Brand Bump Ahead!

If all you have to do to succeed was to provide a valuable to service to a waiting appreciative audience, it would indeed be a perfect world. But from the moment we walk into our offices in the morning the real world kicks in and provides yesterdays unseen challenges today. If only we had a crystal ball, we’d all be a little smarter. What I hope you will find useful are signs to watch for that your brand has challenges up ahead and that perhaps now is the time to strategize ways of pre-empting what I call:

“Brand Bumps in the Road Ahead”.

Bump #1
You’ve begun noticing from that customers are mistaking your business for a competitor.

Strategic fix: You are not differentiated enough, meaning your brand message offers no compelling story that sets you apart.

Bump#2
More and more every piece of business is won or lost solely on price.

Strategic fix: Your customer has no relationship with you. You have become a commodity in their eyes. Maybe sales are relying on email too much and should get more face time with your customer.

Bump #3
Bumps 1 and 2 have you a little rattled – your first thought is to up-date the brand logo.

Strategic fix: You are missing the point and shooting from the hip. The problem is not the logo, your brand has lost it’s heading. It is high time you had a good hard look at just what you stand for to your customers. Survey them to identify what will probably be obvious problems.

Bump #3
Staff seem unmotivated. They have lost the fire in their bellies.

Strategic fix: They reflect a symptom of your leadership. You’ve no doubt lost a bit of shine and they’re attitude is a symptom of this. They look to you as the visionary. Any negativity has a direct effect on their understanding of what is expecting. It is time for an attitude up-grading – it’s time to raise the bar.

Bump #4
You can’t seem to attract the best people anymore.

Strategic fix: What has changed in your market is that your brand perception has taken a hit. In the mind of your community, your company is not seen as an opportunity or challenge. Your company is probably following not leading.

Bump #5
At business functions you are hard-pressed to give a quick description of exactly what your company does. You more or less tell them you are a provider of many and a master of none.

Strategic fix: Focus on what the company does exceptional well at that NOBODY else in your category does. This is your door opener. A differentiator.

Bump #6
You are at a company function and staff are wearing branded clothing. It hits you that there is no consistent color scheme.

Strategic fix: Consistency in brand image breeds awareness. Your brand image has be bastardized over the years. Have one person in the company be responsible for the brand image strategy. All color decisions must be approved by them to be sure the only the correct colors are used. Color is a powerful emotional icon.

Bump #7
There are trade shows coming that have traditionally gotten you important leads. Your attitude is to hurry up and get materials in place to bring and it is a grueling experience.

Strategic fix: It is grueling because you are not excited by your offering. Your message (I’d put a dollar on this) is the same old message you’ve always used. You have no differentiator, the booth staff will be unmotivated (sound familiar) and it will show big time on the show floor. The displays just shows pretty pictures of product, no humanity what so ever. Trade shows are theater. Time to put on a show.

Bump #8
In your trade magazines and community newspaper, the competition is quoted more than you.

Strategic fix: Your brand is not seen as the leader EVEN if you are the larger company. Time to develop a public relations initiative for a regular release of good news and information about your company. Maybe launch a blog to build on your expert profile. Reporters regularly look to blogs to develop stories. This has happened to me, and a number of my peers.

Bump #9
National competition is moving into the neighborhood. It is keeping you awake at night.

Strategic fix: I will bet that your marketing materials are either done in-house, done for free by the publication or by a son or daughter of. The public trusts professionalism. You must hire professionals to put the shine back on your brand image. Nothing brings success than the look of success. Nobody eats at a restaurant that has no cars out front. Nobody does business with the loser.

Bump #10
You find yourself looking for ideas to find that magic solution. Only your heart rate is going faster than your desire for that quick fix.

Strategic fix: It took years to get into this position, it will take time to fix. Give yourself a deserving pat on the back for the fact that you have at least begun your journey to smooth out the bumps in your road. Nothing is so broken it can’t be fixed. Get a group of stakeholders together, call them your road crew if you like.

It’s time to re-surface your brand! Do it today.

Ed Roach

For more than 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. I appreciate working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. I consult predominantly with businesses facilitating my proprietary branding process. This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.

I have international speaking experience and am the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today. I'm also a "expert panellist" with Bob Proctor (from The Secret)'s Matrixx Events in Toronto.

I have been interviewed in all media and I also blog extensively and uses the digital realm on the web to connect and promote my services world-wide.

I have international speaking experience including a recent event in Prague, in the Czech Republic and is the author of "101 Branding Tips," Practical advice for your brand that you can use today, the book is available on Amazon.com and the Amazon Kindle store.

My clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.

I recently facilitated a workshop in San Diego aimed at teaching Graphic Design companies how to build brands for their customers.

Comments

  1. Frode Lundsten says:

    Excellent list of strategic bumps. In my experience bump #2, #3 and #5 are the most common – and often the most overlooked.

  2. Abreaction says:

    A great read, I wish my tiny business only had to deal with bumps. My market place is so competitive I feel like I’m drowning …..help!

  3. It is very important to decide on the best brand for your business. Business people should know the benefits they could get in a good branding so it will make a business very successful.

    •  @business phone Yes, decide where you would like your brand to be, and then work to achieve that goal. It’s a workable strategy, but it involves every aspect of your business. Thanks for commenting.

  4. These ideas are like awakening ones for the  business fraternity involved with small brands. These ones are very helpful for small brand to a greater extend.

  5. Hannah Hamilton says:

    Thanks for this food for a thought Ed.I like number 5. It’s like on the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” which simply means you have no special function, no focus on a specific genre. This somehow gives the customers the idea that you are not competent enough to deal with, which simply means your branding is not working well and to fix that, they have to read this. 🙂