Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Unlike diamonds, brands are not forever

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in branding is they assume that their brand is what it is and will always be what it is.

In meetings with marketing people, I hear comments like:
Our brand can't go there.
Consumers won't give us permission to do that.
That's just how people see us.

Well, if you don't like where your brand is now, change it. If your brand is becoming irrelevant, update it. If your brand is getting in the way of your strategic goals, don't let it.

I know this may sound like heresy to all those brand gurus out there, but a brand is not a forever thing. We have the power to shape what the brand stands for in the consumer's mind.

Want proof?

Look no further than Hyundai. Ten years ago, it was a cheap alternative to a used car. Now it sells the Equus for $60,000+ and competes with Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillac and Lincoln.

Changing a brand's status isn't easy. And it doesn't start with marketing. It starts with having a vision for what you want to achieve and changing the product to move toward that goal. Then the marketing follows.

If you lead a brand transformation effort with marketing, people will see past the veneer and reject it.

So if you have a vision for a greater, better and different brand, begin with the product. It's the only chance you have.

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