The truth is, that most people don’t understand what a brand is. If you ask most people what a brand is, they’ll say something like “It is the label that I buy.” While this may be so, this isn’t the only way to define branding. Many think that branding is your logo or your signature color. Others think that a brand is the label or the design that a company has chosen and carried out through their marketing. Others think it is the products themselves.
You can combine all of those things, and you might be a lot closer, but you still haven’t touched the tip of the iceberg. It turns out that there are a lot of misconceptions about branding. I am going to talk about those misconceptions and why they exist, and if we can do anything about them.
Branding doesn’t happen overnight.
This is wishful thinking to its highest extent. You can’t implement a couple of distinct colors, a strong logo and expect instant recognition. It just doesn’t happen that way. It takes years to build a strong brand and to be associated with endearing qualities. One of the hardest things for big businesses to understand is that it takes time, strategy, and consistency to build a strong brand.
It Won’t Hurt to Lose A Few Customers
This is a no-brainer that some big companies just don’t get. You are in the business of pleasing your customer. When you implement policies that negatively affect your customers, you create a bad experience for them and they will go somewhere else. Bad experiences will shatter a company’s reputation. There’s a model I have always heard about experiences that says that when someone has a good experience, they might tell 2 people about how great their experience was. However, when someone has a bad experience, they will tell at least five people about what happened. That is a huge difference and can really hurt your positive branding efforts. When doing something right, your brand will barely get mentioned for it, but if you do something wrong, everyone will hear about it.
Don’t Worry About the Competition
You couldn’t be more wrong. You need to pay close attention to your competition. Knowing what competitors are doing right and wrong can give you a lot of insight into your own business. Take a look at what they are doing right, and see if there is a way that you can do it better. Take a look at what they are doing wrong, and go a different route.
I’ll make one thing perfectly clear. Simply copying your competition in everything that they do won’t help you at all. True, you will probably hang with them in numbers, but if they ever develop a product and service that you can’t provide, then you will fade away. The reason is that you need to develop your brand’s own personality and define what is unique about your company, your products, and your services. Once you determine that, you can leverage it within your brand to make you stand out from the competition. Differentiation is key to branding and brand recognition. If you look like just a clone of another company, you will soon be filing bankruptcy.
Testing? Focus Groups? I don’t need all of that.
Again, you are sadly mistaken. Huge businesses pay millions of dollars to gain insight into what their customers are thinking. Casting data to the side and just winging it is going to put a major dent in your profits. You could be cross marketing products or you could break out into a niche of your own if the data shows that there is a market for it, but you ignored the numbers. believe me, someone else won’t.
Testing your company’s website using A/B methods will show user trends and may tell you why your site is or isn’t generating the response that you’d hoped. You can try new methods and compare the numbers to data from other methods, to see if there is a significant change in your conversion rate.
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
We all know this phrase, and in most cases it applies, but with branding, especially when applying to products, you always want to see how you can improve your products or services. Expansion is a key part of this as well. This about McDonald’s – They started out with one type of burger, fries, and a drink. Now, they have dozens of items on the menu. It took decades to develop their menu into what it is today, but think if they’d stop tweaking their menu after the hamburger. Do you think they would be as successful as they are now?
This is a double edged sword as well. Adding new content or services is a great way to build your brand and generate revenue, but you want to make sure that the new expansions are lucrative. You don’t want to implement anything that isn’t top-notch, and that doesn’t make you any money.
There are a lot of misconceptions about branding. Some think that you can whip up a brand overnight and be known around the world instantly. Obviously, that just isn’t the case. Ignoring the competition will ensure that they always one-up you in everything. Not improving your products and services will kill your company’s development.