Reasons Brands Fail: #7 Not Thinking Long Term
You are ready to unveil your new brand. Your employees are aligned and primed to deliver on your brand promise. Sound research has helped you position your brand in the current marketplace, and you have committed financial resources to launch your brand appropriately.
Surely, your brand won’t fail. Right?
The seventh reason your brand could land in trouble – and the final installment in this Ward to the Wise series – is not thinking long term.
Lack of forward thinking has been the downfall of many brands. No one can fully predict market conditions or giant leaps in technology, but incorporating industry and customer trends as well as your plan for growth into your brand strategy will make it stronger and more enduring.
Plan with the future in mind
What has been said before bears repeating now — creating a useable brand is about having a long-term goal for success, not a short-sighted reaction to current feedback.
The goal of any successful business entity is to grow, but will you expand into new industries or go global? Be focused on a single vertical market? What role will technology play in your growth? What are reasonable expectations your customers will have of your team to help them deal with new trends? Each of these factors will have a definite impact on the delivery of your brand promise and must be thoughtfully merged with your brand strategy.
You must also assess external factors that will impact the perception of your brand.
- Your customers – People change, so at some point your business will need to adapt either to remain relevant to current customers or win new ones. And this will happen faster than you think. How will your brand hold up as your customers change and evolve? Will it continue to speak to new customers, or is your brand focused solely on your current audience?
- Your industry’s volatility – Every industry has peaks and valleys. How often and dramatic are the swings in your sector? How well will your brand translate to potential customers at either extreme? What kind of game-changing industry shifts are already underway? Positioning your brand for the inevitable changes in your industry will put you a step ahead of any competition too tied to today’s realities.
- The economy – During a slow economy would customers consider your product or service a luxury item? In a healthy economy, would you be favorably positioned if cost was not the primary purchasing driver?
- Technology development – Are you so tightly tied to today’s technology that a sudden shift would make your brand irrelevant? Future technology advancements may be the most difficult factors to predict, but by continually scanning the business landscape, you can react in time to withstand dramatic changes in technology. Or better yet, identify a technology opportunity to leverage your core competency.
Without thinking long term on all these fronts, your brand will be stuck in a moment in time, and you will either soon find yourself reverse-engineering your brand strategy or watching your brand slowly fail.
Keep an eye on the horizon
Consider ships at sea. Before leaving port, the captain maps a course to navigate around known hazards and adverse weather conditions, and while at sea, he scans the far horizon for new hazards in his path. By identifying these impediments or sea changes early, he is able to chart a course to safely sail forward. And to most passengers on board, his minor, albeit critical, corrections are almost imperceptible.
The same diligence must be used to protect your brand. If you don’t monitor conditions and make strategic adjustments at the right time, you will soon find yourself in an ice field with a “Titanic” problem on your hands.
Do you need some help looking long term? Contact Ward for insight into brand development and follow-through. We can help get the conversation started and get you thinking about how best to position your brand now and for the future.
And check back in with Ward to the Wise next week when we begin a new 12-week series about working with today’s media.