6 Reasons Your Marketing Is Failing
By ANGELA MERZIB
Or two hours of your day spent at a networking meeting that you’ll never get back, and oh there’s those “Let’s get together for coffee to see how we can help each other” lunch dates that lead to zilch.
Ugh, all of this time, effort and money spent on promoting your business when it doesn’t result in any paid work can be so frustrating! 😫
Have you ever been in this crazy-making situation? If you have, I bet there’s one key element you’re overlooking about marketing your business… your brand!
My Brand? Isn’t that my logo? Uh, no, it’s like… so much more.
A brand is recognition, reputation & differentiation of a company and its products or services among its competitors that results in a customer’s decision to purchase one product/service over another.
Branding is NOT just creating a logo or byline statement or a symbol. It is the creation of an experience that will make the customer want more and more of your brand.
This experience is rooted in everything your business does in order to create strong positive emotions, something that can lead the customer to trust and become loyal to it.
The first thing that qualifies a company or product to be a brand is the ability to create and be associated with emotions. The second is a preference for the brand regardless of price or convenience.
Your business’s purpose, focus, customer experience, communication, reputation and image all combine to create your brand.
Think of marketing as the marriage proposal and branding as the reason they say yes.
Marketing and branding are two sides to the same coin and a great brand is the jet-fuel that propels a great marketing campaign.
What are you all about? What’s your reputation & message? How are you presenting yourself? What is your personality? How are you wooing your customer? All of these things create your brand, it’s what will make them say “yes”!
So, why should you make this effort? Why not just make a pretty logo and a website and be done with it?
Well, the strength, or lack thereof, of your brand may be the reason your marketing isn’t getting you any results. Your brand may be missing some or all of the key ingredients listed below.
1. You are easily forgotten
It’s hard to remember a company with a generic name, purpose and business focus.
And why would you hire a company if you couldn’t tell what they did and who they did it for?
Branding your business ensures consumers will know what you’re all about, who you’re for and what they will get.
Knowing what you stand for can help you stand out.
Some of the key questions we ask our clients to help differentiate them are:
What do you stand for?
What do you stand against?
What makes you “talkaboutable?”
What do you offer that your customers can’t get anywhere else?
If you’ve never taken the time to answer these questions for your business you will have a forgettable brand that will get washed away in the sea of sameness.
2. No one knows what you’re all about
The fact is, people build close bonds with brands they like and that fit who they are or who they want to be.
Consumers want to do business with brands they trust and identify with. So, your business should have an identity that your customers can cling to.
Your brand is much bigger than just what you do as a company. What you do or how you do it may change over time but why you do it will stay consistent, and people buy why you do what you do.
When correctly developed your brand reveals and reflects your values and beliefs with your customers which creates an emotional connection with them that inspires loyalty and advocacy. ⠀
This has to flow from what the company truly is at its core. Customers are savvy and can tell when your values are forced or misaligned with the way you’re representing yourself — you have to be genuine.
The best known and most successful brands exist for reasons that go beyond making money and they do a great job of showing who they are.
So what is the deeper reason your company exists? What values does your company hold that if they were to stop, the whole business would cease to exist?
Did you know customers who identify with your core values will buy on average 8x more from you?
3. You’re inconsistent & therefore unknown
If you line up your website, brochure, facebook ads and business cards nothing looks the same. The fonts, colors and overall look and feel are all over the place.
How is anyone supposed to know these are all you or remember you when you look different each time you show up?
You want the people who have not done business with you to know who you are and what you do each time they see your business represented in your marketing.
If they see your ads on Facebook, hear them on radio, see them on television, or any other media, they will know your brand.
This is where consistency is key, your audience should be able to cover up your logo from your ads and still know it’s you.
The consistency in brand recognition will ensure that when the time comes that they need your product or service, your company will be the first to come to mind.
4. You’re not relatable and human
Just like in our relationships, people connect with brands they know, like and trust.
Steve Jobs talked about a product more like a person than like a product.
When he introduced a new product like the iPad, he said “You can do this with iPad.” Not “You can do this with AN iPad.”
Companies like Geico have developed a gekko character to make them more connect worthy. Hotels.com has Captain Obvious for the same reason.
Characters are intended to help their audience connect with the brand. Human properties bring a high level of attraction and loyalty to a brand.
Ok, so you don’t need to go renting a mascot suit for your business but do think about how you can create a brand experience with personality.
People relate to people, not things, and since your customers are people, your brand needs to relate to them on a human level.
You may have a great product or service but we believe that companies must reveal more about “who” they are and “why” they exist so they can relate to and connect with their customers on an emotional level.
What is the personality of your brand?
5. You have no discernable reputation
Consumers pay for image and status. They are constantly asking themselves “If I buy this, what does that say about me?” “How will this elevate or lower my status.”
We are a very brand aware society and we love brands that improve their social currency. People commonly associate brand names with quality and may only buy certain brands for that reason.
Remember back in the early 2000s when you saw someone on the subway that was proudly wearing those iconic white headphones, you knew they had an iPhone and you thought that was pretty snazzy and wanted to be cool like them.
Furthermore, you would pay whatever price they were charging to get them! (These days the equivalent would be wireless airpods).
If people only want one brand of a particular product or service, they are willing to pay a higher price. When you have a strong brand with a superior image you are essentially competition-proofing your business!
A differentiated brand is one that doesn’t have to compete on price because there is no real replacement for it. Comparing it to other brands is like comparing apples to oranges.
Are there replacements for Apple? Nike? Starbucks?
Is it because we can’t find computers, shoes or coffee from any other companies? No.
It’s because Nike stands for something. Apple stands for something. Starbucks stands for something. And we remember those intangibles and connect with them on a subconscious level.
We buy those brands because we like what they say about who we are.
These are companies that have taken the time to develop their brand reputation so that when you hear the name you immediately are reminded of and connected to their values.
A brand is a shortcut to who you are, what you represent and the unique value that you give to your customers. What signals are you putting out there?
6. You’re trying to be all things to all people
When I ask clients who their ideal customers are I usually get very vague answers. They may as well be saying “Anyone with a heartbeat and a wallet.”
Well, unfortunately that isn’t going to get you very far in business these days.
Just like in life, in business, you can’t try to be all things to all people.
If you haven’t decided just who your product or service is for then you risk sounding too generic in your marketing and not appealing to anyone at all!
Seth Godin wisely proclaims that “A brand that stands for everything stands for nothing much at all.” And he is correct!
The most successful and differentiated brands are able to answer these 4 questions:
Who am i?
What do I do?
Who do I do it for?
Why should they care?
A company that tries to serve everyone is really serving no one and risks becoming obsolete. (Remember Sears, Radio Shack and Kodak?)
By establishing your ideal audience you ensure that your marketing is more focused and targeted.
This means you can speak to and target a specific group of people in their voice, tone and language whose problems you are familiar with rather than shouting at everyone in a generic way and hoping something will land.
It’s the difference between shooting a sniper rifle vs. a shotgun.
A strong brand has incredible power
Every day for a business is a battle for your customers’ attention.
Strong branding can help you win that battle and not fall behind the pack.
If you consider the points above and start strengthening your brand not only will your marketing bring in more leads, you will require less marketing dollars to do so.
You’ll create a preference in your customer’s mind, make brand advocates, and be able to charge a premium for your products or services.
Cha-ching! 💰That’s the power of a strong brand!
Take our quick assessment here to see how your brand measures up and where you can improve.
Need help creating a strong brand?
Schedule a free consultation with us and we’d be happy to help!