The grass is greener on the other plot or garden - or in this case company and business. Rob Diana writes about MyBlogLog's demise. Remember that service? It was so promising that Yahoo! bought it for $10MM in early 2007. Then sat on it. Google FriendConnect and Facebook Connect have now come to take advantage of the same idea.
Over the years, many brands have made the same mistake. They had something special, something that might have been ahead of the times. The reason it was different and worth talking about, the very reason why it had a chance to work, was what killed it. Companies are often too uncomfortable with what has not been done before.
Endless internal discussions and the lack of a brand steward with some serious pull and strong belief in the power of focused, simple, and honest communication make sure there's no story development, no brand narrative. That is a shame at a time when brands have the ability to become an even stronger reference point for continuity and trust.
Brands' fundamental purpose is to generate loyalty and preference while they reduce risk. Think about it, when you select a specific brand over another, you use a shortcut. You tell yourself that you identify yourself with that story.
Here's what taking your brand for granted in a world of seeming endless choice and increasing uncertainty and noise looks like:
- we're too different, we should make our message more similar to that of others
- we don't list all the things we can do, we should say it all
- we can say what our competitors are saying, too
- we don't have the budget this year, we can skip customer communications
- we don't need to talk about what we're working on until it's perfect
What you're saying here is that communication is not your priority - along with building permission, trust, clarity, and consistency. Communication continues to be a very important aspect of doing business. In an environment where everyone increasingly wants to have a voice, why would you let your brand be silent?
Being unfocused, not having a purpose, or worse, taking your own story for granted will guarantee your feeble message gets drowned.
[image by Gregory Bastien]
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