5 Signs You Might Need External Help With Your Branding
By BBG Brand Team
A client tells us that every day for him is much like taking the SAT. They both require you to solve problems as quickly and as efficiently as possible. But we all remember that one math question on the standardized test where the answer was “D: not enough information has been provided to solve the equation.”
Knowing how to fix a business-related problem is hard enough, but the task is exponentially more difficult if you don’t know what your problem is or where it starts.
Many CEOs are faced with this challenge, especially when they first assume their post. The Directors or their C-Suite colleagues report a problem (Sales are down!) without providing data to support where the problem is lodged.
If this sounds all too familiar, your problem may be brand-related. But how can you know? From our years of experience helping place-based organizations, we’ve seen the warning signs that suggest when branding is the origin of the problem. These are the five most common that indicate you may need external help.
1. You Realize A Problem Exists, You Just Can’t Define Where It Starts
Is your product delivering on the promise that your sales team is making? If not, where’s the disconnect?
Is revenue down because Sales can’t close the deal or because they aren’t armed with the right marketing messages and materials? Lack of on-target support can also create a morale issue.
If you’re getting conflicting reports on the reasons for the problem, how can you begin to formulate a plan of action to correct it?
Maybe you’re too close to the situation and biased. This is where an outsider’s perspective can be extremely helpful.
2. You’d Have Trouble Telling Someone Why Your Brand Is Better
A quick description of your company and the services it provides should be short enough that you could tell someone about your brand in the amount of time it takes to ride the elevator to the next floor. It isn’t only that people have short attention spans, it is critical that your brand message is understood and simplified for all audiences, including internal.
Most organizations have the “who” and “what” down pat. They can tell you what their company does and who their customers are, but may struggle with explaining “why” their brand is better than their competitors in such a brief manner.
If that’s the case, chances are many within the organization have the same problem. Think about it: If the C-level of a company can’t clearly articulate their differentiator, how can they expect their employees to understand and explain brand promise and unique positioning?
3. You Aren’t Sure That Your Employees And Customers Think The Same About Your Brand
Even if all employees of your company believe and promote the same brand image, your customers may feel affection and have loyalty to your brand for completely different reasons. Discovering how your customers really think about you is solid gold marketing insight.
Sales reps are a great resource to find out why customers or prospects actually believe about your brand. But, like all research this source can be biased. Make sure you’re getting insights not excuses.
Here’s a simple question you can ask yourself to see if your two main audiences (employees and customers) think the same about your brand: If I put the lowest ranking employee of my company and the highest spending customer in the same room, would they be able to have a conversation about our brand?
If you aren’t sure how that conversation would turn out, it might be time for you to have a different conversation – with a branding agency.
4. There’s No Consistency In Your Marketing Messages
Tactical marketing materials are only cost effective in the long term when there’s a brand strategy supporting them. Your brand makes a promise to its customers – about quality or promised experience or efficiency. If all messages reflect back to your promise, brand affection and loyalty begin to build in your customer base. But if customers can’t easily determine your brand traits and values, they may view you as a commodity, or worse, as an inferior alternative to your direct competitors.
This is easy to recognize with consumer packaged goods and business-to-business sales, but is equally dangerous for hotels, cities, and restaurants that think of themselves as one-of-a-kind but don’t deliver on the promise.
5. You No Longer Have The Time To Devote To Marketing (Too Busy)
This warning sign usually applies to smaller companies that are suddenly experiencing rapid growth. In many cases, the company originally employed a few full-time staffers, all of whom assumed multiple responsibilities as the business expanded. As the leader, it made sense for the CEO to handle marketing.
But now, the CEO has many more executive responsibilities than before. Because of this, marketing has likely fallen by the wayside.
It’s hard to see this problem when business is booming. But, if a brand doesn’t continue to nourish itself, it loses power. Remember, half the Fortune 500 companies that were shining thirty years ago are now gone.
Diagnosis: An Undiscovered Brand
If your company is experiencing a couple of these warning signs, it may be because you’re an undiscovered brand. Undiscovered does not mean unknown. It’s likely that your brand is known but unless you have a huge market share it’s safe to say that many of your ideal customers haven’t discovered you yet.
Having a neutral third party peel back the layers and truly examine who you are and why you are important in your market may seem like a frightening undertaking, but in actuality, it can be very refreshing and beneficial for your brand.
Each brand has unique challenges and opportunities, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, a branding exercise should be tailored to your specific needs, which can best be determined by a preliminary, low-cost brand audit.
If you’d like to learn more about how Burkhead Brand Group can help, let us hear from you. We’d love to help your organization go from undiscovered to unrivaled.