In a flap

In a flap

I’m always fascinated when companies blame market conditions or competitor behaviour for their own misfortune. Fascinated – because, dig a little deeper and often their dilemma is a result of their own intransigence.

I’ve been told on a number of occasions by senior decision makers at companies with serious brand health issues that they still believe their long term brand strategy is right, it’s just the market conditions that are not conducive. That always strikes me as odd, because if a brand is not responding to a shifting market but rather waiting for the shifts to realign in its favour, that’s hardly a strategy. It’s closer to bingo.

Branding is not a waiting game, at least not in the longer term. And it’s not a replication game either. Things can go decidedly pear-shaped when brand owners attempt to wait out a proactive competitor or apply a strategy that has worked elsewhere or in another part of the same sector to the brand they are in charge of now.

Brands don’t decay by accident.

This statement, or a version of it, sometimes turns up. “We didn’t do anything to deserve this.” I tend to agree, but perhaps not in the way that the statement was intended. What such a statement really means is that nothing (or at least not enough) was done to respond to the actions of competitors and/or changing dynamics in the market – which is of course why a brand finds itself in the position it does. Brands don’t decay by accident. But they can deteriorate – quickly – when they operate from the back foot. Have a plan that flies. Because otherwise, there’s a good chance you’re going nowhere in a hurry.


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