How to... deal with a brand identity crisis

The most successful brands have strong and distinctive identities that can be described in one or two words, and they are rarely fazed by the competition.

How to... deal with a brand identity
How to... deal with a brand identity

But if that's not the case with your brand, you might well be facing a "brand identity crisis". So how can you recognise and deal with this before it's too late? It's time to give your brand a little therapy.

The warning signs. People are confused about what your brand stands for and who you are. You can’t see how your brand is different from the competition – or, worse still, you feel your only option is to copy it. When a brand isn’t sure for whom or what it stands, it’s likely its customers won’t either.

Be consistent. Avoiding a brand identity crisis is all about being consistent across every touchpoint, so consumers know what to expect and where. Ensure your brand has one "personality" across all the channels used. Ask yourself: what one word describes your brand, and how do your customers describe it?

Don’t do a BlackBerry. Playing catch-up in the tablet and mobile market and hiring singer Alicia Keys as a creative figurehead, then parting ways with her after just one year, has done little to make BlackBerry’s brand identity stand out. Enough said.

Consider the impact of each change. Look at what matters most to the brand and its customers, so you can decide what needs to happen first, then second and so on. You’ll avoid complicating matters unnecessarily, and your (hopefully loyal) consumers will know what to expect.

On your marks. Your consumers want to know that you are ready when they are, so you will need to get the timing right when launching anything new or different – don’t fall into the trap of over-delivering.