We love our brands. So much sometimes we can actually squeeze them too hard, or push them too far.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t love our brands. Our brands should be considered in every marketing activity that we pursue…and the very reason we don’t pursue others.
The fact is, our brands are as good as they are. They are what they are. Another way to say it is that our brands have a position in the minds of our customers. And that position should be continually supported, maintained, and hopefully, strengthened in their position.
To love your brand so much that you have a false perception of it is dangerous business. To have so much reverence for your brand that you think it can be anything you want it to be is a terrible mistake. To assume that you can suddenly decide that your well-established brand can move from its current position is a recipe for disaster. And to try to maintain and strengthen your current brand position, while stretching it to encompass new product/service categories, is not advisable. This endeavor can actually dilute your brand to the point where it can be dethroned as the category leader. Just ask Coca-Cola.
Very few companies have ever had any success at this feat. And, if you’re contemplating a position change, your brand better have the patience of a penguin, the brand good will of Mother Teresa and the resources of GE, who, by the way, has had success in repositioning.
In the B to B world, there are some exceptions. You will have to consider the weight and breadth of market pressures before deciding to move or extend your brand. Sometimes customers force you into peripheral product or service areas with little or weak competition. In these cases, you will be forced to divide your organization or reposition your brand.
Finally, love your brand enough to invest in marketing it. Tighten its identity with brilliant graphic design and a Web site that tells its unique story. If you use video production services, don’t skimp on development. Poor quality hurts even the value brands. And don’t be afraid to tell the media who you are and what you’re doing. Love your brand for what it is. It will love you back.
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