It is a lot easier to damage a brand than it is to build one. You can grow a brand gradually over time but the same brand can be destroyed over night. We all know products, celebrities, politicians and companies that have had massive and instant reversal of fortunes due to one slip up. Sometimes they recover, many times their moment in the spotlight is over.
Could you be damaging your brand without knowing it? While you read through all the following points consider your own brand and remember if you are not consciously caring for your brand you are probably damaging it.
- Number one way to damage your brand is through inconsistency. Your brand is how people think about you, your product or your company. Through your words and behaviours you make a kind of promise. Volvo promises “safe”, Rolex “quality”, etc. Act outside of this picture in a way that does not delight and your readers or customers will feel let down. Nobody knows this more than previously squeaky clean celebrities caught in compromising situations. In all things from design through to product execution you have to make sure the message is the same. Make sure your brand is not making promises it can not keep.
- Short term thinking is the next biggest brand gremlin. You have to think long-term with branding. Putting short-term financial gain above long term value, promoting a new contacts dodgy scheme to return a favour, nasty black-hat SEO tactics, spamming … be very careful what you do now doesn’t bite you in the behind later.
- You have to focus to create a crystal clear brand. Lack of focus sends mixed signals. This is extremely common in blogging. I split my personal from professional topics to create this blog but still I don’t think I have focused enough yet. Can you define what your blog is about? Could your visitors?
- Weak input is rewarded with weak results. Lack of ongoing, energetic, effort will hinder your brands spread, visibility and rewards. Launching a blog is tough, keeping it going is even harder. Many of the blogs that do get over their honeymoon period lapse into nothing more than me-too link-of-the-week. Keep applying the effort and the rewards will come.
- Some blogs were on my RSS feeds for years then faded away. Many of the blogs I read in the late 90’s and up to a few years ago are mere shells of their former glory. My theory is this while related to number 4 is more likely the “resting on laurels” effect. Some don’t even get to these levels of success, they celebrate (and slack off) before actually achieving much of substance. “Woohoo I got Dugg, I sold ads, I am in Technorati 100 … I am bored … ooh, shiny!”. When you achieve a modicum of success it is even more important to determine what your brand is about and focus on those things that made you successful in the first place.
- One area I get criticised about a LOT is my lack of knowledge of the rules of grammar and the occasional spelling mistake. It’s not the top priority (my blog is likely proof of that) but it does need attention. Each grammar slip-up is like nails down a blackboard to some people. For others it is design faults. Small niggly glitches can add up to a big headache. Do not let your brand corrode through not enough atentioNn two deetaill. Annoying isn’t it?
- No substance. Although only number 7 this one really gets to me. Many blogs are all brand and nothing to back them up. Famous for being famous. I think out west they call this “all hat and no cattle”? My friend Dylan says “what we need is more milk and less moo”. Blogs that never create original content, only ever link out without adding anything intelligent or interesting to the conversation fall under this category.
- Following the herd is so easy. Many bloggers are tempted to cover a story because they feel like it is expected of them. Lack of leadership while not as destructive as some of the other mistakes will absolutely hold your brand back from achieving its potential. If you are only ever following the other blogs in your niche then why should anyone ever visit yours?
- This is a dangerous one for me to mention as it means I have to hold my own blog up to my own standards. The mistake? “Do as I say, not as I do”. Your blog should serve as an example rather than a contradiction. How many blogs follow their own advice? Brands are built by actions as much as what you say for this very reason. Behaviour that doesn’t match your words destroys trust.
- Me, Me, Me. Enough about Me, what do you think about Me? Your brand lives in the brains of your readers, customers and prospects. It’s not all about you. If you make it all about you they will find a replacement that is all about them. Answer “What’s In It For Me”. It’s that simple.
Are you making any of these mistakes? Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments.
Most of these issues are common, few are lethal. The good news is you can fix your blog brand today.
This post is part 2 of my Better Blog Branding series. Part one is about choosing a name, you can go read it here.
Table of contents for Better Blog Branding
- Better Blog Branding: What’s In a Name?
- Better Blog Branding: 10 Ways To Destroy Your Brand
- Better Blog Branding: Domain Exclusivity
- Better Blog Branding: Is Your Brand Breaking Promises?
- Better Blog Branding: Finding Your Uniqueness
- Better Blog Branding: How to Stand Out By Being First
- Better Blog Branding: Your Blogs Hidden Messages
- Better Blog Branding: Your Successful Brand
- Branding and Changing the Rules of the Game
- Naming Your Blog: How to Create Catchy Blog Names
- What Are You Saying Between the Lines?