Your competition is not the biggest threat to your brand. It’s time to play a bit of brand defence.
In a manifesto about brand that I wrote a few years ago, one of the points I made was that you have to be prepared to defend your brand. What springs to mind for most people is that what you defending against is the competition, but they actually aren’t your biggest problem. Let me explain.
If you know what your brand stands for, and the things that support it, that make it authentic and unique – you must defend it. Defend it against people who would come in and tell you it should be something different, defend it against actions and policies that would undermine it and make it a joke, defend it against the tyranny of boredom.
The pressure to “change your brand” comes from all around you (note I never use the term “rebrand”, just as I don’t use brand as a verb for similar reasons!). It comes from books, magazines, television, the internet, consultants, advertising agencies, designers… it seems everyone thinks they have a better idea about what your brand should be and how to get to it. But you know your organisation (and your brand) best. You live it every day.
So don’t give in. If the look and messages that communicate your brand feel a bit dated, by all means change your ad campaign, update your website, create some new brochures, throw out the tagline. But DON’T think that you are changing your brand — it will still exist as it did before, in the actions and beliefs of your organisation. Don’t mistake giving your marketing a makeover with changing the truth of your brand.
Have the courage to defend that — no matter what.
I am travelling in the US again for the coming month, so see you next week from on the road!
Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.