Working in tech PR for more than 20 years, I’ve come to realize one simple truth – great BtoB brands are built with incredibly deep brand attributes.
Solid high-tech brands are complex by design and simple to express. Not so simple that we only see the visual aspects, as Seth Godin reminds us in his blog post Logo vs. Brand, and not so complex that we can only speak from a technology perspective. Brands without the multidimensional elements touching on benefits and considering the industry impact are, by nature, weak.
In the quest for the ultimate brand platform, I found five common mistakes that take brands down a notch.
1) Separating brand creation and brand delivery
Separating the tasks of brand creation and brand delivery is usually a mistake. A key component to brand creation is challenging that brand to make sure it can be delivered. If you do not understand how delivery will be challenged, you cannot create a brand that has a chance at successful brand expression.
2) One dimensional branding
For ultimate impact, we must express the whole brand concept as a story. Too many brands focus on just one element, such as customer benefits or technical differentiation. Layer upon layer, the elements of brand should be created so that when you get to brand delivery, you have the whole story.
3) Drill down brand creation
Brands built by consultants without deep company or industry knowledge often result in a weak brand platform that lacks strength, substance, relevancy and significance. Brilliant simplicity is a result of deeply understanding the complex. Brands must be created from this depth of knowledge and drill up to the more simplistic tagline concepts and visual elements, not vice versa.
4) Me-too branding
I shouldn’t even have to say this, but unfortunately I do. If you can take your brand platform, lay it over your competitors and it could be mistaken for theirs, start over. A brand platform should have your unique stamp written all over it. It should be crystal clear as to why your brand should be preferred over the competitors. It should craft a clear picture of how you fit into your industry. It should have a wow factor.
5) Backbone-less branding consultants (BLBCs)
Because I am in technology, I cannot resist creating an acronym for backbone-less branding consultants. Let’s call them BLBCs. If your branding consultant has never disagreed with you, they are a BLBC. Fire them now. Every senior marketing executive knows how difficult it can be to collaborate with a senior executive team and come to a final branding platform. Strong brand platforms have been challenged, refined and tested. This can be nearly impossible to do without the artful facilitation of a branding consultant. Don’t hire a “yes man” for this job. Hire someone with professional integrity that will challenge your thinking and bring new ideas.
How will you eliminate any weakness in your brand this year?