Keep Brand Chaos From Eroding Your Innovation Platform
September 12, 2016 | by Chris Kalaboukis
Creating an innovative brand is a great way to build loyalty with your customers. For many companies, brands are the single most valuable asset. But once you’ve created a brand, that’s where the challenges kick in. And it can be a real headache if you don’t manage brands correctly.
These challenges come from both inside your organization as well as outside. For example, one of the most common problems marketing leaders have with brands is what I call brand chaos. It happens when new brands start popping up almost out of nowhere. And sadly, they have no consistent look or feel to your other brands. Then, one day, you’re flipping through your product catalog and see a mish mash of products and brands that having nothing to do with each other. Your brand architecture is in a state of anarchy.
How does it happen? Well, marketers love to create brands. It’s fun and exciting, and they like creating ones that are distinctive and unique. Let’s face it, they want to put their mark on something.
So they get together with their design team and branding agencies and throw a lot of money creating the next big thing. If left unchecked, you’ll experience brand chaos. It’s expensive to fix, and it can really confuse customers on what your brands mean.
Another common brand problem is when employees take one of your brand marks and create their own adapted version of it. In other words, they make it look different than the official version. A sales rep might put an altered brand mark in a presentation, or a marketer might change it slightly to fit on a package. The sources of this problem are many.
Brand chaos can also stem from things outside the company. If your competitors start attacking your brands by depositioning them, you have to fight back. For example, a competitor might begin an advertising campaign telling consumers that the benefits of your brand just aren’t that important. This type of depositioning strategy can lower your brand equity.
Another common problem is when some company copies your brand and creates counterfeit products and services. Consumers don’t know the difference, so you lose a sale each time they buy a fake product with your brand on it.
So how do you deal with these challenges? First, you need to create a Brand Book. Just as the name implies, the brand book is the complete story of the brand and all the elements that go into it.
It establishes strict guidelines on every aspect of how a company’s brand will be managed. This affects everything from how the logo can be used, the look of a website, how social media is used, advertising, product design, and so on. For details on how to create one, see the course, Branding Fundamentals.
Second, you need to appoint a strong brand champion, someone who is senior enough in your organization to regulate and monitor brand compliance and stop anyone who violates standards in the Brand Book.
And finally, you need a strong legal team, internal or external, that will go after counterfeiters or anyone that hijacks your brands for their own use.
Great branding is about making and keeping promises in a consistent way. That’s why great marketers do whatever they can to prevent brand chaos.