The Branding Checklist – How to Identify Weaknesses That Need Attention
Over half of the businesses that start in the US fail by their 5th year because the founders fail to recognize their weaknesses in time. That’s over half of American dreams simply shattered. It’s especially sad because it’s entirely avoidable. Recognizing where your business is weak is the first step to strengthening your position in the marketplace over the long term. As a brand founder, it’s vital that you gauge your brand’s performance for each of these key attributes, and create a Brand Status Report. If you haven’t launched your brand yet, or you have it launched but know you are missing an element because it’s just not connecting with audiences, use this checklist to find the weaknesses in your idea for a brand. Find the missing pieces in your fledgling brand. And for all of you 7-8 figure brand managers looking to up your game, you can do exactly the same to launch your next brand campaign, the right way, right from the start.
Branding may not be top of mind, but it should be.
Running a business is tough – there is sourcing, manufacturing processes, packaging, distribution, accounting, paying salaries, and a hundred other things to take care of. In all of this, branding seems to be some abstract concept that doesn’t seem to generate concrete returns. However, branding is about identity, about differentiation. It is about giving your products or services an edge in a crowded market. It is about staying power, which is why it is something that no business can really afford to ignore.
Branding is more than just the name, design, or symbol that identifies a product or service. It is also an emotion. It is a recognition, an instinctive feeling that the brand is able to generate. You want to be able to do more than simply give people a useful product or provide a service… you want them to feel good about your brand and willingly associate with your brand. So a product is something that a person uses, but a brand is something that people identify with. It is something that promises a greater future!
The essential branding checklist.
As someone who has been creating names and branding strategies for over 20 years now, I have distilled some of the key features of branding that really matter. The first thing that a brand has to do is to offer a specific benefit, fulfill a desire, or offer to simplify and improve life in some way. It can be fun, it can be practical, it can be something that makes one feel cool – like say Coke or Pepsi. These are products that don’t necessarily perform any specific function but still fulfill a desire. They create a sense of fun, belonging to a group, have a celebrity association, or can even make one nostalgic.
A brand has to stay relevant. Take a brand like McDonald’s that has survived the healthy eating, slow cooking, and anti-fat movements. At a time when public perception seemed against everything it stood for, the brand remained relevant. While they stayed true to the central premise of ‘fast food’ or convenience, they introduced healthier options such as fruit, salads, and so on. All the while the brand messaging with the big yellow M visible for miles, the company mascot Ronald remained reassuringly familiar and constant. Then there is brand positioning, product pricing, brand responsiveness, consistency, emotional engagement, and brand equity — other branding essentials that are important for a brand. I explain all these in detail with case studies in this episode of Inspiration to Millions. Don’t miss this chance to identify and address potential issues your brand could be facing.