Five Ways to Kill Your Brand

A brand is alive, and you are its parent. You create it, but you do not have control over it.

Steve Norell

December 21, 2009

In the beginning, a brand is fragile. From its inception, a brand must be properly cared for or it will die. A brand is alive, and you are its parent. You create it, but you do not have control over it. You can push it one way or another. You can influence it, talk to it, teach it how to speak, but in the end the true shape of the brand is molded by its surroundings. You may own the trademark, but the consumer truly controls the brand. Below are five quick and easy ways to ensure your brand dies before it gets off the ground.


For a brand to stand out of the crowd of its peers, it must carry itself with a consistent drive toward success. It cannot waver in it’s voice or actions. The brand is ultimately representing its namesake, it must not present multiple personalities, as it will confuse its audience. A mediocre identity that is consistent will almost always beat a great identity with unstable messaging.

Poor Communication

When you introduce a new brand, your audience must be able to understand it to relate to it. You can’t just send a brand into the world and expect it to represent the desired image of your company. This is accomplished through consistent marketing and awareness campaigns at the inception of the brand. You have to plan and clearly define a communications strategy, and show the world what makes you unique.

Poor Execution

Brands that don’t speak don’t succeed. Create a bland brand and risk it getting lost in the noise. Build a powerful brand, something that is easily recognizable, understandable and relatable.

Lack of Ownership

One of the most common wrenches in the mechanics of branding is the committee. Imagine this scenario. A new business needs a brand. Three partners have equal say in the form the brand will take. Two partners are very vocal, insightful and involved in the entire design process. The third partner is silent. S/he typically doesn’t come to the meetings, and when s/he does, little or no opinion on the direction of the brand is given. Until the end. Without fail, the final presentation always brings the silent partner to speak up, finally express what they want seen in the brand, and unravel hours upon hours of work. Do your brand a favor. If you own it, own it from the start.

Not practicing what you preach

What do you think of when you seen that Enron “E”? Is it a bad logo? No, it was actually designed by one of the most renowned brand designers of all-time, Paul Rand. It became a bad brand. The logotype identity of a company is only as good as that companies ethos. There is not a lot to say about this one, it’s pretty straightforward. As a business leader, do right by your brand or risk the consequences.

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