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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  March 17, 2015

Branding Gone Wrong

I’ve given four presentations now to C-suiters in mid-sized companies. All are interested in distinguishing themselves in a competitive marketplace. The problem: they create branding and marketing plans from an operational perspective.

Here are the mistakes I find when operational folks take on branding:

  1. Overestimate the customer impact of current efforts. I find that while most execs know what they do best, they overestimate the impact that advantage has one the customer. The result: they miss what the customer considers a distinct advantage. By touting the wrong thing, the company looks like all the others.
  2. Focus on the tangible. Operational folks are very practical and lean towards what they can see and touch. Therefore, the budget gets spent on marketing tools such as websites and content marketing. The result: this implementation happens in a vacuum which decreases the effectiveness. The intangibles (competitive advantage, strategy, direction, etc.) make the tangible stuff work.
  3. Focus on tactics. This is related to #2. Again, the operational folks measure what gets done vs effectiveness of the effort. They hire people to do a bunch of stuff and call that branding. No one asks the question: what’s the best message that we could put out? The result: budgets bet blown without anything to show for the effort. Which is the #1 reason why operational folks hate branding.

 

Companies grow when execs look at their goals from a different angle. This is why we all need a pair of fresh eyes on our efforts.

 

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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.