The 5 most common brand strategy failures for SME’s

Written by Carl West

Common brand strategy failures for SMEs

From providing resilience during a recession to enhancing recruitment efforts, reducing price sensitivity to building brand equity, good brand strategy delivers long term value far beyond growing sales or market share.

Developing a robust, evidence-based brand strategy remains one of the most important challenges facing businesses and marketers managing brands in B2B and B2C organisations, but in my experience, most SME brands are guilty of the same strategic failures, which I’ve outlined below.

👉 Lack of formal training in brand strategy

Unfortunately, in my experience, 70% of SME marketers have no formal training in brand strategy, which means they fail to grasp the primary role of their job… which is to represent the voice of the customer within the business, creating a filter which removes individual bias and ensures the customers thoughts, feelings and requirements are at the heart of strategic decision making.

👉 Lack of market orientation mindset

Market orientation should be a continuous process for brands to understand how their customers think and feel about their brand or products. It is a mindset that most SMEs fail to allocate sufficient resource for, as it demands a detailed 180-degree perspective, coupled with a willingness to listen, observe, and engage with customers in the buying environment, and learn warts, and all.

👉Lack of differentiated positioning

Positioning simply defines the image a brand wants to create in the minds of its target markets. The process of defining tight, meaningful positioning, is inextricably linked to the concept of relative differentiation, but   most SME brands fail to identify differentiation that is relative to their customers and their competitors, preferring instead to take shortcuts using generic attributes such as ‘passion’ ‘integrity’ or a ‘purpose’.

👉 Lack of 2-speed targeting

From smartphones to furniture or office appliances, research indicates that at best, only 5% of a category is ever ‘in market’ ready to buy, with 95% being ‘out of market’ as potential future buyers. Most SME marketers invest almost their entire budget (and time) on the 5% pond, ignoring opportunities for building salience with the 95% so they come to mind if future buying situations.

👉 An obsession with communications.

Tactical marketing (aka 4Ps) represents one third of the brand management process, of which communications is 25% of that one third = just 8%. Unfortunately, too many SME marketers are driven by short term ROI metrics, which means they become obsessed with communications, at the detriment of using the other 3Ps of tactical levers which are far more important.

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