About 20-ish% of our client roster comes to us with an issue directly related to poor recommendations from consultants without proven brand building experience. This may be related to a series of ill-advised tactical decisions, or – in the most dire circumstances – “soup-to-nuts” implementation, whereby the consultant takes it upon him/herself to oversee the logo, tagline, website, collateral, postcards, coupons, yellow page ad…yeah, you catch our drift.
This approach may result in a few short-term sales, a quick lift in website traffic, or increased visibility on search engines. But then, over time, the client’s revenue hits a wall. The product may have powerful market potential and perfect profit margins, but buyers simply aren’t taking the bait.
“But why?!” wonders the client, who has invested thousands of dollars to sell, sell, sell.
This puts us in the awkward position to say, in so many words, “Well, because your brand lacks substance.”
Here are four signs that your marketing may be doing your brand a disservice.
- Commoditization: Buyers competitive shop and choose the option with similar features at a lower price point.
- High attraction, low engagement: Overblown sales claims may catch a buyer’s eye, but lack evidence to maintain attention.
- Reduced retention: Customers shift loyalty to competitor’s product or service.
- Lack of advocacy: Messaging lacks a reason to share or interact.
Brand building, like content building, is a long-term investment that pays off in equity – customer loyalty, elevated value, and a like-minded staff working toward a common cause. Quite often, however, companies are so focused on this quarter’s quotas that a consultant who promises “instant revenue” seems like a sound investment. The consultant may deliver, but the client becomes trapped in an endless direct marketing cycle with no clear position other than the next great sales incentive.
When a client commissions Muse to resolve these issues, we prefer to work hand in hand with operational consultants to help shape the vision of offerings for the future. While the OC designs the product/service portfolio in the best interest of the company, Muse consultants review it through the lens of the prospect for marketability and brand alignment.
If your company is considering a consultant who claims to offer both operations and marketing expertise, be sure to take a long, hard look at his/her background. There are very few people with ample experience in both fields to advise you in this all-inclusive manner. Hire specialists with the ability to see the forest through the trees, and are willing to collaborate as a team on your behalf.
Muse helps clients define a central brand position and support it with compelling content. Over time, prospects seek out these brands as the valued authority in the marketplace.