You know when something’s out of alignment. Whether it’s your back or your tires, it just doesn’t feel right. If left untreated or unrepaired, it can even cause long-term damage. In the branding world, having your messaging out of alignment or a brand that isn’t conducive to a memorable customer experience can create long-term damage in the form of reputation issues or problems gaining traction and support for your product or service in the marketplace.
With that being said, brand and messaging alignment don’t exactly give you a clear signal that “there’s definitely a mismatch here”. There are, however, major symptoms that, if you don’t notice them, will keep you spinning your branding wheels in the mud. They are:
Corporate Messaging that Overshadows Individual Branding Efforts
For smaller businesses, this isn’t such an issue, since they likely have one complete branding focus. But for medium or larger companies who have several product offshoots each with their own tone and messaging, it can be hard to differentiate them from the main brand, or if the brand tone is too far away from the corporate focus, it can be too hard to tie them together so that when a person thinks of Product A, they automatically think of Company Name.
It can be a delicate balance to maintain, but it’s possible by approaching product branding as the spokes of a wheel — they feed into each other. A wheel can’t exist without spokes and spokes don’t get very far without a wheel.
Brands that are Weak, Stale or Unmemorable
If you pour a lot of resources into building your brand, but it’s just not having the effect you hoped for (at least, not instantly), you can get burned out on trying to keep it afloat. Branding is just as much about motivation as it is the outward, customer-facing part of the brand. If you, the company owner, marketing head or executive don’t feel a connection between your brand and product, then why should customers feel the same?
Sometimes brands need a strong foundation. Sometimes they need a refresher or an innovative angle. Every brand is different and there is no “one size fits all” approach that works for each one. That’s why it’s so important to work with a branding specialist to get a new, vibrant set of eyes to look from both the outside in, as well as the inside out.
Products or Services that Don’t Match What Customers Need
If you remember the Apple of the 90s, you certainly wouldn’t consider it much of a contender in the computer world. Even then, Apple and Jobs’ other company, NeXt, tried very hard to release what they believed customers wanted. And therein lies the problem.
What they believed customers wanted.
Customers didn’t necessarily want a high-priced computer. They didn’t want an untested video game console with few games (and a huge price tag). They didn’t want a personal digital assistant riddled with errors, no matter how innovative the handwriting aspect of the Apple Newton was.
It wasn’t until the iPod that Apple finally created a plan and actually followed through on it, rather than releasing what they thought people wanted. The iPod was simple, and it did what it said on the tin. It didn’t try to pack in anything uniquely innovative or earth-shattering, and the price was affordable.
Most importantly, it unified computer and music player and kept them both up to date, automatically. That wasn’t necessarily innovative but it simplified something that ordinarily took lots of steps and seldom worked, and the fact that Apple got that right is what got people on board with the iPod over portable CD players.
You’re Trying to Innovate Too Quickly Too Soon in Your Industry
Likewise, people like to point to Apple as the pinnacle of innovation. But whether it’s the iPod or something as groundbreaking as the automobile, history is littered with companies that tried to innovate too fast and people just weren’t receptive to the idea.
These days, we can’t imagine a world without cars, but early on, people wondered why trade in something as reliable as a horse for unproven mechanical gadgets? Even now, we use the term “horsepower” to refer to the rate of power of an engine. That’s not to say that we should forego the new in favor of the old, but it’s a process that has to happen gradually. Innovation isn’t born overnight.
You Have a Solution that’s a Solid Fit for Your Market, But No One Knows About It
This is less of a problem with brand messaging and more of a problem of exposure. You’ve got a great product or service. You’ve got a hungry market. But you’re having problems bridging the gap between the two. Whether you’re a startup, a small business or even larger, it can take a toll on you to try to maintain your solution and market it at the same time.
How Can You Fix Brand Messaging Problems?
The good news is that all of these issues can be fixed with on-point, targeted and on-demand growth marketing. At Workdom, we specialize in helping small businesses and enterprise companies alike refine, hone and grow their brands in a variety of industries. With our chat-based solution, you can get work done quickly, reliably, on-time and on-budget by a team of specialized, focused marketing professionals. Send us a message today to learn more about how we can help with all of your brand and messaging alignment, no matter what you have to sell or say!