Only when a brand stands for something, can it establish itself in your audience’s mind.
You’ve done a great job if your brand has taken up some form of mental real estate of your consumer. This is a commendable feat because it takes great effort and time (years usually) to build a brand and to concretely embed a characteristic of a brand, in your consumer’s mind. One thing you need to remember however, is that there is always the likelihood of the market changing. As a marketer, it is not wise to change your brands positioning with the changing market.
As tempting as it may be, you’ve worked way too hard to create the brand positioning that you already have! Too many times, companies have tried to follow a new trend and have damaged their brand…
Just take a look at this list of “10 of the Worst Product Flops Ever”. Notice how with every product failure, the idea pretty much stemmed from ‘trying to go with the trend’, and deviating from CORE characteristics for which the brands are known for.
One of my favorite examples of a company who has fallen victim to this idea, over and over again, is McDonalds. Ever since I can remember, McDonald’s has been known for being a family burger place that appeals mainly to children. Whereas their competitors, Wendy’s and Burger King, have always appealed to the adult market. So obviously, McDonald’s began questioning why they were limiting their products to just children.
They began thinking that they’re capable of changing with the adult burger trend and competing in other territories. This triggered the release of products like the McLobster, the Arch Deluxe, the McPizza, the McHotDog,…and the list continues. Do you remember of any of these? If you do, can you still go and get any of these from a McDonald’s?
They all failed because McDonald’s didn’t stay consistent in their brand’s image. They spent over a 100 million dollars on the Arch Deluxe’s advertising campaigns in attempts to display it as a burger ‘for adults’, but even a 100 million dollars later, their consumers were unwilling to allow a deviation in what the original McDonald’s brand had already implanted in their mind over years and years of branding – that it WAS and IS a kid-oriented brand.
How can you spend YEARS positioning yourself as one thing, and expect to change that with one product, almost instantly, by unleashing loads of advertising at your audience? Temptation and especially boredom, can often take over, and make you feel like you need your brand to change. But remember, when you choose that path, chances are you will fail, because you’re stepping away from standing for something simple and focused in your consumer’s MIND.
When McDonald’s released the McLobster and the Arch Deluxe, it stepped away from standing for something simple and focused in the consumer’s mind. When Volvo, the car known for ‘safety’, launched a line of sports cars, including a convertible, it stepped away from standing for something simple and focused in the consumer’s mind.
Narrowing the focus of your brand and being consistent with it for years to come, is an important factor in the art of building and embedding your brand in the mind of your consumer.