Whether you run a business, create art, or communicate ideas, your brand is the most important thoughts and images you have at your disposal.
Branding is also an interesting idea.
Your branding incorporates intentional choices you’ve made about how you portray yourself (your logo, colors, your “voice”), and combines it with things that are outside of your control (the way your work relates to competitors, your reputation, bad press, word of mouth, etc.).
At the end of the day, the business’s health is inseparable from the health of the brand.
And while there are no rules about the best way to create a lasting brand, there are some actions that will contribute to the diminishment or demise of your brand.
These mistakes include handling bad press poorly, operating redundantly, and focusing on aspects of the business other than the product.
Take note of these and watch out that you don’t end up making them.
1. Bad Press Handled Poorly
Bad press is part of the life of every business. No matter what you do, if you get big enough, someone will have something bad to say about you.
If people are saying bad things about your business online, count it as a sign that you are doing something worth deriding.
Bad press becomes a problem when your vital audience says bad things about you. Musical artists like Nickelback might be a joke in the mainstream media, but they’ve still got millions of people around the world who absolutely loves what they do.
It’s when they alienate these core followers that they would begin to lose traction. So be sure not to let your brand alienate those same followers you rely on so much. Listen to them, since they know what their needs are even better than your business does.
Related resource: The Reputation Management Company is an organization that can help you understand the difference between regular “haters” and a brand that is growing toxic. Then they can help you take the steps to remedy the issue before it destroys your business.
If you are bleeding customers, it is past due to find out the reason or reasons why. It may sometimes be necessary to rebuild the brand and start over in order to attract new customers from the marketplace.
In fact, a business should be bringing in a certain percentage of new customers every period, not just relying on their regular repeat customers.
And if your business does find itself with a case of bad press, take ownership of it and demonstrate concrete steps to fix it. It is quite necessary not to make excuses; customers have had enough of poor explanations and it would be refreshing for a business to say otherwise.
For a successful business, it is much better to do something unique, which is adored by a few people, than to do something that is commonplace, which is mildly enjoyed by a lot of people.
Businesses and artists of the counterculture have always shown the tendency for long careers.
They might not all be household names (though businesses like Apple certainly broke that mould), but long careers prove that it’s always better to provide a unique service than to try to break through the white noise of a totally saturated industry.
The key part of understanding this mistake is to quite simply know your market.
Don’t try to sell a service that is peaking. Instead, focus on the potential selling power of your brand in a market that can accept it.
Use your brand as a strength and be willing to give it a facelift in a crowded market. The risk of doing so can’t be overstated.
Market saturation could result in a whole industry being affected as customers seek out a better product.
3. Focus on Everything But Your Product
One of the mistakes that new businesses often make is to focus on everything but the product.
In many cases, a lot of effort goes into marketing, while the core product suffers.
In the end, no amount of marketing savvy will convince people that your business is great. Even if your efforts succeed, people will eventually wise up to your con.
Marketing efforts can convince creatives and business minds that they can stop focusing so hard on the hard work of developing world class goods and services.
Great work and a good product will sell itself. Marketing helps, but no amount of marketing can create a lasting brand.
So instead, let marketing take care of itself. Word of mouth can go a long way, and allowing for promotions will draw in new customers. These customers will be willing to try out your goods and services, so be sure to spend your resources on the business itself.
Another drain on resources can be your team. Focus on hiring efficient and willing workers, and follow up on it. Some people, no matter their intentions, just won’t be a good fit for the company, and that’s ok.
Just reward success and don’t be afraid to let under-performing team members go.
And as for the brand itself, it is best to not go too overboard in terms of your logo. Too much “noise” in your message is off-putting, and it will result in your customers scrambling to go to a service that understands their needs better.
There are brands which succeed while breaking every rule in the book. But most become lasting fixtures in the marketplace by following advice like the above, sometimes by learning the tactics and other times because it is only natural to do so based on their product and the marketplace.
Don’t rely on your market to support the business forever. It is essential that your brand be nurtured and if necessary, refreshed in order to cater to the market since the brand image is equal to the company itself.
And as an owner, demonstrate accountability and insight by avoiding the mistakes of handling a poor image, service redundancy, and focusing on parts of the business other than the core aspect.