5 reasons your brand sucks

…too harsh? There are, of course, brands that inspire, educate, and empower; however, all too often companies large and small confuse, bore, and fade into obscurity. Here are five common ways in which companies botch their brands.

1. The “vanilla” brand

Passive, blasé, and SAFE. The Vanilla Brand seeks to be everything to everyone, never to offend or risk its carefully contrived objectivity by taking a stand or having a point-of-view. If they were pants, they would be your box-fit, off-the-rack khakis. Uninspired brands such as this fail to make any impression with consumers (never mind their target audiences). Be better than khakis.

2. The “convoluted” brand

Some businesses are inherently more complicated than others—this is true. But whether you are selling turnips off the interstate or an elaborate B2B SAAS solution, clarity is key. It can be tempting to try and shoehorn seemingly disparate product features and proof-points into your communications as ways of further convincing people to buy your goods, but the fact of the matter is that this practice generally serves to complicate the true value of your brand.

3. The “misleading” brand

It’s great for your brand to have standards and values; however, if you say one thing (“we pride ourselves on having great customer service!”) and do another (“no one answered the phone when I called!”) your reputation is going to suffer, big-time. This can do serious damage to your brand’s integrity, for failing to deliver on your stated promises (even if by accident) can be perceived as deceitful and dishonest.

4. The “me too” brand

Brands that conspicuously try and piggyback on either another company’s messaging success or a trending social cause are, at best, mocked, or crucified by the media at worst. In the vast majority of cases, people only remember the brands that are first to market with an idea; the others that follow are either overlooked or derided as imitators. A quick Google search will show you how spectacularly some brands have, even with the best intentions, crashed and burned with imitative ideas.

5. The “out of touch” brand

They’ll say things like “Sure! We know what our customers want to hear!” while failing to connect with a large chunk of those that their product or service would most resonate with; thus, missing HUGE opportunities for awareness and growth. There are times when going with your gut is the right thing to do; however, performing some research to validate a hypothesis will indubitably help increase the odds that the groundbreaking idea for your brand essence hits the mark.

Though it can often be tricky navigating the perilous waters of branding, doing so with creativity, clarity, and confidence can be a rewarding experience that yields great results for your business.