When building a brand mistakes do happen, but Laura explains below some of the mistakes most common, and hopefully we can learn from her insights and perspectives.
Being an entrepreneur and launching a brand isn’t easy. It takes a lot of skill, hard work and usually a little luck. When it comes to branding decisions, sometimes one bad mistake can derail even the best idea. To be sure this doesn’t happen to you, make sure you avoid making any of these six most common branding mistakes:
1. Being customer oriented and not competitor oriented.
You can assume that most of your competitors are going to be customer oriented. So what happens in the marketplace? Everyone winds up with a similar product.
Back in 2009, we began working for Great Wall Motor in China. The research we received from the client told us that Chinese buyers preferred sedans rather than SUVs because sedans were more prestigious and SUVs were practical vehicles with no social status. So we recommend that Great Wall focus on SUVs because the other 28 Chinese auto companies were likely to focus on sedans. As a result, Great Wall became the largest, most-profitable Chinese automobile company.
Entrepreneurs should do the same. Start by analyzing your competitors and try to find a way to be different. You can’t win by being better; you can only win by being different.
2. Not defining your focus.
Every successful brand has a focus. If your brand is the market leader like Pizza Hut, your focus is “leadership.” Domino’s narrowed its focus to “home delivery” and became the second-largest pizza chain. Papa John’s narrowed its focus to “better ingredients, better pizza.” Little Caesars narrowed its focus to “two pizzas for the price of one.” There are hundreds of pizza chains, but these four chains dominate the category.
For entrepreneurs, you need to make sure your company has a strong angle and all your actions and goals are in line with it. Ask yourself, What category am I competing in? And how do I verbalize my difference in two or three words.
3. Thinking names don’t matter.
Hansen Natural Company had a great idea. Launch a 16-oz. energy drink to compete with 8.3-oz. Red Bull and the other energy-drink brands. The brand name: “Hansen’s Natural Energy Pro.” The brand went nowhere. Then Hansen launched Monster energy drink, also in a 16-oz. can. Today, Monster is a strong No.2 brand to Red Bull.
Names come last. Entrepreneurs should first develop a marketing strategy. And then name their products or services to reflect that strategy.