"Good enough" is not good enough for your brand

SIgn of an ugly brandI’ve seen an awful lot of brand ugliness lately. Ugly design, cheap quality and slipshod work.

A “good enough” philosophy tells employees and customers a lot about your organization. Here are 3 DON’Ts:

You don't let your brother cut your hair.
So why is is it OK for him to design your logo or build your website if it’s not his profession? Saving money is an unacceptable reason. (This message is for major companies, not just startups.)

You don’t have to spend a gazillion dollars to create a professional looking brand. But you do need to invest in quality marketing tools.

If you’re a “Merle’s Way Groj Sale” entrepreneur and a hand-lettered sign appropriately reflects your business, you’re on target. For everyone else: to establish credibility, you must invest. Otherwise, what you’re doing to your brand is akin to slander.Groj Sale a bad sign for your brandThis sign may work for Merle, but not for most brands.

You're tempted to do a collab.
Currently, there’s a huge trend where major designers do a collaboration with a mass retailer like Target or Kohl’s. Some call it “democratization” of fashion. This isn’t isolated solely within the apparel industry, and I think all parties should be wary.

If you have to cheapen the manufacturing of your product—cutting important corners simply to sell more—you’re playing a dangerous game. Suddenly, your “real” branded products don’t seem as special to the people paying top dollar. And the cheap versions that are flimsy or falling apart disenchant the masses too.

Eventually, you’ll have no loyalty left because your name and your product mean nothing.

You're tired, so you give up.
Last week, I found myself pushing a client to make refinements to an important communication before sending it out. After the second round of changes, she declared “it’s good enough,” and off it went.

But it wasn’t good enough. Customers may notice that something isn’t quite right. It certainly won’t be a good reflection on the brand to prospects.

Maybe what’s most important: any employees who were part of the process see that the boss has a “good enough” mentality. And that’s what they’ll adopt. Soon, the acceptance of mediocre will spread through the organization like a virus. The brand will lose its luster and the distinct audience it used to attract.

Yogi Berra probably said something like “there’s always time to make another correction, even after the game’s over.” And he would have been right. We have to be careful not to overanalyze and tweak our brands to death. If we do, nothing will ever be accomplished.

But we can never get lazy and call it “good enough.” The moment we do, hungry, ambitious competitors will go racing past.

Yes, that sign was real! To get an outside perspective on the beauty of your internal and external brands, call Martha direct: 785.969.6203.

tags: brand strategy, employer brand, marketing, communications

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