It is virtually impossible to peruse any magazine or watch a media outlet without witnessing an individual or company in the middle of “brand implosion.” The implosion of one’s brand can be caused by a variety of different factors (changing demands, lack of customer focus, etc.). I would submit that most brands implode from one reason: Comfort!
The brand-building process requires enormous creativity, tireless work and a laser-like focus of your customers’ wants & desires. After that painstaking process is complete, companies usually lay claim to a certain degree of brand recognition and loyalty. Unfortunately, some companies then fall victim to an entitlement mentality that clouds their abilities to properly assess situations.
Here is your no-fail guide to mitigating brand implosion:
1. Stay proactive: Never become reactive. Strong brands lead by setting the pace that others ultimately follow. Companies should always ask themselves “What’s next?” in an attempt to continue to push the envelope of creativity. This helps companies mitigate becoming stagnant.
Example: The new bike rental program from Citi.
2. Take accountability: It is human to make mistakes and most consumers are forgiving of a few fobbles here or there. Be sure to address and correct them in an expedient fashion; furthermore, the resolution process tends to lack the robust, macro focus often needed. Forward-thinking brands address the totality of the issue.
Example: Exxon takes full responsibility for oil spill.
3. Reposition: This only makes sense when a brand has a large degree of recognition. That said, the reputation or image is usually suffering, thus requiring a new infusion of energy. Smart brands see feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow; indeed, the degree to which a company ascends to brand dominance usually depends on it.
Example: KFC drops Colonel, bones in rebranding.
The common theme is courage – courage to act, understand and lead!