After thirty years experience in brand management and marketing, I have directly advised more than 150 brands and indirectly advised (through educational workshops, Just Ask responses, pro bono work, etc.) more than twice that number. That is to say, I have dealt with many brands’ problems in one way or another. Here is my observation of the twenty most common brand problems.
- No one in the organization has a solid understanding of the brand’s consumers or their needs.
- The brand does not stand for anything and it does not promise anything. It is just a name and a logo.
- The brand touts a clichéd, unsubstantiated, meaningless point of difference (such as, we are the quality leader or the service leader or the innovation leader or, worst of all, just the leader).
- Brand messaging is helter-skelter. That is, it varies by audience, message vehicle, campaign, etc.
- A crisis occurs that reinforces that the brand was never really serious about its promise.
- The brand becomes a “whipping boy” for some social issue. Special interest groups that disagree with the brand’s policies target the brand for attack.
- There is little to no awareness of the brand in the marketplace. This could be because it is a start-up brand or because it is new to the specific geographic market.
- The brand’s less than stellar perceptions are due to product problems. The product may have quality problems or be inferior to its competitors’ products in other ways.
- Internal politics and organizational dysfunction lead to brand and customer service dysfunction.
- The brand and the organization behind it have rested on their laurels for far too long, not keeping up with consumer needs and industry innovations.
- The CEO and the leadership team do not understand brand management and do not support it.
- Every time the economy slows, marketing budgets are slashed, leaving the brand vulnerable.
- Every time a new brand manager arrives, that individual changes the brand or its marketing campaign, whether changes are needed or not.
- Growth pressures have forced the brand into new products or services that blur the meaning of the brand.
- Brand extensions have repositioned the core brand in a negative light.
- The brand has pursued a series of price increases at a rate that far exceeds inflation.
- Continual cost cutting due to retailer pressures has resulted in an inferior brand that no longer is demanded by consumers.
- The organization proliferates brands and sub-brands with no clear differentiation or consumer targeting.
- The brand’s architecture is completely confused.
- The brand’s identity is presented inconsistently in different contexts, media, vehicles and situations.
In 2009 I wrote about the 41 most common brand problems. Click here and scroll down to explore them.
What brand problems have you observed?
Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education