In our previous blog post, we discussed methods for determining whether or not it is necessary to make changes to your existing branding and marketing. Entrepreneurs are constantly overwhelmed with business advice, new strategies, and plans for boosting the bottom line of a small business. Sometimes it can feel like implementing changes based on a new business strategy or plan will be just the boost your business needs to become wildly successful. Yet we all know that some things are simply too good to be true, and there aren’t really magic strategies or formulas that will lead to sudden, overnight success.

Be Consistent With Your Marketing

When it comes to your branding and marketing, you may believe that your existing brand elements and marketing are ineffective, and a radical new approach is necessary. However, the opposite could be true: your branding could be perfectly fine, but your business could be failing to live up to the commitments and promises you’re making with your branding and marketing. If this is true, then changing or even upheaving your brand could be expensive, destabilizing to your business, and ultimately ineffective. How do you determine if your business is failing to live up to your branding and marketing, and how can you determine if your business or your brand should be changed?

Are Your Commitments And Promises Realistic And Achievable?

You may be asking yourself, what commitments and promises am I making through my branding and marketing? To answer this question, carefully consider what value you deliver to your customers and what differentiates you from your competitors. For instance, Coca-Cola has developed an iconic and consistently successful brand based around the ideals of fun, pleasure, and familiarity. Most of us have enjoyed a Coke at least once in our lifetime, and we normally associate a bubbly, sugary beverage with fun activities such as going to the movies, eating in a restaurant, or visiting an amusement park. The other fundamental element of Coke’s branding is familiarity and traditionalism. We all know what a Coke tastes like, and many of us may seek out this specific product over other colas and soft drinks, and their branding and marketing reflect only small, subtle changes over the past century.

Why Coca-Cola Is So Successful

The Coca-Cola brand is both wildly successful and iconic because it makes simple, direct commitments and promises and the product holds to those commitments and promises. It doesn’t claim to do everything and anything. It doesn’t claim to be a health product, a substitute for water, or even a new and exciting sensory experience. Coca-Cola makes a significant promise and commitment to its customers through its branding and marketing, and if it were to fail to live up the high standards and expectations set by its brand and marketing, such as the infamous debacle of “New Coke,” the company could immediately begin to fail in the marketplace.

Why Commitments Are Important

Now think of a brand or business that failed to live up to a commitment or promise. Perhaps you’ve dined in a restaurant that promised traditional homemade meals, only to find the food was over processed and bland. Or you were promised that a retailer would attend to your questions and needs, only to find that their sales representatives were scarce or even unhelpful. These two hypothetical examples could be linked specifically to a poor product or service, but in other cases the branding and marketing could simply be mismatched. You could have been seeking out a store with personalized service, while in fact the store concentrates more on low prices and convenience. No matter the cause of the branding and marketing mismatch, the consequences are the same – the customer is unhappy and most likely unwilling to return, simply because they feel as though they were misled or even betrayed by the branding and marketing of the business.

Ensure Your Branding And Your Promises Are Correctly Aligned

If you see signs that your small business isn’t living up to the commitments and promises made through your branding, consider whether or not the problem is with your business or with your branding. Some problems, such as an inferior product or service, should be addressed directly, while other perceived problems may just require a shift in your branding and marketing. If you offer the best prices, but in return you limit your staffing to control your costs, it would be a mistake to emphasis your commitment to customer service in your branding and marketing – instead, shift the focus to your low prices. By correctly aligning your branding and marketing with the strengths of your business and shifting the focus away from your weaknesses, you can immediately strengthen your brand and begin to fully deliver on the commitments and promises you make to your customers.