Paul Friederichsen is the founder of BrandBiz, a company that specializes in PR, media strategy and placement, sales incentives, training and mobile marketing as well as social media. Visit his website www.brandbizinc.com
The 7 Brand Busters
Everyone's heard about the "7 Deadly Sins": wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Is there a list for brands? I've come up with a list of 7 that I call the "7 Brand Busters." These will take down a brand pretty quickly by diminishing its reputation, weakening its market position or alienating its followers.
These can be hard to detect, they can grow, have a way of spreading and can be deadly to brands. During tough economic times, brands can be especially vulnerable, just as drought can make plants susceptible to pests.
What are the 7 Brand Busters? Here they are from lowest to highest. See if your brand can identify with any of these ...
7. Low price. There's always someone or something cheaper. Cutting pricing diminishes value perception and is a path to becoming just another commodity. Brands must have value to remain brands.
6. Betrayal. This can take many forms, from changing your formula, to cheapening your product, to supporting the wrong cause. Remember, you actually don't "own" the brand ... your customer does.
5. Being cheap. Many brands will launch with huge ad campaigns and, once on enough shelves, will settle into a maintenance strategy of promotions. This is common in packaged goods and works. However, most often, brands suffering from inadequate advertising support will be like the weakling in the herd and will be easy prey for a competitor. You simply can't coast your way to greatness. Brands must have support.
4. Greed. Not all line extensions are bad; in fact they can help a brand evolve and grow. But sometimes brand managers get greedy, thinking that a strong brand can expand into an adjacent category and succeed. This can be a costly move if not carefully considered. Just visit any Big Lots!
3. Lack of continuity. Brand managers can have short attention spans, and grow tired of a campaign, a package design, or a logo long before its 'shelf life' has expired for the consumer. Depending on the category and purchase cycle, this can have a disorienting impact on consumers.
2. Broken promises. This can cover a celebrity endorser who's gone bad, product defects, lousy service records, or green washing. Brands carry an unspoken contract with the customer with certain expectations, most especially trust. Lose their trust and you lose their wallet. Witness the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the loss of Nike and Budweiser as sponsors. Armstrong is suspected of breaking his promise to his fans, therefore sponsors can have guilt by association. It's bad for business.
1. Poor service. It's all about relationships and interactions. Apple strives for a Ritz-Carlton level of service in its 350 stores. Take Apple's acronym for service: A=Approach with a personalized warm welcome, P=Probe politely to understand a customer's needs, P=Present a solution the customer can take home today, L=Listen for and resolve issues, E=End with a fond farewell and invitation to return. On a recent visit, my wife and I did not experience this and were a bit dismayed. Given that I'm such an Apple brand advocate, we'll be back. You see, my experience with Apple's product quality, high value, and previous service made the difference. But were we new to Apple, I doubt it.
It's interesting that a brand can do the opposite and excel on any or all of these 'Brand Busters' and succeed to some degree in the marketplace.
Edited by Admin 10/19/2012