4 interesting brand management errors

Reebok ad

There are many brand management errors, but I choose these four because they are particularly interesting:

1) Not choosing a position
Brands thrive in niche and unique market positions. They are either expensive or cheap. They are either one thing or the other. Being in the middle does not work. Not taking a position does not work. To grow every brand must take a risk to define its niche position and make it work. Hiding in the middle hopping for revenue from all sides will only result in a decline. As number of competitors increases with globalization, it is not possible to keep the same vague position which was established decades ago.

2) Distracting from key values
When McDonalds charges for ketchup the customer thinks only one thing: they want my money. At that moment customer is blind to values such as speed, taste, affordability. Money is one of the greatest signifiers of importance in business. Once something has a price, it becomes important. McDonalds managers decided to make an extra few percent revenue in exchange for telling customers their money is more important to them than satisfaction. For an accountant this can appear as a good decision, but for a brand strategist and a customer it is not. Brand managers must know what are the values they want their customers to accept and not create distractions. The most common distraction is the fear of loosing the revenue.

3) Not charging for the added value
If your brand is more competitive because of an added value then customers must pay for it. If customers do not pay for it then your brand does not actually compete with that added value. Customers can pay for it separately or it’s cost can be included in an obviously higher price. Either way the act of paying for the added value is a confirmation of acceptance by the customer – thus making it a real value. Talking about added values in meetings without the actual customer revenue to back it up is not realistic. If a customer buys a Dolce & Gabbana jacket for 3,000 EUR then she accepted the value, paid for its price, and Dolce & Gabbana brand manager knows that the value is accepted. If a product company sells consulting services, then that product company manager knows that the consulting service is accepted as a value and they can use it in the competition.

4) Not committing to your brand
No great brand has started great. Every great brand has started as few words and a photo and then someone decided to make it work. Therefore great brands are results of dedication to its growth. Brands are nothing but hard work behind them. When managers change the logos, slogans, values, products, they doing a favor to their competitors and basically destroying their brands. This is why Nike beats Reebok and everybody else and Apple beats Dell and everybody else. If governments – who are actually country brand managers – would act the same way as business brand managers, they would change the flags, laws, names of countries every few years.