Most of us are probably aware of what could potentially become the latest PR “oops.” IHOP is temporarily swapping its classic brand name for IHOb, an acronym that represents the International House of burgers. Unfortunately, Twitter is already having their way with the famous pancake house. The intent was to rebrand in the hope of reaching a wider audience, but few seem impressed.
Your brand is your company’s human face. Your logo, tone, values, and more: They all form a “personality” of sorts that speaks to your audience. Just as any person would grow, adapt, and change through their life, your brand will do the same. It’s not uncommon for brands to reinvent themselves, and some have done it very well (consider: PayPal, Old Spice, Domino’s). Other brands have been bombarded by a disappointed customer base, forced to backpedal, and then suffer a degree of embarrassment and a costly bill for their efforts (yes, we’re talking to you, Tropicana). The logic is that growth requires change. But how do you do so successfully? Here are the challenges that you will face in growing your brand.
- Poor sense of identity.
Before you accuse us of putting you on the therapist’s couch, consider your brand carefully. What do you stand for, and do your customers agree? Would high-level executives confirm the same values in a meeting, or would they disagree about the intent of your organization? If your organization lacks adequate self-awareness, you don’t have much to stand on when it comes to your product or service. Without everyone on the same page, employees included, you can’t expect customers to get on board.
Pro Tip: Determine who you are, and make sure that your customers agree.
- Inconsistent growth.
If you don’t know who you are as a business, growth will be inconsistent at best. You’ll be building a bridge without the proper supports, and you’ll confuse everyone involved. This is particularly important as many organizations are having to establish a digital presence, if they don’t already have one. A successful marketing strategy demands a unified front, and if separate departments of your business are each sending messages of their own, you won’t build loyalty or brand recognition.
Pro Tip: Admit to marketing mistakes and learn from them. Realign your next marketing strategy with a strong brand identity.
- Multiple channels of engagement.
Consumers want to reach you wherever they are, which is why many brands are forced into growth cycles to begin with. Sure, a consumer might love your store, but they want your website to give them even more options. Where’s your app? When they want to speak to customer support, they want to find you on Twitter. Businesses of every size no longer have the option of keeping it simple. It is a challenge to have a strong brand presence on social media, on a website, and in person. Yet, this omnichannel presence is completely necessary.
Pro Tip: Optimize your resources and consider a digital marketing partner if you aren’t sure where to start.
There are challenges to brand growth, and these challenges are as inevitable as is the necessity for that growth. If you want to continue to impress your audience, you must adapt to consumer demands that are consistently fluctuating. To actively engage with your target audience, develop a strong brand that builds relationships. As entrepreneurs, we identify with those businesses struggling to nurture a brand in every direction. Contact us to learn more about how you can conquer these challenges and successfully grow your brand.
Oh, and IHOP(b)? As you strive to become hip and remain relevant to younger generations that may enjoy burgers more than pancakes, avoid implementing marketing strategies that might imply you are out of touch. Realize how quickly Twitter will roast your efforts. It’s brutal out there.