Okay folks, this one is going to be short and sweet and to the point. No time as I need to get to a WHY party (aka kid football party). However, this is a topic near and dear to my heart and it is starting to drive me nuts. In the last 3 hours I have received emails from 3 different companies that I have subscribed their email updates. All three are in the midst of changing their brands. They have done such in a hurry and it shows.
Stop the random acts of branding, seriously!
A brand is not built overnight. A brand should align with and support your business goals, objectives, identity, what you can offer your customers and partners. It should help support and create an identity of YOU! It should be unique, have a plan and a purpose.
Wikipedia Definition of Brand:
A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan. The word brand began simply as a way to tell one person's cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. A legally protected brand name is called a trademark. The word brand has continued to evolve to encompass identity – it affects the personality of a product, company or service.
15 Hints You are Guilty of Random Acts of Branding (RABs)
1. You make midnight changes to your logo and launch the next morning on Facebook.
2. Your new logo does not match any of your other colors or fonts… yet you launch the lame midnight logo anyway.
3. You leave a networking group and feel some competitive pressure, so you decide it's time for a website overhaul which lead to the logo change.
4. You have no plan for your new website or logo overhaul.
5. You developed your new logo and/or brand elements in Powerpoint. You did a screen capture of the image from Powerpoint because you don't know how to create a .jpeg or .png file.
6. You have no idea how you are going to modify the rest of your brand elements to match your now launched but terrible logo.
7. You don't know what to do with your ugly logo you launched. Nobody responded to the email asking for feedback.
8. You don't really have good Adobe Photoshop or design skills yet you do all of your own graphic design work.
9. You have no formal training or real business experience on brand, marketing or design yet you do all of your own plus your clients design and brand work.
10. It doesn't really bother you that all of the above is true. Your thought is “it's just colors, people know what I can really do.”
11. You think it's cool to be just like your competitors. You also figure it's easy to copy them so why not do it.
12. You think your market will think you are the same as your competitiors if you just copy/paste their experience and make it your own.
13. You think it would take too much time to put a real brand strategy together.
14. You think by copying your competitors brand people will think you're just like them even if they double your experience, have twice the team and real branding skills.
15. I am annoying you with all of these statement because they are true. You want to think I am wrong, but you know deep down in your heart I am right.
Be your own brand people! Stop copying other people's content. Stop throwing out logos at midnight. Quit overhauling your brand in a day. Not only are you risking copyright infringement but you are also diluting your brand to the Nth degree! Take the time to build your own brand. Invest in your greatest asset which is your own business.
Brands are not built overnight. Take the time to differentiate yourself and your services. Copying a competitor is only going to help the competitor you are copying as you are building their brand and messages when you copy such. This strategy is a recipe for disaster and will put you out of business very quick or slow and painful. Either way it won't be pretty, trust me.
Focus on what it is you can offer your customers that is unique! How can you better deliver a specific service? What are the core differentiators, benefits and features of your business?
Focus on yourself, your core strengths and how they can help your customers. Focus on the near term and short term value. Focus on your own personality. Create your own brand with a personality that represents you. Don't create a brand that is developed based on your limited skills of Photoshop at midnight.
What are your thoughts?
Are you seeing more Random Acts of Branding? Have you differentiated your brand? Or are you guilty of much of the above? Be honest with yourself, it's the only path to success!