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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fixing a brand mistake

In Purple Cow (http://www.sethgodin.com/purple/), Seth Godin argues that the only way to be profitable these days is to sell a "remarkable" product or service. And along the way to trying to make one's product or service remarkable, one is likely to make mistakes and to get criticized for those mistakes. Yet "being safe is risky....It's people who have projects that are never criticized who ultimately fail." (p. 47)

What if you make a brand mistake? Let's say you:

1. Mis-named your company or product or chose a bad logo
2. Implemented the internal brand wrong and people don't follow it
3. Rolled out as permanent a "brand initiative" that should really have been a temporary marketing initiative
4. Misjudged who your real customer is
5. Failed to reach your target market with the brand

What do you do? Do you try to keep implementing the brand mistake--improve on it incrementally--or do you go back to the drawing board and start from scratch?

Take the Purple Cow litmus test. Is what you are doing remarkable and you just need to get the word out better? Or are you selling something mediocre or "just good enough" to start with? If you are truly doing something remarkable with your product or service then you should feel free to experiment with different ways of branding it--and that can mean going back to the drawing board several times. On the other hand, if the problem is with your product or service, then you need to go back and look at what you're selling. Don't even think about the brand, think about the essence of what you are promoting. Make THAT remarkable. The brand will follow naturally...any changes you make after that will just be tinkering.

Either way, you need to fix the mistake, even if it will be costly. It's just a question of how you approach it.

Are you implementing a mistaken brand?