United Airlines recently made it to the news for all wrong reasons. It forcibly evicted an elderly passenger when one of its flights was overbooked. The video of the entire fiasco went viral, causing unrepairable damage to the brand’s reputation.
Pepsi had to pull out its Ad after it seemed to trivialize a serious issue and the whole thing created furor online.
These two separate incidences had two well-established brands in the core and people are going to remember them for a long time. Marketers and branding experts will continue to cite them when they talk about mistakes in branding.
But these were the case with known brands. What happens when there’s a brand in the making? What can kill the brand even before it has made a mark and how?
Here are some of the mistakes that ruin your brand building efforts even before it begins.
1. Not Being Passionate About the Brand
Always be passionate about your brand as half-hearted efforts never did a brand any good in the history of brand building.
Passion not only adds value to your brand, but also attracts consumer-attention. It lends a certain distinctness to your brand, which piques their interests.
Put 100% passion and focus in building the brand to see the results for yourself.
An exercise in passion is exemplified by Airbnb with its ‘Floating House’ campaign. Released as a competition in London, it brought 73,500 visitors to the Airbnb website and of them, 28,000 were first-time visitors. It resonated the motto of the brand “don’t just go there, live there” and that made a connect with the target user base. The passion caught on!
2. Not Defining the Brand Early On
Building a brand from the ground up is a continuous process. It is a journey throughout which, the brand needs to be constantly nurtured as one wrong step, and your brand loses its credibility and years of efforts in one go.
Branding should be always on the top of your priority list and not an afterthought. Start on the right note by defining your brand on the basis of certain questions, which include but aren’t limited to the following:
What products or services do you offer?
What are the basic qualities of the products and services offered?
What is the mission or what are the core values of the company?
What sets your company apart from others?
Who are your target audience? What are their demographics?
What’s your company’s value proposition?
These questions will help you carve a personality or character for your company, and therefore, define your brand.
Eyewear company Warby Parker works on ‘buy one give one’ business model. The unique business model clicks its target audience. They have a mission and their target audiences are the ones, who are inclined towards the mission. They know the brand’s value proposition and stand by it, earning the brand many loyal followers.
3. Not Building the Brand Around Its Strength
Every firm has its strengths and drawbacks. Lay the foundation of your brand by highlighting all its strengths and stick to it. Identify the USP of your brand and play it to your advantage.
UK-based innocent drinks is known for its smoothies, juices and veg pots. The popular brand sells over 2 million smoothies per week, but that’s not where its popularity ends! It is also known for its out-of-the-box, imaginative and playful social media presence. Just like their name, the content they post online is “innocent” and makes the crowd go all “aww”!
It can be anything – reduced price, after-sales-services, in-store care, value for money, reward for loyalty, product enhancements, enhanced experience, using human element, so on and so forth. This will help you enhance the recall value of the brand.
Furniture giant IKEA’s interactive catalog is the best example of how brands can add value to their products and services. It used Augmented Reality to place furniture in homes and give customers assurance of buying the right furniture. Released before Thanksgiving Day, it gave users the incentive to try and buy its products.
Japanese retailer UNIQLO offered customers the first-ever neuroscience fashion campaign in Australia, where they matched the clothing selection based on their consumer’s moods. Using wearable technology UMood, they used brainwave reading to suggest clothing for the consumers. This unprecedented move set them apart from their customers and added value to their services.
Take the cue, focus on value-addition and there’ll be no looking back for your brand.
5. Not Being Original and Aping Competitors
It’s a good practice to keep a tab on what your competitors are doing and how they are shaping their brand. But this doesn’t mean giving up originality.
In the early 80s, the Coca-Cola and Pepsi rivalry was in its peak. It seemed that Americans favored the sweeter flavor of Pepsi. In an attempt to be on up its rival, Coca-Cola decided to give its original formula a twist by launching ‘New Coke’ in April 1985. The new product didn’t go down well with the target audience, who demanded the original formula to be back. Coke lost the plot with this one and had to switch back to its original formula.
Lesson learnt – even if you track each and every move of your rivals, you need to embrace originality instead of imitating your competitors.
6. Not Giving Customers Enough Reasons to Trust the brand
Your brand building efforts will go down the drain if you don’t give your customers enough reasons to trust the brand.
Make it easy for them to provide feedback, find ways to engage/interact with them, provide them support – before, during and after a purchase, accept your flaws and work on making the customer experience better.
After drawing flak for its exploding handsets, tech-giant Samsung came up with a brilliant marketing gimmick for its S8. The company geared up for the launch of the smartphone in UK by surveying the best views in Britain and placed a giant S8 frame on the locations. While the idea of the campaign is to showcase the handset’s specs such as “Infinity Display”, it also eggs customers to trust it again.
7. Not Being Ready to Reinvent
Brand building now involves the digital media, which has a fast-paced landscape. It goes without saying that you’ve to be on your toes and adapt to any change or twist to leverage your brand, especially on social media channels. This will require consistent efforts from you. In case your brand building tactics have a major setback, you should be ready to reinvent the brand.
World Wildlife Fund is an organization, which fights for causes with supreme marketing tactics. The brand uses social media channels to communicate its message in the most innovative ways. Their #EndangeredEmoji campaign was a viral hit that recorded 59,618 signups within the first couple of months. Over 1.6 Million people were encouraged to sign a petition to protect Virunga National Part and 560,000 #EndangeredEmoji and WWF mentions were seen at the campaign launch.
Another example is of Virgin Holidays, which used Live Videos to “Seize the Holiday” and demonstrated all the possibilities in the destinations serviced by the brand. With a major chunk of the population using Live Videos, it’s quite obvious that the brand is reinventing itself by using the latest technology.
These are some of the pitfalls you need to avoid as you set out to build your brand. Follow other brands’ success stories and learn lessons from their failures to create a memorable brand, the one which your target audience trusts and there’ll be no looking back! Have a brand story worth mentioning here? Do let us know in the comments!
Indrajeet is a content strategist who loves to write about digital marketing and how its various facets can be leveraged to drive business growth. He also provides strategic content support for B2B and B2C businesses to help them achieve their marketing goals. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.