Watch this. Then, ask yourself some tough questions!
Are you making similar mistakes that is costing you brand image? You certainly are, if:
- Your brand looks tired because it is tired. Case in point — many companies in the automobile industry missed out on the revolution in the passenger compartment, because they weren’t watching what their customers were doing. They were busy releasing automobiles that were some five years behind the living rooms of their customers — and that certainly brought the brand sheen off of some of the biggest auto companies.
- Customers see a lack of innovation: Consumers today are immersed in a global cloud of new ideas. They’re witnessing constant, relentless, awe-inspiring forms of innovation all around them, as they deal with a flood of new consumer technologies, packaging-based product innovation, and ongoing advancements in retail environments, both offline and online. They’ve come to expect that the brands they deal with are at the leading edge, in design, functionality, message, and purpose.
- Lousy, ineffective customer service: Guess what – when it comes to interaction with your customers, they measure you up against the world’s best. If you don’t add up, you are doing some significant damage to your brand equity right there. Customer support is no longer good enough — fanatical support is better.
- You don’t know that your customers know more about your brand than you do: Your customers today are immersed in the global innovation idea feedback loop. They busy sharing ideas on what’s really cool, and they are even busier taking apart the folly of those who have been left behind. In doing so, they are rapidly reinventing products, services, brands, and images. If you aren’t listening, you are guaranteeing that you’ll fall behind.
- A lack of purpose or urgency: I’ve studied many organizations that still don’t have the key information they need for market agility. They don’t have instant feedback mechanisms which tell them of rapid developments in specific markets. They don’t know how to regroup quickly “when bad things happen.” They still operate blind, as if it’s 1990: their sales force goes into a customer meeting, oblivious as to what that customer has been thinking about them. They approach every day as if it were the same as yesterday; meanwhile, their market and their customers have run away from them!
- A lack of market and competitive intelligence: It’s the information age, get it? There’s no shortage of information to be had. Yet I see companies who seem shocked when a competitor drops a ‘bombshell’ announcement — only to realize that they were the only ones who thought it was a bombshell. Everybody else knew what the competition was up to because in this new hyper-connected world, everyone knows what everyone else is doing!
- A regular series of fumbling missteps: Some customers might now look at you as if you have a “L” on your forehead. Today, small mistakes can be instantly compounded. Take the concept of compounded financial interest. Now realize that a small PR mistake, a lousy executive decision, or poor execution, can lead to the same type of instant, global brand devaluation — that can compound on itself at an extremely high-interest rate!
A brand today can go from hero to zero in a matter of months. How do you avoid such a fate?
- Recognize that brand longevity is now a critical issue
- Ensure your sales, marketing, development and customer support team are relentlessly focused on the currency of the brand
- Make sure that continuous brand innovation is part of your corporate mantra
- When confronted with the new and challenging customer, learn from them rather than running away
- Be incessantly focused on the likely innovations that will come to impact your brand
- Learn to think five to six product lifecycles in advance — and plan to do them all within six months.
- Make forward oriented intelligence a critical aspect of what you do.