Brand and Branding Issues
In the previous discussions we talked about leveraging brand equity, or simply enhancing the value of your brand. Today we want to discuss generic reasons for brand failure.
Yes, circumstances and business environments differ from company to company, but there are common reasons why most brands fail.
Let me first highlight that brands may fail at two distinct levels that are strategic level and product level. This clearly shows that brands are basically managed at these levels. The former being organisation-based and the latter being brand- or product-based. Now, the following reasons for brand failure are not necessarily in any order with regards to the above said levels of occurrence.
Loss of brand meaning (brand amnesia). In the previous discussion, I highlighted that an organisation could leverage its brand equity by building it, and in that process, there is need to spell out the meaning of the brand.
If that meaning is not well spelt out to the target audience then the brand is bound to fail dismally. Therefore, creating a brand meaning is a critical strategic activity for an organisation regarding brand longevity. Soon after introduction, some brands begin the journey of extinction if their meaning is kept under wrap.
Exaggerated brand esteem (brand ego). Last week I also talked about brand extensions under “buying a brand” to enhance its equity.
Let me say that brand extensions must be done within the dictates of reason and rationality, otherwise an overzealous management overestimates the value of its brand and by so doing goes into an overdrive of brand extensions thereby “killing” the brand and its extensions. That is failure to control the brand. My advice is that have a sure and certain measure of your brand ego.
Brand dilution (brand megalomania). This is whereby the company appreciates that brand extension is necessary to enhance brand equity, but they fail to understand the matrix and complexity of brand equity measurement and management.
They end up falling into brand extension trap at the expense of the core or mother brand. Exaggerated brand esteem there is a wrong assumption of own brand superiority over competition, while with brand dilution its just poor management of the extensions that result in total brand mediocracy. Both result in eventual failure of the brand.
Functionality gap (brand deception). This is simply the failure of the brand to meet market expectations.
Remember that we talked about brand image (being customer perception towards the brand). Now, if this image fails to conform to performance of the brand then there is a problem.
This is the functionality gap that I am referring to. So, the larger the gap the greater are the chances of brand failure.
Therefore, the responsibility of management is to align brand performance to brand image, simple.
Copycatting (brand paranoia). One of the most lethal strategies especially if the organisation is futuristic.
I know for sure that powerful brands are built over time and by trying to partially imitate others you are instead derailing the progress of the potentially good brand. Yes, in the short term you may see the positive results but may dissipate by time.
There is a danger of attracting a negative “label” from the market which may take ages to correct. Hence in this age and time, using this strategy will certainly destroy your brand. It lacks the differentiation attribute of a good brand.
Market irrelevance and brand obsolescence (brand irrelevance and brand fatigue). Once your brand becomes irrelevant on the market, consider that brand finished.
Technically it is called brand fatigue. A good brand manager manages the product life cycle of any product and recommends appropriate action to rejuvenate the dying brand.
It’s common knowledge that several market variables always change so should be the brand position. Thus, a static brand position leads to its failure.
In the next discussion, I will focus on how to position your brand. Until then, God bless you.
Chiyambire Kazaka is an independent writer and an academic with strong passion in the field of business branding. Cell: 0772 893 955 (Call and WhatsApp); Email: [email protected]