When you think about great branding, companies like Safaricom’s Green colour, Coca Cola’s distinctive red and white lettering or ‘Taste The Feeling’ Tag line, Nike’s ‘Just Do it’ tag line and Adidas’s three stripes likely come to mind.
But as a small business, imagining the level of investment that is gone into these iconic images can make the thought of undertaking your own branding initiative seem overwhelming.
In a recently held webinar by Ayuma Michelle founder of LetS and a Storytelling Coach, Ayuma said that as much as branding could be overwhelming it is easier to do than most imagine especially when you understand that branding is all about perception both internally or externally and brand storytelling can play a huge part in that.
“All your branding efforts can be measured by public perception and storytelling is an old art that we can rethink, relearn and re-strategize when it comes to branding. Storytelling is all about transferring value, to people to inspire them to take positive action,” she said
However, one major mistake businesses make as they adopt the art of storytelling for their brands is the failure to answer their products, ‘’so what’’ and failure to share a call to action for their products. These mistakes make you lose your customers loyalty leading to your brand failure.
Apart from that, here are other common pitfalls and branding mistakes that brand leaders make as gathered from the webinar:
While personalizing content is good because it provides each customer with individualized treatment, there is a fine line between individualized treatment and creepiness. Companies that step over the line and over-personalize their content risk turning customers off. If you over-personalize, customers may feel like you are invading their privacy.
Using the wrong data at the wrong time to personalize may end up alienating your customer or turning them off.
Brands should start seeing their competitors as collaborators. Your competition is what is holding your customers back. As an entrepreneur, you should start by analyzing your competitors and try to find a way to be different. You cannot win by being better; you can only win by being different.
Your customers are your link to your next. Consumers want brands to listen to them, understand their concerns and act on them to improve the services and products they pay for. Some brands do that better than others.
The key is to set up the infrastructure that not only allows your business to receive that feedback but also allows you to react to it in an appropriate and timely way that makes customers felt heard. Listen to the functional social and emotional
After getting the common mistakes that brands make when positioning themselves, the webinar also looked at the Global Brands best practices that have been able to help them sail through hard times especially in times of crisis like the COVID-19.
Most Global Brands understand that it is not business as usual and so should your brand. They understand that everything has been disrupted. Therefore, they understand that without the freedom to adapt to local needs and leverage emerging opportunities, brands risk becoming obsolete and irrelevant.
Therefore, these companies are re-innovating their products and looking for opportunities amidst the storm, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you re-write your brand story, however, you can re-adjust it slightly to fit the current times.
If there’s anything we’ve learned about successful brands, it’s that they are typically the first to spot and adapt to changing conditions.
Some say this crisis is merely good training for the next one. While we have no way of knowing what that next crisis might be, one thing is for sure — the current coronavirus crisis has shifted the way we work and will have lasting repercussions especially in businesses.
Now more than ever, the founder’s spirit is important for any brand to flourish. Global brands understand this and so should your brand. The starting point for branding must be the boardroom, which is also serving as the most important checkpoint during the project.
Brands like Starbucks to Apple, when the companies got into a crisis they called in the Founders of the companies because Company founders are the heart of any organisation. They best understand the company’s ‘why’ and ‘so what’ and are committed to it and in turn clients and customers buy into the ‘so what’.
Most employees and even customers feel disconnected to brands because they do not understand the why of the company. Now more than ever, Founders should use brand storytelling to explain the Why of the company in such a manner that people eventually buy into it.
According to statistics it is estimated that about 3000 entrepreneurs in Africa have great ideas but they do not tell their business story enough, making it hard for these brands to survive. Founders should be able to plug in and allow their employees to plugin into their visions as well.
They should be personally involved in the brand strategy work and must be passionate and fully buy into the idea of branding.
To ensure success despite the daily and stressful routine with many duties at the same time, the Founder must be backed by a strong brand management team of senior contributors, who can facilitate continuous development and integration of the new strategy.
Ensure that your brand advocates for something and let your brand stand for that. When you stand up for something you become unique and when you become unique you can specialize. You suddenly become more valuable and people will know you for the one thing. Focus on the core of your business, master the art and become so good at it.
The power of brand storytelling at the end of the day makes it easy for people to know who you are, what you present and how they can easily access you. Brand storytelling goes into the colour, access, and even the language you use. Ensure you use the power of brand storytelling to let your clients incorporate into your brand and use your brand as part of their daily lives.