Temporary fixes are never the best solution

   When treating chickenpox, the cure doesn’t come in the form of a Band-Aid. Similarly, one common mistake in branding is focusing on one or more specific marketing pieces rather than re-evaluating the brand itself, much like covering up each of those red, itchy bumps with a Band-Aid instead of receiving a vaccine.
   In branding your company for success, temporary fixes are never the solution.
   One driving force that keeps a company existent is the strong connection with customers. If there is no awareness of your product or if brand awareness is low within your target audience, it’s time to identify what needs to be fixed.
   For example, a company in the bicycle industry that specializes in mountain bikes might have a new road bike that the target audience may not know about. If the customer did learn about the new road bike why should they believe that the company understands their needs on the road when they’ve always focused on bikes for the trail?
   This is where the biking company would want to re-evaluate their brand and clarify their target audience.
   Is the mountain bike company trying to sell to road bike customers?
   What about their existing customers in the mountain bike category?
   What will they think when the company is changing their focus?
   Are they now trying to focus on road cyclists as the primary audience?
   Clarifying these questions and addressing the needs of the audience(s) is critical in strengthening a long-term bond.
   This audience centralization creates brand and product awareness, thus strengthening your company’s bond with customers.
   However, it could be specific marketing communication tools that just aren’t working.
   Whether it be a logo that fails to represent your company or product effectively, a Web site that lacks clear navigation, packaging that falls short in grabbing your audience’s attention, or even an ineffective collateral system, clear and understandable marketing tools are critical assets in communicating with your target audience.
   The logo is one of the most crucial factors in identifying the company, as it is on almost every touch point that the customer comes in contact with.
   A commercial construction company strives for long-term stability but is not achieving this due to a number of factors including its ineffective logo.
   Its logo consisted of two saws and a utility paintbrush, suggesting that the company specialized in finish work rather than large commercial projects. Customers failed to recognize the correlation between the logo and the company’s services.
   Redesigning the logo also meant that the company’s stationery, vehicle graphics, Web site, advertising, uniforms, and other signage had to be redesigned to match the new logo in order to effectively convey the company’s positioning and offerings.
   Reconsider the effectiveness of your company’s marketing communication tools, as it is vital in attracting and keeping consumers.
   No matter what specific marketing tool needs revamping, maintaining a consistent image throughout all your marketing tools is essential in representing your company image, values, and personality.

   Things change within time, new products are made within time, and a brand can become outdated within time.
   If your company’s offerings, personality and values are no longer accurate for the brand or if positioning is needed to differentiate your company from other competitors, then it is certainly time to reposition your brand. A longtime modern furniture manufacturer has become dated and is no longer relevant to the audience. Their goal is to establish themselves as the dominant brand in the marketplace. In doing so, the company positioned themselves as being focused on contemporary styles, unique materials, and high price points.
   The goal here is to then develop a more appropriate image that is based on a clearly defined message. The company’s brand, core values, logo, and marketing tools, are all repositioned to convey a more contemporary image. This will lay the foundation for allowing the company to successfully become one of the market’s most recognized and demanded furniture manufacturers in the United States and eventually internationally.
   A consumer recognizes your company by your brand.
   In such a competitive market place, making sure that your brand is up to date, original, and distinctly different from competitors ensures your ability to connect with current and future customers.
   If your brand is experiencing one or more of these problems consider looking at the bigger picture instead of trying to solve one piece of the marketing puzzle.
   Fixing isolated projects may trigger a tumbling effect, causing you to fix different marketing tools over and over again until you clarify the brand itself. This may lead to a great deal of stress, lost time, and lost marketing dollars.
   In a country where nearly 800,000 companies are created each year, never settle for temporary fixes. Look for an outside partner whom you can trust, who will be able to uncover your problems and solve them.
   The best firms don’t use Band-Aids to fix your problems. Instead, they use a proprietary process that can identify a brand strategy for your company and that allow for appropriate design solutions.
   These design solutions can then be applied with confidence to specific marketing pieces that connect with your audience, making the best use of your marketing dollars in order to achieve results quickly and successfully.

Don Drake has spent twenty years working in executive roles in philanthropy. He served as president of Whatcom Community Foundation from 1997 until September 2005.

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