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Four common decision pitfalls when building a brand

When building a strong and sustainable brand, your goal is to let your customers know your brand, remember it and choose it repeatedly.

It is simple to understand, but the decisions you make (or not make) at times may not help you achieve this goal.

Whether it is a multinational corporation, small business or start-up, the four pitfalls below are common across the board, and should always be on your mind when making decisions.

1. Not identifying your unique selling point

Everything you want to do for the building of your brand can only be done after you have identified what sets you apart from everyone else in the market.

Specifying your differentiating factor down to the finer details helps you with the tackling of steps thereafter, such as incorporating your distinctiveness in your brand’s visual identity and having stronger brand recognition because of your brand’s niche promise.

It is surprisingly common to miss out on this important analysis. An MD of a large regional real estate company told me he had interviewed dozens of branding and marketing professionals, and was disappointed that none of them had thought of this as a first step.

2. Not focusing on your target market’s demographics

Of course, it will be great to have a huge target market made up of different demographics because that seems like more potential income. The problem is many brands only think about conveying what they are offering, and not tailoring messages to connect with the various demographics. When advertisements are generic, the different demographics will find it harder to identify with your brand.

Not being utmost specific in your target market’s demographics will also cause you to spend money on advertising channels where it does not warrant.

3. Not aligning your internal structure and processes

There is no point in building a strong brand that is recognisable to your customers, if your other customer touch points are weak and/or your internal processes are not streamlined.

Your customers will no longer choose you in future, if your customer service officers are unfriendly or your Logistics department is too understaffed to support the orders taken and ends up delivering products late.

Or in the case of Amazon Prime Now when launched in Singapore, potential customers were lost instantly. Prime Now is a same-day delivery service that Amazon offers. In the United States of America, this service is only available to members of Prime, Amazon's paid membership programme. However, Amazon launched Prime Now in Singapore without launching Prime. This meant that anyone in Singapore could buy from Amazon and expect a same-day delivery. Due to such demand, Amazon could not cope with the deliveries and potential customers were unable to place orders because delivery was unavailable.

The launch would have been a good platform for Amazon to acquire many more loyal customers, should it have thought through its processes and launched Prime in Singapore before or along with Prime Now.

4. Fixating on your immediate profits

Profit is the difference between your business' income and expenses. And yes, profit is important for a business' survival.

But, how much profit is essential?

Is it possible to make a decision to take a smaller profit for a period of time so that you can spend money on building a stronger brand that lasts for a much longer time?

Yes, you can, and you will. As long as you understand the importance of a strong brand and that it will make you more money than it will cost you.

My ex-CEO at a mall owner had shared an anecdote that happened during an economic crisis. Many mall tenants were asking for a rental reduction but instead, he made the decision to increase the malls' marketing budget and told the tenants that the landlord will work hard alongside them instead of giving rental reductions like handouts.

That crisis turned out to be a golden opportunity for the mall owner, because at a time when its competitors were slashing marketing budgets, it spent more on marketing and building the malls as stronger brands. Today, it is the leader in Singapore's mall landscape.



About Vivien Ooi

Vivien Ooi is a content contributor and copy writer, backed with more than 10 years of experience in marketing, branding, events and sales. During her free time, she waxes lyrical about her travels on her blog and Instagram as @chocolate.and.marshmallow.


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