Why Your Brand Strategy is Failing (and What to Do About It)
Your brand is an extension of what your company values. But are people truly connecting with your brand the way you want them to? Most likely they aren’t. The root cause has to do with your under-performing brand strategy. Find out why — and what to do about it.
Brands are bombarding customers and potential customers with all sorts of messages across all platforms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That is a lot of noise! Is any of it worth hearing? Are the messages you are delivering engaging enough to encourage interaction? How can you stand out in this ultra-competitive landscape? It starts with the basics of understanding human psychology, the primitive brain, and your brand’s core belief system.
Sound overwhelming? Stay with me here, I’ll break it down and simplify it for you.
Humans are drawn to things that high-performing brands do well.
- Clarity — when you simplify what you do into small, easy to consume pieces of information (think a short 5-word sentence), people can immediately understand what you are all about.
- Resist Confusion — We humans have a natural filter built into our brains. And that is, when things become too confusing, we tune out, resisting the information. We’ve all been in a conversation where it became too confusing, causing our eyes to glaze over as we try to mentally escape.
- Groups of Like-Minded People — people love to be categorized into groups that they define themselves. When you look at social media sites, groups get a lot of interaction and engagement. That is, in part, because the group is clear on what they are all about, avoiding all confusion, and attracting like-minded people.
The Primitive Brain
The primitive brain, though small, is always active, especially in social situations. Oren Klaff, author of Pitch Anything does and exceptional job of explaining the neuropsychology behind the primitive brain. If you haven’t yet read Pitch Anything, I encourage you to do so. I’ve read it 4 or 5 times now and each time, I learn something new that I can apply to my work.
For this article, we can use a simplistic approach.
The primitive brain is focused on two objectives:
- Keeping you Alive
- Conserving Calories
So let’s go back to our social example from up above. I’ll set the scene for you. You are enjoying cocktails and passed appetizers in a large, upscale social environment in an iconic skyscraper overlooking downtown Chicago. Amazing view, isn’t it?
Someone walks up to you and strikes up a conversation. Once the formalities are over, you then ask the “what do you do,” “what brings you here,” “what are your goals for the first half of the year” question.
At this point, the conversation could lead anywhere.
However, most likely one of two things will happen. 1. You will be intrigued enough by the answer to ask another or add to the conversation or 2. You receive a blast of information that is hard to process, causing you to resist the confusion and tune out. Now your primitive brain is kicking in. Your primitive brain is assessing the threat of this person speaking to you. Chances are the person poses little threat, but your brain wants you to move out of the conversation, and so, you might abruptly cut the person off in search of another drink or appetizers.
This Same Pattern Happens Online and in Business Situations
When you search online for information, you prefer websites that are simple, deliver the information in easy to understand, snackable portions, and that identify with your values.
The problem a lot of brands are facing is the fact that they over-complicate their message, are unclear as to who they are, and when they do get into a conversation, they share too much at once, overwhelming the prospective customer.
I get it — your background is technical. Your knowledge reigns supreme in your industry. However, when speaking to prospects, you need to connect with their primitive brain first on an emotional level and then, over time, share your knowledge as it relates to their problems so that they can digest it easily and make a decision.
Your Brand Strategy Starts with a Core Belief System
The last piece of the puzzle has to do with your brand’s core belief system. It is what I call GroundWork. You can understand and connect with people and build relationships, but if you do not believe in your brand and its core belief system, how is anyone else suppose to?
Your brand’s values and core beliefs stem from the following. Take time to write answers to these for yourself personally and again for your brand.
- The driving reason you do what you do.
- The ways in which you hope to change the world.
- Your vision for the way things ought to be.
- Your rationale for jumping out of bed every morning.
- The sweet and shiny desires that drove you the day you set up shop.
- Your beliefs about the way your business, your employees, and your partners should behave.
- How you can build long-term, trust-based relationships with your customers just like the ones you have in “real life.”
People don’t connect with companies. They connect with values. With principles. With worldviews. With like-minded individuals.
People connect with passion.
If you don’t believe in something, it’s going to be awfully hard to get people to believe in your business.
Gain Clarity to Connect with People
GROUNDWORK is your guide to clarifying your message so people connect. Differentiate your brand, go deep into the customer relationship, and deliver an exceptional experience.
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Originally published at BrandedWorld.co.