s member say      
  Leave My Brand Alone!
By Mary-Anne Webb AMAMI
Principal, Inspirit Marketing
s Mary-Anne Webb  


It never fails to amuse me how as soon as you develop your brand, decide what it stands for and formalise it in your style guidelines, that there’s someone who can’t accept it or wants to take it on. It’s sabotage.

People generally want to make changes to the execution of your brand’s touchpoints because they work closely with the brand and seem to tire of it. Otherwise they are new to the company and have to put their stamp on it; it’s their brand on your brand. The very reason these people joined your organisation is lost on them when they set out to tinker with your brand.

That said, I accept there’s always room for evolution and refinement. In fact, periodically checking your brand’s relevance is good practice and when needed, do modify your brand to set it up well for the future. To be fair, these saboteurs could be your early warning system that your brand isn’t relevant to the people who are meant to be its ambassador. Take the opportunity to do some soul searching – check if your brand has lost its way or be honest, have you forgotten to keep your brand’s meaning top of mind?

If you want your brand to be strong it takes nerve to be consistent, endure repetition and a have belief that doing both these things together, and frequently, is a good thing. At the same time your brand’s big idea has to connect with your audience and emotionally move them to some extent. Look at any homogeneous market, companies in these markets rely on the power of their brand to cut through and make people feel something out of the ordinary. Why be vanilla when you can be organic vanilla bean?

The companies that have it right treat their brand as the engine that connects all parts of the business and ensure that everything works in unison towards the same goal. Your internal and external audience interact through your brand’s touchpoints; so make each touchpoint an expression of your brand essence.

Consider how the music industry‘s current crop of pop mega stars take their branding very seriously. Although they change their image faster than their fans can copy them, their brand is often about reinvention and connection. For new styles of music to emerge they have to challenge the status quo and connect with a new generation or audience. Your brand might not be a rock or pop star but you need to think about it like it is and you definitely need to ensure it’s relevant to your audience. You need to be its manager, its minder, its publicist and promoter and occasionally its agony aunt.

Be single minded but not blinkered. Be true to your brand’s essence, and have a brand vision that will withstand the saboteurs.

About Mary-Anne Webb

Mary-Anne Webb is the principal at Inspirit Marketing, a marketing consultancy focused on improving your marketing, branding and communications projects. With 25 years of marketing experience in professional services and business-to-business environments, Mary-Anne works for clients in industries such as law, accounting, property, recruitment, engineering, associations and IT. Through her work with marketing teams within corporate and start-up companies, Mary-Anne understands the marketing and communication challenges faced by different sized businesses during periods of change and growth.

Mary-Anne is qualified with a Master of Commerce, Program in Marketing and Organisational Behaviour (UNSW) and a Bachelor of Business, Major in Marketing (UWS – Nepean).