The Brand Bottleneck: 5 Ways Bad Branding Impacts Business Success

by | Feb 8, 2024 | Brand, Strategy

Here’s the thing, you probably don’t need a brand to be successful…

If by success, you simply mean making money.

At the end of the day, commercial exchange can be distilled down to core utility – are you able to satisfactorily service my need or supply this product at a price I can bear? If you are, then we are in business.

The problem with only focusing on utility is that you end up at the mercy of your customers and the market at large. You have to hope that you come across potential customers often enough. And when you do, you often have to engage with them on their terms, tailoring each encounter to each customer. Things might work, but your results will always be haphazard.

But what if you wanted to go beyond simply making money. What if you wanted more money? What if you wanted to operate more on your terms, for instance, to only work with a specific kind of customer? What if you wanted to give a premium experience? What if you needed to separate yourself from similar offers in the market?

What do you do?

This is where strategy and brand come in – you have to intentionally craft the direction your business takes and the experience you give your customers and stakeholders.

It is these key pillars that you miss out on when you don’t give strategy and branding the time and resource investment they deserve.

Branding is really about curation.

It is about carefully crafting the energy and vibe around your business. It is about influencing the experience of dealing with you at every step of the way. And the thing is, this energy and vibe is always there. It always exists. It is just a matter of whether you are creating it intentionally or not.

Your brand is the vehicle you use to create the vibe you want.

Anyone who has hosted or been to an event knows how important vibe is to the success of that event. The right vibe makes things possible that weren’t before. It creates an atmosphere for people to connect and for amazing things to happen.

What are you trying to make possible?

What does your brand make possible for your business and customers?

What do you seek to achieve?

A clear set of business goals will inform the strategy you will take and also inform how you approach branding yourself, interacting and communicating with your stakeholders.

This brand, this face of your company is what people interact with. A perpetually emergent experience that is built over every email, chat, visit to your website, checkout process, delivery, and post-purchase contact.

Each of these points adds a beat to the story of your brand, influencing how attached your customers get to you and how they interact with you.

You can only effectively curate this perception when you have clarity about what you stand for, who you serve and where you are taking them.

Without these things in place. Without strategy and brand, you will always run into issues I call brand bottlenecks – things that stem directly from this lack of brand vision.

Some of these Brand Bottlenecks include:

  1. Unfocused growth: Without a real strategic focus in place, you will spin your wheels a lot, trying different things and hoping on every trend that passes because you don’t have a real set plan and path for growth. You haven’t identified your key markets or key action levers. And even when you crack growth by luck, it is impossible to turn that into sustainable income without a strategy.
  2. Discordant visual style: You reinvent the wheel every time you need new collateral or communications material. With no set look and feel, it’s a visual crap shot every time you have to do marketing and that results in your brand experience feeling cluttered and all over the place. Without consistency, you are not memorable.
  3. Unclear Messaging: All your communications and offers are mixed up. It is hard to sell your brand and what it does, because no clear messaging was set in the first place. What do you offer? Why should they choose you? These are the kinds of things that are easy to describe once your strategy is in place.
  4. Ineffective Decision Making: Making crucial business decisions becomes harder and slower because you have no plan or framework in place. Deciding who to hire and fire, what kinds of customers to go after, how to run your internal operations, the kind of culture you want to create, all these things become difficult to decide, that is, if they ever get decided, because once again, there is no plan or strategy in place.
  5. Founder Overwhelm: Without a strategy and clear plan of action. You end up tired and overwhelmed all the time. Bombarded by tons of minute decisions to make and ineffective action, all that effort is spent without moving the needle in a meaningful way. Soon you are on the road to burnout.

The lack of impactful branding in your business arsenal points to the deeper problem – a lack of clarity, direction, and strategy. Without these key things in place, you can still succeed. But the level to which you can succeed will always be limited, and you will waste more energy and resources than you need to.

So invest the time to really dig into your business, and start to put some of these key foundational things in place, and once they are in, you will unlock a new level in your business experience.

If you would like help getting a grip on your brand strategy, talk to us about our Brand Clarity Workshop and we will get you started.

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