How Your Brand Can Fall from Bad to Worse


So your brand is B or C-list at best, with a relatively small market share. You’ve got a dedicated following, but they’re small. You run ads, but can’t afford the same budget that the big boys use on a regular basis. At times you feel like things couldn’t get any worse; but they can—and will—if you’re not careful.

The Brand Languishes

Having the same brand image for over 10 years might be good if you’re an established success, but if you’re a smaller organization you might be condemning yourself to mediocrity. Your once-fresh ads and marketing message is going to turn stale. Recycled promotions will perform worse and worse each time, earning diminishing returns. Customers will tune out the same old bland song and move to more colorful brands.

Forget your Brand’s Personality

When a brand is languishing from neglect, it can be tempting to do something wild and out of character to “shake things up”. Unfortunately, it can be jarring for the customer, the same way it is for a viewer when an actor goes out of character during a film or TV show. It detracts from the experience and winds up confusing people more than anything else. The only time it’s okay to go off-brand is when you’re performing a re-brand. In that case, altering your brand’s personality is acceptable—even expected.

Stay Out of Touch with your Customers

Mediocrity is not an excuse for complacency. Even if you’re enjoying steady sales from your dedicated customers, not getting feedback and acting upon it means you might be missing out on big opportunities. If your product has a small but important design oversight, then correcting that might trigger a huge jump in sales as user experience improves. If customers regularly complain about the quality of your customer service, then ignoring might drive those few remaining customers away. Ignore your customers, and they’ll be happy to return the favor.

Internal Strife

A little inter-department competition is healthy—it fosters drive and ambition that will help move the company forward. But inter-department feuds are potentially harmful. Of course this can also happen if your marketing agency is not a good fit. Miscommunications will occur and the quality of service will suffer. The rivalries will eventually put customers in the middle and hobble the company’s growth. Business owners and managers should encourage and maintain a culture of cooperation and professionalism. “Family” cultures are nice, but overrated.

Do you know any brands that fell from not-quite-grace? What do you think contributed to their demise?