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Branding: A Lesson In What Not To Do

BRANDING. It’s critical to an organization’s DNA and overall success. Today’s leaders know that the quality and perception of their brand is important at so many levels. Afterall, your brand is a direct reflection on how your mission and vision are lived out. The DC team has worked with hundreds of organizations of all shapes and sizes… we’ve seen it all when it comes to branding done right… and branding gone wrong.

Through many DC partnerships, there has been one constant when it comes to branding. Everyone, at some point, realizes their brand is not being represented clearly with relevance, purpose, and excellence.

The NY Times Bestselling book “Good to Great” challenges organizations to embrace their realities… the good and the bad. Let’s look at the different stages in which organizations may find their brand and learn what not to do….

OLD SCHOOL. This brand finds the community around them changing rapidly and they have done little to stay relevant to the change. It’s typically harder for this brand to be dynamic and relevant because their perspective is behind the times. Younger audiences find it challenging to fully engage their Old School or outdated approaches.

FRAGMENTED. This brand is broken into so many pieces that it’s hard to discern who it really is. Their fragmentation of messages and identity tends to create more challenges and obstacles for everyone. We often hear fragmented brands find it more difficult to connect internally and externally because of the noise and multitude of mixed, inconsistent messages.

COMPLACENT. This brand has had success and they have ridden that model of success so long that complacency now becomes a barrier to growth and connection. The complacent brand is most comfortable with the way it’s always been done. Inevitably, complacency ends up limiting mission and vision potential at some point.

UNDERVALUED. This brand knows who they are and is likely executing their mission yet they are unable to leverage and build momentum from their strengths and cultural assets. Often times, their identity is known by many but may not be known by others within their tribe.

TRENDY. This brand is focused on keeping up with the trends of other models rather than creating their own unique brand. The trendy brand can create skepticism for people searching for substance over sizzle. Chasing trends often limits the ability to dig deeper for genuine authenticity.

DUPLICATED. The duplicated brand has taken the easy road when it comes to branding… they simply copied a brand from another model from across the country. These organizations have a brand but it’s not their brand. There will come a point in which the duplicated brand begins to show some cracks because their unique culture and distinctives has been masked by someone else’s brand.

INTROVERTED. This introverted brand operates in a silo. They likely have solid organizational culture within the their confines. But to those beyond their walls, many wonder who and what they are about. Introverted brands are often “well kept secrets” within the community.

VISIONLESS. This is the brand in which their brand reflects lack of clarity for who they are and where they are going. The visionless brand is often overlooked and unseen in the community. They also run the risk of losing followers because it’s apparent they do not truly know and express their calling effectively.

As you can see, brands are positioned in so many different ways… often times to the detriment of their missional goals and values.

So what’s the honest assessment of your brand?

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