In all cases, avoid waffling, noodling…or acting like any other kind of fickle food item. You have built a reputation for being exactly who you are, and doing things unlike any other, because you have repeatedly done things in your branded manner. In times of stress, you will be tempted to operate your business like the competition’s…and just like that, you’ll enter the slush pile. Remember your story and what makes you different.
- In a general sense, avoid overreacting. When profits are down or capital is low, especially, many business owners feel tempted to unload their brands for less than they’re worth, take out high interest loans…or worse. Stay calm. Look for reasons and remedy them by feeding the roots—not by cutting down the tree.
When times get tough, you are your brand’s best friend. YOU are its calm mind and its road to a better day. This isn’t just a pep talk; this is the truth. You started this thing with an end in mind, and if this isn’t the end you envisioned, then it really isn’t the end.
And there’s one more thing: You have me and the other experts involved with How to Build a Brand available to you, to answer your questions and guide you through the tough times with their wisdom and motivational expertise. Join our community at the How to Build a Brand Facebook group.
If you, like many brand builders, think it’s time to evaluate why your ideal customers aren’t choosing your brand, then it’s time for The 7 Reasons Why Customers Don’t Choose You, the best-selling book written by Sammy Blindell and Miles Fryer. On the fence? Click here to get your FREE chapter.