Failure: it’s the F-word for many brand builders, but at How to Build a Brand, we think that failure is always an opportunity in disguise. Making this belief a tenet of your branding strategy will take your brand farther than any other “no-fail” plan.

Build on Failure, as a Branding Strategy

What is your attitude toward failure? Is it a setback from which you cannot recover? Is it one more descending step in a downward spiral?

Or is it a valuable opportunity to learn from your mistake and to move forward? Is it a step in the right direction, toward the type of expert status that can only come from experience?

There are many circumstances in branding – and in life – that are out of our control. There are also consequences of our choices that are out of our power to change after those choices have been made. If those consequences involve failure, we have a choice: Stagnate or move forward.

This is where a resilient branding strategy takes control of small failures and turns them into opportunities. Here are just a few examples of how a well-designed branding strategy can guide your brand in turning negative circumstances into positive experiences for your brand and your clients:

  • A Bad Review: In this world of global, digital communication, one bad review can bring down a solid track record of brilliant testimonials. Ignoring a bad review is never a good idea. Fighting back with excuses might be worse. Instead, if your brand receives a negative online review, take the opportunity to say thank-you for the feedback, then openly discuss the steps you will take to ensure that the offense doesn’t happen again. Offer a solution to the problem. Offer recompense, if necessary. Apologise and welcome open communication. This will build your brand’s reputation in too many ways to mention here.
  • A Failed Project: Maybe you took on too much, promised a timeframe you couldn’t meet, lost money due to imprudent estimating, or delivered something that a client wasn’t happy with. Use the advice offered in the previous point, but also hold a debriefing with every brand employee/affiliate who was involved. Build a plan into your branding strategy that will safeguard your brand from these types of mistakes in the future.
  • A Problematic Client: Often, when a start-up is eager to amass clientele, not enough attention is paid to the acquisition of ideal clients. The alignment of values is not taken into account, and before transactions are completed, it becomes clear that the brand/client relationship is a troublesome one. Fulfil your duties to the best of your brand’s abilities and move forward with the commitment to identifying and accepting only ideal clients in the future.
  • A Departure from your Brand’s Values: In the beginning, you named your brand’s values and you promised to adhere to them for clarity of brand message and integrity in all that you do. Because humans build and develop brands, bad choices are sometimes made – and all-too-often, the consequences of those choices become media fodder or public knowledge, thanks to word-of-mouth. If you make a poor choice, acknowledge what you’ve done and tell those who matter most how you plan to avoid these types of choices in the future. Personal branding is important to today’s consumers; that means they will witness far more than last century’s consumer did. Remember this whilst making choices, and whilst explaining the why and how of them.

A single failure, in one aspect of your branding strategy, will rarely equate to the ultimate failure of your brand; however, if that failure is not addressed, or learnt from, and if other failures result as a lack of learning, your brand will be in trouble.


It’s time to make the decision to adopt a positive attitude about the inevitable failures that you and your brand will endure. Look for the good in each one. How can you learn from them? What will you do differently next time? How can you use them to build your branding strategy?

Every failure holds the potential to be opportunity in disguise…and only you can decide.

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