From a cluttered home page of your website to outdated research to a wonky mission statement.
They are just some of the signs your brand could be in trouble. And that it even could be time for a branding overhaul.
Herewith are seven telltale signs that soon it could be time to rebrand:
(1) If there are more variations of your logo in use at one time than Lady Gaga has outrageous outfits.
Gather together an example of everywhere your logo appears in digital and traditional forms, and see what you’ve got.
If there are more than two versions in use (which is only allowing for a vertical or narrow format and a horizontal one), it could be a sign that your brand concept is losing precision.
Your logo is just the visual beginning of the brand concept, but if it’s not even consistent with color or size of the mark, or it has acquired extraneous decorations, this can be a symptom of much deeper issues affecting the focus of your brand message and brand experience.
(2) If the home page of your website resembles a classroom full of kids yelling, “Pick me!” and “No! Pick me!”
I know, I know, it didn’t start out that way. The original design seemed simpler and to the point.
But then that new product line came along, and then a blog, and then this, and then that, and pretty soon every square inch of your home page is clamoring for attention.
This is a surefire sign that your brand ideals are getting lost as your well-meaning marketers scramble for real estate on the home page.
Another sure sign of trouble: Nobody knows how many emails are being sent to your customers in a year.
(3) If your mission statement sounds remarkably like the generic example in “Mission Statements for Dummies.”
So let me guess: We seek to be the industry leader in high-value, competitively priced Product A and/or Service B, with sustainable business practices and a focus on our employees as our most valuable asset.
Let’s hope not, but many strategic planning sessions have ended up in a place like that.
Weak or generic mission statements often are the unstable foundation of a low-powered brand.
(4) If your employees think that brand culture is something you grow in a petri dish.
Here’s a quick way to gauge the strength of your culture.
If your employees talk about management in the third person, as in, “That’s the way they want us to do things now,” then your brand culture could be in trouble.
Strong brands have inclusive cultures where everyone is on board, as in, “We’re really excited about what this new product will do for our customers.”
Not every employee is going to be able to recite an elevator speech on demand, but anyone who interacts with customers or suppliers (in other words, the outside world) should have a clear sense of your brand culture and want to be a part of it.
(5) If your company’s principal brand research is based on the number of likes on your Facebook page.
Understanding your customers’ and prospects’ perceptions of your brand is critical to managing it well.
The biggest brands never stop asking, “How are we doing?” And I don’t just mean automated exit surveys, though they have their place.
Periodic, qualitative research using provocative questioning rather than passive surveys can do wonders to bring insight to where your brand is and where it might be headed.
Certainly what you think of your brand matters, but what your customers and prospects think matters more.
(6) If you ask “What do we stand for?” and everyone just sits there.
Not a good sign. Your basic premise as a company — which is not your slogan, for Pete’s sake — should be top-of-mind for your organization, especially its leadership.
The day-to-day process of running a business can make it easy to get away from the original vision of your brand. But if your basic brand values are in question, it could be time to get back to them, or reshape them for the future.
(7) If sales is blaming marketing, and marketing is blaming sales for lackluster performance.
The problem could be both, or it could be the brand isn’t compelling enough to prospects and isn’t generating enough loyalty with customers.
Strong brand concepts may change little at their core, but the marketing (and selling) of them can change dramatically because of evolution in technology, competition and customer demands. A brand message that worked a few years ago may need to be updated or reinterpreted.
Something as simple as a decrease in lead conversion could mean your sales team needs to sharpen its approach, or it could be a sign that your brand could use a second opinion.
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