Wow! How’s that for a cynical title? You’re over there trying to build a brand, to grow it strong, and I’m here talking about how it’s falling apart. It would seem that I have little faith in you or your brand.
To the contrary, I am eager to impart this piece of important knowledge to you:
Every brand, at all times, is falling apart. It’s the way of the natural world. External elements erode solid matter, and it’s up to you—the internal, cohesive force—to hold your brand together…to build it stronger than it could ever be on its own so that it can withstand all the things it will be subjected to.
This is what brand builders and managers do on a daily basis. Why? Because if left to fend for itself, your brand will naturally conform to and follow the path of least resistance…which leads to that graveyard marked with a sign that reads Failed Brands.
Here at How to Build a Brand, we talk often about how to create and maintain a consistent brand. What we haven’t talked about yet, at least in this blogspace, is how to spot fractures in your brand before they create chasms of inconsistency that, if left unattended for too long, will bring your business to its knees.
Now, don’t feel discouraged. This is all good stuff. Knowing how to spot the tendencies of all brands—even the big ones—to fracture between departments, time periods and personnel is an invaluable tool that will usher your company into a future built on a solid foundation of problem mitigation, rather than problem submission.
So let’s get started.
Learning to Mend Fractures as you Build a Brand
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to intercept a problem when you’re sure it’s coming? Well, that’s the point with brand mitigation. A solid brand crisis strategy is your shield and your sword. You’re armed. You’re protected. You’re confident.
Here are a few things I’d like you to be on the lookout for, as you build a brand and manage your business. Spotting these things early means you can stomp out the ember before it turns into a forest fire.
- Teams with Separate Agendas: We all know that different departments within your business have different tasks, responsibilities and micro-goals. However, when those departments begin to lose sight of brand-wide goals (based on your vision, mission and values), you’ve got a problem. For instance, your marketing department can easily get caught up in social media ad engagement, and begin to drift toward tactics that go against your brand’s values. When this happens, call everyone to a meeting and remind them of what rests on the horizon. You’re all in this together, with different tasks aimed at the same
- Department Hierarchy: Does HR eat lunch with manufacturing? Does marketing turn its nose up at IT? Or does customer service feel inferior to admin? Departments naturally become compartmentalised because we, as humans, tend to flock to those with whom we share likes, dislikes, hobbies…and jobs. As discussed above, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s beneficial as you build a brand. You will know this fracture has evolved into a chasm when different departments begin to speak their own languages…vernaculars of your branded language. It may not be too late, but this is a virtual siren sounding throughout your business. Bring them together with cross-departmental meetings and mixers. Post reminders of common goals around the office. Give them the words they’ll need to speak a common, unified language.
- Trend Obsession: This one is especially prevalent in marketing departments with heavy leanings toward IT. When a new technology is introduced, it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and use it to market your brand…even if that technology doesn’t support your brand’s vision, mission and values. This also applies to website design, graphic design and other visual and procedural elements. Evolutionary change is good. However, it’s always a good idea to make sure that those changes aren’t creating fractures in your brand’s consistency. Before integrating trends into your branding and marketing strategies, ask yourself if those trends will build your brand and support the message you’re intending to send. If not—if those trends stand alone as interesting items—then they’re working against your brand.
- Phase Disconnect: Quite often, a brand’s designer (of the brand itself as well as new products and services that the brand will introduce) is deeply in touch with the brand’s vision, mission and values. Quite often, as that new brand, product or service makes its way through departments, and finally to production, changes have taken place. A lack of communication among departments as well as disconnect with the brand’s purpose cause these changes, and the end result is a product that doesn’t support the brand’s purpose. Through every phase—from R&D to Manufacturing—all departments should be educated on, and reminded about, the brand’s message, meaning and reason. When everyone is on-board and believes in the goal, the final product will be an accurate reflection of its intention.
Building and maintaining a brand is a rigorous exercise in teamwork. It’s also an exercise in personal commitment to a vision, coupled with the flexibility to respond to the needs of customers, team members and the industry.
Fractures in a brand’s consistency are normal, and to be expected. This means that you must be prepared to mend those fractures, whilst learning to spot new ones before they become visible to the naked eye.
Wondering how you can get in better touch with the inner workings of your brand? Or how you can keep its message consistent without hindering its growth and evolution? Then it sounds like you’re in need of Master Your Message, a 3-day transformational event that will make it simple, make it engaging, make it memorable…and make it HAPPEN. Register now, to build a brand, whilst we still have spots available.