To Brand or not to Brand
Under the glare of social media, marketers need to be more careful than ever of their brand strategies. Even a single, poorly considered advertising choice can have long-lasting consequences due to the backlash. Such mistakes are accompanied by a tailspin of negative social posts and negative headlines. However, with effective PR management, it is possible to overcome such mistakes relatively unscathed.
In contrast, a brand identity crisis is a much more serious affliction. Compared to a one-time faux pas, an ongoing crisis can have deeper consequences – despite it being more frequent than one could possibly imagine.
What is a Brand Identity Crisis?
A brand identity crisis often emerges as the result of a drift away from the original brand proposition – or even the failure to establish a clear proposition to begin with.
There are many potential sources of brand identity crises: ill-considered diversification; focusing so much on the competition that you dilute your own brand; forgetting who and where your customers are; or simply a desire to appear “current” without thinking through what that means for the brand.
Branding trends often don’t help; they can be distracting. A few years ago, the notion of being “a story brand” had many companies rushing to create a narrative around their brand. Many of them failed because the stories they tried to tell weren’t authentic.
Brand Identity and Purpose
Today, social purpose is being redefined as the latest trend. But here, too, authenticity bites. If we try to align with a social purpose that doesn’t cohere with what our audiences already know about our brand, these attempts can feel cynical and out of step – however well-intentioned.
Whether you are considering your CSR strategies, your marketing strategies or any other company strategy, those strategies should always be analysed through the prism of your brand purpose.
Brand purpose isn’t just about communication – it’s about what you do.
As Forbes points out, getting it right boils down to two simple questions: Who are you? And what do you do? Or even: what do you want to be known for?
Getting Your Brand Identity Right
Your brand purpose must be built into everything you do and every decision you make as a business. In this way, you ensure continued authenticity. By regularly referring back to those essential questions, you avoid drift and maintain focus. Ask yourself: is this going to help us achieve our core purpose? If not, why are we doing it?
Truly connecting with your purpose helps to drive enthusiasm for your brand. Remember that living and communicating purpose starts from within. Because when a brand isn’t sure what it stands for, it’s likely its customers won’t either.