by Dave Taylor
Every brand has many aspects to how it is perceived in the marketplace. It can be easy to lose sight of some of those elements, especially in the rush of doing business every day. Yet companies should be careful not to let blind spots develop that can chip away at how their brand is performing. Here’s a list of five common blind spots that brands should avoid.
1. Listening only to your best customers. Or even worse, gathering no regular feedback at all. It’s human nature to focus on what we want to hear and dismiss what we don’t. But that can lead to a false sense of security. Be sure you are getting all sides of the story about your brand. That means researching every type of current and even former customers, if you can get them to talk with you. Another eye opener can be conducting research among loyal customers of your competition. Get ready for a cold shower, but expect to learn a lot about how your brand is perceived in the broader marketplace.
2. Believing that your brand experience is organic—it just happens. Certainly, everyone would like to think that their brand strategies are second nature and their brand culture is self-perpetuating. But that’s rarely the case for long. Without conscious attention to how your brand is tracking, it’s easy to lose focus, especially if your business is growing quickly or experiences seasonal ups and downs.
3. What you preach isn’t what you practice. A brand that claims to be economical but has high prices is a pretty obvious example. But what about claiming to have excellent customer service, yet no one can get a CSR on the phone? Or offering “custom solutions” when there are really only a couple of options available? Making claims that don’t align with performance will damage a brand quickly if not remedied.
4. Losing brand focus on social media. Every post to your company social media pages should be relevant and connected to your brand’s position and messaging. But it’s easy to lose focus and start posting about birthdays and babies, just as you might for a personal account. This is especially likely to happen if social media is treated as an afterthought in your marketing. It’s better for your brand to have fewer posts that are all brand-focused than to have twice the volume and half the relevance.
5. Internal documents. In so many cases, companies lack any brand discipline when it comes to internal documents like memos, agendas and PowerPoint presentations. There are two problems with this attitude. First, internal documents have a way of becoming external and can be a poor reflection on an otherwise carefully crafted brand. Even if the logo is correct, are the typefaces correct, as well as other formatting? Second, even if these documents don’t escape to the outside world, allowing freestyle interpretations of your brand sends the message to your staff that it’s OK to do what you want—and that is likely to come back to bite you soon, or even sooner than that.