Blurry Brand Vision: How to Focus Up and Stand Out
Blurry brand vision got you seeing double? We’ve all been there. One day your brand feels crisp and clear, the next it’s a pixelated mess. But before we play optometrist and get your brand back into focus, let’s level-set on what brand clarity really means. Hint: it’s not just having an edgy logo or a hashtag-worthy slogan. True brand focus runs deeper as the very DNA that defines who you are, what you do, and why it matters. When that core essence starts fading at the edges, it’s time for an intervention.
In this post, we’ll eye chart the seven surefire symptoms of a brand losing its way, along with the remedies to bring everything back into view. Think of it as a brand vision test – how clearly can you see what makes your brand tick? If the answers are getting hazy, keep reading as we share the latest lenses to help you focus up and stand out.
Diversifying without a clear reason
Do you ever feel like you’re playing product bingo, constantly rolling out new offerings just to fill holes in your portfolio? Maybe a shiny object catches your eye and you scramble to add it to your lineup. Or you panic when competitors launch something new so you follow suit.
Diversification can seem tempting as a quick revenue fix. But without a solid rationale tied to serving customer needs, it usually backfires. Confused buyers wonder what you really stand for. Your brand identity gets diluted across disparate activities unrelated to your core competencies. Valuable resources drained from high-impact efforts end up spread too thin.
Rather than chasing diversity for its own sake, smart brands expand into adjacent spaces that leverage existing strengths. The key is focusing diversification around deeper customer insights, not just surface trends. Ask yourself – how does this new product or service extend our ability to solve real problems for our clients? Does it map cleanly to capabilities we’ve already proven we can deliver?
Keeping diversification anchored on your North Star purpose and competencies is crucial. It means saying no to distractions that would only fuzz up your brand vision further. But when extensions align with answering customer needs in your value proposition sweet spot, that’s the right kind of strategic blur. The blur of blowing minds not losing focus.
Products Frozen in Time
Do your offerings feel stuck in a time warp, oblivious to changing customer expectations? If so, your brand risks fading into irrelevance. Outdated products signal a company that has lost touch with evolving market needs. Or one stubbornly clinging to legacy offerings despite clear signals that buyers want something different.
In today’s rapidly shifting landscape, resting on dated solutions is a recipe for disaster. Yet brands fall into this trap by viewing their products as fixed objects rather than evolving answers to consumer problems. They obsess over product features instead of drilling into the customer jobs-to-be-done those features aim to fulfill.
To stay focused on what really matters, shift your mindset to see products as solutions. Continually re-examine whether your offerings still solve target customer problems as needs morph. Don’t just pay lip service to “customer obsession” – build processes to continually capture voice-of-customer insights. And have the courage to sunset legacy cash cows if the problems they solve fade away.
This solutions-centric view aligns your innovation roadmap tightly to customer value. It focuses product development on higher-order consumer jobs, not just incrementally better features. And it leads to bolder reinventions when existing solutions lag emerging needs.
Outdated products don’t mean a broken innovation process. They signal a brand that has lost focus on its true north purpose – fulfilling evolving customer problems. Righting that course before it’s too late means staring unflinchingly into the void between the solutions you offer and the jobs still unsolved in your clients’ worlds. Then bridging that gap, not with short-term gimmicks, but enduring answers.
All Activity, No Profit? Redirect Your Focus
Frantic activity is a poor proxy for business success. If your brand obsesses over sales figures while profits erode, it’s time for an urgent course correction.
The temptation is to praise volume metrics and view declining margins as temporary setbacks. But falling profitability signals foundational cracks in your business model, not incidental cracks. It means value is leaking for customers even as activity ratchets up internally.
Rather than chasing sales volume, redirect your focus to profitability. View your margins as the ultimate arbiter of whether you are creating, capturing and delivering value in a sustainable way.
Start by analyzing why your margins are declining:
– Is it rising COGS or dropping prices?
– Are you acquiring unprofitable customers?
– Are you overinvesting in unproductive promotions?
Then, make the tough choices to plug those leaks:
– Renegotiate with suppliers
– Cull unprofitable segments
– Prune wasteful marketing spend
Getting margins back on track is painful but necessary medicine. It likely means strategic simplification, not just tactical belt-tightening. But it’s the only way to restore your brand’s health on a solid foundation of value.
In today’s complex business landscape, focus is a competitive advantage. The brands that endure are those with the courage to understand what truly drives profitability for their business. Then allocate resources and attention accordingly, even when it means painful decisions to reduce activity and sales in the short term.
Maintain an intense focus on value over volume, profits over promotions. That’s what strengthens an organization for the long haul.
Speak With One Voice Across All Touchpoints
When your marketing messages lack cohesion across campaigns and channels, it baffles customers and squanders impact.
Tactical campaigns have their place for promotions or product launches. But in isolation, they fail to reinforce your core brand identity consistently over time. Customers struggle to discern what makes you distinct. Messaging feels disjointed rather than additive.
This scattershot approach often stems from a lack of an overarching brand strategy. You rely on one-off tactical pushes rather than integrating communications to convey a unified brand story.
The solution lies in identifying linkages across touchpoints to echo central themes:
– What customer problem do you solve?
– How does your solution deliver unique value?
– What distinctive experience do you provide?
Then ensure messaging consistently hits those notes whether in ads, email, social media, or elsewhere.
Heineken mastered integrated communications with their global “Open Your World” campaign. It uniformly reflected their brand’s spirit while allowing for tailored local activation.
