Like it or not, your company’s brand matters. Your brand is often the first experience customers have with your company. It’s what they engage with, support, love, and represent. It’s the part of your business that your customers connect with and build their lifestyles around. Surely something so important receives all the love and attention—and budget—it needs from its parent company, right? Not always. All too often we see brands that are totally disconnected from their companies and customers. But it’s time to get with the program. It’s 2018. Every marketer worth his or her salt knows the importance of great branding. So why are so many companies still putting out low caliber brands? Short answer: they don’t understand Brand to Human®. Here are 5 reasons your brand sucks:
1. You’re appealing to the wrong audience.
Companies—and the people running them—have made some serious blunders over the years, but none so off-putting as marketing to an audience that really couldn’t care less. Even well known, established brands are guilty of making this mistake from time to time, so don’t feel too bad. Just fix it. There’s a ton of data science behind great marketing. Demographic data, psychographics, purchasing habits—all of these are critical components to understanding your target audience and how to build a mutually beneficial relationship with them.
Maybe you’re marketing to millennial women when a quick glance at your consumer data would show that Gen X men are your primary segment. Maybe you’re pushing junk foods to health-conscious consumers who don’t want it. Or maybe you’re marketing to a group of people who simply don’t care about brands. If that’s the case, you’re wasting your time. Those folks will never become advocates for your brand, and they’ll abandon your company the moment something cheaper comes around. Bottom line: know your audience inside and out. Understand what they want and market to them in a way that aligns with their values and lifestyles. If you’re not doing this already, you’re setting your company up for failure.
2. Your logo doesn’t align with your products or services.
Logos. Everyone’s got one. Some of them are good. Most of them aren’t. A logo is a representation of your brand. It’s your corporate identity, the “face” of your company. And it’s often the first point of engagement your brand has with your customers, so if it doesn’t immediately communicate—even in an abstract sense—what your brand is all about, your company may have already missed an opportunity to reach a potential advocate. Of course your logo won’t appeal to everyone. That’s fine. You don’t want to reach everyone. You want to reach the right people. You want a logo that appeals to your target audience. But if your target audience—the people who will advocate for your brand and its products—don’t get your logo, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on some serious revenue.
3. You’re not thinking outside the box.
This may seem like it contradicts point #2, but it doesn’t. It’s perfectly fine to create or change your logo, especially if you’re finally trying to appeal to your target audience. But if your company is going to commit to a redesign or even a full rebrand, commit to it! A famous international quick service restaurant (that I won’t name) has changed its logo nearly a dozen times in the last 5 or so decades, but it’s still using the same imagery. It’s great they want to stick to a proven brand standard, but with each redesign the company reinforces to its customers that it refuses to change. The whole point of a rebrand is to show your audience that your business is changing for the better. It’s supposed to be a vertical change. Minor tweaks come off as lateral change, which communicates to your customers that you’re afraid to try something new. People don’t advocate for cowardly brands.
4. You’re ignoring your company culture.
One mistake happens, so you slide it under the rug. Then it happens again, perhaps in a different department. Next thing you know, one small step for John from accounting has turned into a giant leap toward a toxic company culture. Particularly with larger brands, if your company culture becomes toxic, it will come out eventually. Suddenly your brand will find itself in a crisis situation with no way out.
This is the kind of problem you have to stop before it ever stops. How do you stop it? By implementing a well-defined company culture based on respect and values, and by requiring everyone at your organization to be aligned with it. Hiring the right people is a great start, but continuously promoting your awesome company culture will keep it rolling. Your staff should be your biggest advocates, so make sure you’re steering the ship in the right direction. Culture is just as much a part of your brand as your logo, so give it the attention it needs.
5. You’re out of touch.
I’m sure you’ve seen those ads targeted toward millennials and Gen Zers that are trying too hard to be “cool.” You know, those ads that use slang from the mid-nineties in an attempt to reach a demographic that can’t even remember Y2K. There are few things more cringe-inducing than brands that are completely out of touch with the times and their audience. At best, a few too many unintended laughs are directed toward your brand. Worst case scenario: you just openly admitted that you couldn’t care less about your audience, their lifestyles, or their values. After that, why would they care about you?
Your brand is one of the most important aspects of your business, because it functions as a human in order to interact with other humans. But just like a human, your brand needs to be nurtured, guided, and pushed in the right direction. The fact is, if you’re not paying enough attention to your brand, your marketing, customer engagement and satisfaction, culture—eventually, everything—will suffer. The brands we build for our client partners are structured to appeal to the values and lifestyles of their ideal customers, all according to our Brand to Human® philosophy. If you’re interested in evaluating your brand, give us a call. We’re always happy to help.