Why do brands fail? As one might expect, the cause is often one or many common brand problems combined.
Earlier on Branding Strategy Insider we identified and analyzed the most common (and most notorious) problems in brand management. We counted them down in detail in a series called the 40 Most Common Brand Problems. (Which grew to 41) Now, in hopes you will not make any mistakes in building your brand(s), here’s an an encore of the 41 problems that cause and or contribute to brand failure.
- Not delivering against the communicated brand promise.
- Not linking brand planning to the business’ strategic planning process.
- Decreased product or service quality, the cumulative result of gradual and incremental changes to reduce costs.
- Increased product or service prices inviting low-end market segments and competitors, the cumulative result of gradually raising prices at a rate greater than inflation.
- The brand is gradually undermined by quarter-over-quarter revenue and profit pressures.
- Limiting the brand to one channel of distribution or aligning the brand too closely with a declining channel of trade.
- Failure to extend the brand into new product categories when the core category is in decline.
- Completely blurring the brand’s meaning and points of distinction by over-extending your brand into different categories and markets.
- Not applying the latest product and service innovations to your flagship brand because it is getting too old and stodgy (a self-fulfilling prophecy)
- Creating brands or sub-brands for internal or trade reasons, rather than to address distinct consumer needs.
- Launching sub-brands that inadvertently reposition the parent brand in a negative light.
- Unsuccessfully extending the brand up to a premium segment or down to a value segment.
- For market leader: Following challengers because it’s easier and produces more immediate results, rather than creating new ways to meet consumer needs.
- Not keeping up with the industry on product or service innovation.
- Decisions that adversely affect the brand are made outside of the brand management context.
- Senior managers do not understand what the brand stands for.
- Viewing brand equity management as a communications exercise, but ignoring it in other business processes and points of contact with the consumer.
- Licensing the brand name out to whomever will pay for it.
- Applying branding decisions at the end of the product development process (“Now, what will we name this?”) versus treating brand management as the key driver of all of your enterprise’s activities.
- Confusing brand management with product management.
- No person or department has responsibility for the brand. It lacks internal mindshare, supervision, and management.
- Treating brand management primarily as logo cops.
- Well thought-out marketing decisions are second guessed by non-marketers who think marketing is a matter of opinion rather than an art and a science in which experience matters.
- Defining your target consumer too broadly (for instance, women ages 18-65)
- Not really understanding the consumer, his needs, and motivations.
- Defining your brand too narrowly, especially as a product category (for instance, greeting cards versus caring shared)
- Marketing is divided into functional silos (advertising, promotion, brand management, product development, publicity, etc.) with no integrating mechanism.
- No central control of the brand portfolio (so that each brand team is free to apply the best differentiating features of one brand to each of the others in the portfolio)
- Choosing generic (non-proprietary) brand names.
- No brand identity standards and systems means inconsistent presentation and customer confusion.
- Trying to be the best at something, especially core category benefits, rather than owning a differentiating quality.
- Trying to own cost-of-entry benefits and not owning any differentiating benefits.
- Focusing too much on product attributes and not enough on brand benefits in consumer communication.
- Trying to make too many points in your brand communication rather than focusing on the one or two most compelling points of difference.
- Frequently changing your brands positioning and message.
- Loss of brand equity because of reduced or eliminated brand advertising.
- Overexposing the brand to the point that it becomes uncool.
- Spending too much money on trade deals and sales promotion at the expense of brand building.
- Being attacked by special interest groups who want to make a public statement.
- Branding decisions are ego- versus analysis-driven.
- Criteria for selecting the right brand manager for the job is weak or flawed.
Once again, you can find the 41 Most Common Brand Problems in detail here.
Did we miss any?
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Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education