Seven deadly sins of branding
Distinctive assets are those key elements of your brand that make it stand out. If you nurture and protect well-developed distinctive assets, you’ll stand out, no matter how crowded your market is. But, if you misuse or neglect those same assets, then you can very quickly undo all your careful identity building.
We all know the modern market is cluttered and competitive, and there’s always someone who wants the same corner as you do. In this kind of environment, very few businesses have a product that is genuinely unique, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a brand that is unique.
With more brands going global, competition is increasingly intense. But whatever you’re selling, and wherever your market, building brand identity is all about recognition.
For every brand, the elements that make you stand out are known as distinctive assets. These are not the product; rather, think of Nike’s swoosh, Cadbury’s royal purple, the curlicue of Coca-Cola’s calligraphy or those Golden Arches, whatever splash of colour, image or association that sets a brand apart and brings it instantly to mind.
If you nurture and protect well-developed distinctive assets, you’ll stand out, no matter how crowded your market is. On the other hand, if you misuse or neglect those same assets, then you can very quickly undo all your careful identity building.
Professor Jenni Romaniuk’s new book, Building Distinctive Brand Assets, helps brand managers navigate the strategy and tactics involved in building a strong brand identity. In her first chapter she outlines some unfortunate situations and scenarios to look out for, as they can derail managing your brand’s distinctive assets – meet the seven costly sins of brand identity…
Don’t steal brand assets (or let others steal yours!).
Thou shalt not covet thy competitor’s assets (or turn to them to create your own brand’s distinctive identity). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but knowing how to zag when your competition zigs is instrumental for building a strong distinctive asset. Equally important is that the same holds in reverse: learn how to manage the envy of others, such as when a competitor tries to imitate your brand. Your unique identity is precious, and another company stealing your style can compromise that identity as much as playing copycat yourself.
Too much of a good thing and your brand will break.
Gluttony is overindulgence, to the point of waste. Contradictory to the saying, you can have too much of a good thing, and gorging yourself on the thrill of playing around with your brand’s distinctive assets is just that. Constantly tweaking, testing and tinkering with these assets can be more harmful than ignoring them completely. A thousand cuts to your brand identity will lead to a slow death. And while a strong, stable asset may need careful tending from time to time, constantly changing it makes it harder for people to identify and connect with the brand.
Hone in on one asset and you can damage your brand.
A little pride is a good thing, especially if your brand is doing all it should do. But don’t let pride lead you to hang everything on a single distinctive asset – there is more to success than a celebrity endorsement or fancy tagline, and more to failure than an old-fashioned identity. Distinctive assets can help set you apart, but attributing growth or decline to them alone creates two problems. Firstly, it can blind you to the real cause, which means you aren’t solving the right problem or learning from a particular success in order to be able to replicate it. Secondly, attributing everything to the distinctive assets means you may be tempted into unnecessary change, which is likely to damage the brand’s long-term identity.
Read the full article on unisabusiness.