I was talking with a friend about a few lifestyle changes that I planned to make in light of the New Year. He said to me, “If you don’t make changes, you can expect more of the same.” While it sounded like great advice at the moment, something about it didn’t quite sit right with me.
Recently, I was reading a Food Dive article that calls out three brands—Carl’s Jr., RadioShack, and Ticketmaster—for failing to evolve their brand strategy and seeming to expect continued success.
Wait. What about “If you don’t make changes, you can expect more of the same”? This is what wasn’t sitting right with me. This failure to apply across all contexts is what makes a cliché a cliché. This saying was wisdom when it comes to eating better and losing weight but bad advice when it comes to branding.
These once-successful brands have failed to evolve with industry, consumer attitudes, lifestyles, and technology. Why does this matter? Because a brand is as much about what your consumer and your culture—your marketplace—feel and say about you as what you do.
Businesses know that they need to invest in people, products, buildings, technology, and other resources, yet they’re often hesitant to invest in their brand, one of the fundamental elements that defines their value and helps ensure their survival. There are a lot of reasons for this, of course, from risk tolerance to a failure to understand the power of the intangible. What’s never a good reason, though, is to act as if a brand doesn’t matter, that it will take care of itself.
Your brand, to be as succinct as possible, dictates your financial success by determining your position in the marketplace. Unless your product or service is unique (and even that scenario has a running meter), your brand is the reason your business will grow.
Many brand owners over the years have told me a version of “We’re doing great. Our brand is great. We just need a few changes here and there to boost sales. We can look at our brand later.” I’ve learned that “later” almost always ends up being the introduction of financial conflict, an unexpected, costly pain that could have been avoided by tending to the brand as a matter of business strategy rather than triage, by investing in brand strategy rather than brand procrastination.
If you don’t make changes, you can expect more of the same. If you’re a “brand later” type of company, expect more of the same costly fixes (and in some cases, like RadioShack, unfixable costs). At MarketPlace, we consider your brand strategy part of your business strategy, and we’d love to talk about ways to tend to your brand strategy now to set up your business for ongoing, evolving success.