7 Tips to Deal with A Brand Identity Crisis Like a Pro

Illustration by Vino Draws via Dribbble

A brand identity crisis can spell the end of a business if left unaddressed. The key to building a strong brand is to have a strong sense of identity. Like attracts like, and this being the case, you’ll have a much easier time connecting with your key demographic if your branding appeals to that demographic.

How to deal with a brand identity crisis

This being the case, let’s take a look at X tips to deal with a brand identity emergency like a pro.

#1. Identifying a Brand Identity Emergency

The first step to fixing a brand identity emergency is to be able to realize when one is happening. It can be easy to stick your head in the sand and ignore the warning signs, but when revenue starts to dip, or fails to take off from the start, being willing to admit that you have a problem is the first step to fixing it.

Your target demographic and their perception of your company is one of the main indicators of whether or not you’re having a brand identity emergency.

Take a look at who’s doing business with your brand, and who’s engaging with it on social media. Are most of these people in your key demo? Or are is it a big mix from a large variety of demos?

You may be tempted to think that a “scattershot” marketing approach will ultimately reach more people across more demographics, but an unfocused approach like this tends to lead to less revenue and less profit in the long run.

Another sign that you have a brand identity problem is when no one working for your company can clearly define what your brand is all about. Talk with everyone, your managers, your employees, and your executives and see what they have to say on the matter.

If they’re all defining your brand as something different, or can’t clearly define it as all, then you have a problem. Not only can this make it hard to connect with your demographic, it can also lead to internal conflicts regarding the direction your brand and your business should take.

#2. Identify Your Key Demographic

Illustration by Anastasiia Starik via Dribbble

Going right back to the concept of having a key demographic, having a brand identity problem can arise from not understanding who your key demo is.

The reason this is important is that different demographics respond to different marketing and branding strategies. Not knowing your key demo is essentially the same as not knowing who your most profitable customers are.

This is where market research comes into play. It can either be done in-house, or you can hire a third party. Either way, you need to get them to figure out which demographic connects with your brand the most. Once you do that, you can move onto the next step.

#3. Target Your Key Demographic

After doing your research and discovering who your key demo is, you have to configure your branding, marketing, and product/service to appeal to this demographic. This will get your key demo to engage with your brand, and ultimately do business with you.

There are many factors that come into play when targeting the key demographic such as the colours you use in your marketing, the graphics design, and your logo design. The language you use is important as well, since having a mastery of the lingo used by your demographic will make your brand seem much more credible and trustworthy to them.

You should also take note of how you’re reaching out to your demographic as well. A good example of this would be using Facebook to target an older demographic, or using Instagram to target a younger demographic since that’s how those two platforms tend to skew in terms of age ranges.

#4. Be Consistent in Your Branding

Being inconsistent with your branding and marketing can turn off many potential customers. As previously mentioned this “scattershot” approach may reach bigger numbers, but that doesn’t mean much if most of them are outside of your key demo and ultimately don’t do business with you.

On the other hand, consistent branding means consistently reaching your key demo. It also means that you’ll be building up a reputation over time that will make your brand stronger, more trustworthy, and a bigger player in your industry. People like familiarity, and most want to view your brand as something they can always count on to bring that sense of familiarity to their lives.

Nostalgia can also be a big factor here if you’ve been a business for decades. Brands of food, toys and even cars use nostalgia to appeal to people who have grown older yet still consume the product/service you’re offering. Don’t let this distract you from focusing on your key demo though. Focusing on the nostalgic crowd can lead to stagnation if it stifles your ability to create new customers.

#5. Be Careful with Rebranding

McDonalds Rebranding

Rebranding is typically only done in extreme situations. Maybe a brand has had a massive scandal that’s destroyed their reputation, or maybe a brand has fallen so far out of touch with their key demo that they need to reassert themselves. In any case, rebranding is not a sign of a successful brand, but rather of one that has been put in a position in which they need to take desperate measures to survive.

There are some rare exceptions to this rule, however, and a good example would be bands and musicians. Musical tastes change as the years go by, and many artists adapt by changing their style, their look, and their branding to appeal to newer, younger audiences.

This can be a gamble though, and not just for musical artists. This is because rebranding can feel like a betrayal to your most hardcore fans/customers, and you may be accused of “selling out.”

Rebranding should be done with an ample amount of caution, and should almost always be a last resort. There are many ways to repair your band without having to completely overhaul it and rebrand so make sure you look into those options before you decide to implement a rebranding strategy.

#6. Focus Your Online Marketing

It’s easier to get trapped in the “scattershot” approach when it comes to digital marketing because of the huge potential to reach out to so many different demographics all at once. When implementing an online marketing strategy, it’s important to take time to note how it will affect your brand. Done right, it will strengthen your brand, done wrong and it can water your brand down.

A good example of this would be using SEO services for your website. Search engines are powerful tools for bringing in new customers, especially people who are looking to make an immediate purchase/hire, but if your SEO is too broad, then you may just get a lot of empty traffic to your website.

To fix this issue, make sure that your online marketing is as focused as possible on your key demo. Going back to the SEO example, this would be something like targeting a keyword phrase like “Denver wedding cake bakery” instead of just “Denver bakery” if your business is primarily targeting people who need cakes for their wedding.

#7. Rebranding Due to a Merger

The way that branding is handled when two companies merge can be a tricky situation, but there are strategies that can help make this easier. Here are some of the strategies, and a brief description of how they work using made-up examples.

 icon-angle-right Straight Fusion

This is when two companies merge their brands equally. An example of this would be Firon and Angus becoming FironAngus.

 icon-angle-right Hybrid Fusion

Hybrid fusion is when one brand, typically the stronger of the two, almost entirely absorbs the other. An example here would be Boiler and Grimshaw becoming just Foiler but maybe with part of the Grimshaw logo symbol added to the Foiler logo.

 icon-angle-right Endorsed Fusion

This one is a little different. In this case, one company will retain its branding and name, while being endorsed by the other. An example of endorsed fusion would be Zaxxon and Hardwater which became “Hardwater.com endorsed by Zaxxon.”

Don’t Let an Identity Crisis Damage Your Brand

Branding is one of those things where you don’t see an immediate benefit, and it can be hard to measure its value in terms of raw revenue generation. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t important.

In some cases having good branding can make you much more profitable than having the best product or service. In fact, many would say that branding is the best way to make up for not having the best product or service in your industry.

The bottom line is that if you don’t know what your brand is all about, no one else will either. Do your research, identify your key demographic, and decide how you want to present your business to them.

You won’t see the results of your branding campaign overnight, but if you did it right, you’ll see a noticeable boost in business over the years and months to come.

About the Author!

Tatiana Higgins, is a creative marketing writer. She also writes for Digital8, an SEO company in Brisbane. She spends her free time reading books, exploring the world and finding inspiration to become a better version of herself.

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