Coordination takes more upfront planning but prevents confusing cacophony in market. And it makes each touchpoint more impactful by building incrementally rather than starting from scratch.
By consistently reinforcing what your brand stands for, integrated messaging creates familiarity and trust. Customers grasp what makes you special. That emotional connection sparks action.
So orchestrate communications across channels to speak in one true voice. Customers will hear you louder for it.
Avoid Over-Reliance on Promotions That Undermine Brand Value
Frequent promotions and sales may provide a short-term influx of cash. But an over-dependence on discounts risks lasting brand damage by training customers to only purchase at reduced prices.
If your brand constantly pushes deals, you signal that full price does not offer sufficient value. Customers will delay purchases until the next sale. Your margins suffer death by a thousand cuts.
This vicious cycle diminishes perceived brand equity and relegates you to competing on price rather than differentiation. You get stuck providing basic commodities rather than branded solutions.
Rather than erode margins through continual promotions, focus first on improving core value. Analyze why customers buy from you and whether the combination of product, service and experience merits premium pricing.
If unable to provide step-change value improvement under current brand, assess launching a new premium sub-brand. Anchor price perceptions at higher levels by offering elevated quality and positioning rather than discounts.
Promotions should be the exception to reinforce value, not the rule that destroys it. Resist short-termism of cash flow fixation. Sustained brand health requires establishing perceived worth in excess of purchase cost.
With pricing power and customer loyalty, you can withstand and recover from market fluctuations. Promotion-dependent brands lack that resilience. When the next sale finally fails to bring shoppers back, the damage may already be irreversible.
Balancing Investor Returns and Brand Building
Short-term investor demands can impede long-term brand building. When pressured for quick wins, companies neglect investing in strategic brand assets that compound value over time.
Brand equity fuels pricing power, customer loyalty, talent attraction, and growth potential – all drivers of enterprise value. But many investors fail to make this connection, underappreciating brands as intangible assets.
Without educating investors, brands get starved of resources as companies orient around maximizing immediate returns. Messaging becomes increasingly promotional and transactional. The emphasis shifts from differentiation to discounting.
To avoid this value-destroying dynamic, set clear expectations upfront regarding the patient, methodical process of brand building.
Communicate how brand investment today creates a self-reinforcing virtuous cycle enabling sustainable growth and profits tomorrow. Demonstrate through benchmarks and projections how brand strength leads to higher lifetime customer value.
Frame your brand not as a cost center but as a vital growth engine powering the business. With clarity of vision and purpose, investors can better align time horizons and evaluate progress.
Patience remains essential. But when investors appreciate that brand building powers their returns, companies gain latitude to do it right.
Finding Balance in Brand Building
Brands thrive through focus, but over-focus can also lead to failure. An obsession with any one aspect of business risks neglecting other critical areas.
For example, an excessive emphasis on acquisition blinds brands to retention. Growth in customers means little if existing ones churn out the back door.
Likewise, a brand laser-focused on its hero product often misses shifts in adjacent spaces. Attachments to legacy can leave you stuck as the market moves on.
A balanced approach examines both where you make money and where you expend resources. Effort should align with impact across all facets of business.
To find this equilibrium, regularly analyze your portfolio across four dimensions:
– Repair – Fix underperforming assets dragging you down.
– Consolidate – Double down on your proven winners.
– Maximize – Wring every last drop from strong but smaller contributors.
– Sell/Stop – Cut loose distractions diluting focus.
This clear-eyed stocktake allows redirecting energy to high-potential areas while pruning those past their prime.
The goal stays grounded in your differentiating strengths and what makes you uniquely valuable. But balance ensures playing to those strengths across the full spectrum of opportunities.
Laser focus matters, but only when encompassing the whole. The wider your vision, the sharper it becomes.
Keeping Your Brand Vision Sharp
A strong brand extends beyond logos and taglines. It stems from a clear understanding of identity – who you are, what you offer, and why it matters.
Lose sight of any part of that foundation and brands risk drifting off course. Business activity continues but lacks intentionality. Offerings proliferate but with no organizing principle. Messaging scatters, no true north to guide it.
In those moments, it’s time to refocus on first principles of branding. Reground yourself in the core purpose and values that orient all else.
This might require pruning secondary efforts that have strayed from that core or saying no to new shiny objects that fail to align. Legacy products that no longer resonate likely need retirement to make way for truer expressions of what now matters most.
Messaging should coalesce around conveying that renewed sense of self and the unique value it creates. That clarity of vision then guides strategy, informing what to amplify versus leave behind.
None of this means abandoning innovation or dynamism. Agility remains vital to stay current across a shifting landscape. But it must serve deeper constants that define the brand.
Great marketing catches eyes; great brands catch hearts. Logos and taglines ultimately matter little if not rooted in mission and meaning. Keep sight of who you are at your best, what you offer at your best, and why that matters.
Eyes on the prize, vision sharp.
Greetings! I’m Jack, founder of Scythos – where I’ve helped over 50 brands transform into unforgettable identities and stunning digital presences. As a brand strategist and creative consultant, I have over a decade of experience taking brands from wallflowers to the centre of attention.
Looking to get your branding noticed and your business thriving? Reach out anytime to brainstorm creative strategies for making your brand impossible to ignore. I love collaborating with passionate entrepreneurs to conceptualize innovative ways to connect with their audiences.
Whether you need help with a logo, website, content or entire rebrand – let’s chat! I’m always eager to share my ideas, creative concepts and expertise to help brands reach the next level. Together, we can make sure your business gets seen and heard. Follow along on social or send me a message to get the conversation started!