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Bad Brand Romance

I want good relationships, don’t you? As a business owner, you should strive to create a brand presence and customer engagement that is nothing short of this. Elements of successful personal relationships or romances are quite similar to those of top-notch brand expression. To maintain a brand presence that connects with your customers, engages them, and will lead to increased sales and profitability, there are a few behaviors that you should avoid.

Remember that your brand tells people who you are and how you wish for them to perceive you. It seeks to encourage and influence its audience to put their trust in and pledge their loyalties to your business. Therefore, you can’t afford this to be an unfavorable view. A good branding strategy may very well accomplish this. On the other hand, a poor branding strategy may cause your brand to develop a bad romance with your audience.

Sarah Fielding, a writer for the Insider, released a recent article discussing seven signs that allows you to recognize if you are in a toxic relationship. Some of these signs were eerily similar to having a poor branding strategy, or none at all. Among these were included lack of trust, hostile communication, and emotional fatigue. This article will use some of the signs of a toxic relationship identified in the Insider and show how they may manifest in your brand strategy and result in a bad brand romance.

Lack of Trust

We naturally try to find congruence between what we know and what we perceive in branding and personal relationships. What your customers know about your business must align well with what the business is projecting through its visuals, imagery, and messages. Similarly, the words your partner professes to you must be in harmony with the actions he or she carries out, e.g., declarations of love needs must accompany reciprocal behavior.

When a brand’s actions and words are significantly different, your customers become confused about who you are, what you offer, and how your business can enhance their lives. This, as a result, creates a lack of trust for your business. In good relationships, this kind of dilemma is out of the ordinary. In a bad brand romance, it is, however, the norm.

The classic bait and switch is a typical example seen with bad branding. Failing to mention hairy points in your business promotion by committing sins of omission (failing to disclose terms or conditions) does not endear you to your potential customers or trust your brand. Instead, if you know your product or service has limitations, be upfront about it and ensure it is clearly stated in your promotion in as positive a light as possible. Your customers will appreciate the honesty and put stronger faith in your brand because they know that what they see is what they get.

Hostile Communication

You have probably had the experience that a conversation with your partner may have been misinterpreted. And while you may have had no ill intentions, you find that they have felt aggrieved, and what began as a light, seemingly innocent conversation turned into a heated argument.

The same can happen to your brand. Using the wrong choice of words can potentially turn your customer base away from your business - especially when those words are construed as harsh or even hostile. The art of communication must be mastered in both business and romantic relationships. It is always imperative that you understand the nature of the recipient who will be receiving your message - in this case, your target audience. For example, you wouldn’t speak to your parents the same way you talk with your friends.

A vegan-based food brand wouldn’t advertise in the same way that a meat-based food brand would to its audience. Only when your intended recipient receives your message in a way that they can understand and relate to that, you have achieved your intended goal. Your brand is the conduit through which you communicate, and therefore your style should reflect your customer base and target market.

Emotional Fatigue

There comes a time when even loyal, dedicated customers of your brand do not necessarily want to be constantly overloaded with marketing ads all the time. Being too pushy in your strategy may cause your audience to ignore rather than pay more attention to your brand. Your brand may even come off as being desperate and less authentic to your audience, which may cause them to cancel out your brand entirely despite your past relationship. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm or drain your customers’ interest in your brand.

Your brand strategy must contain a plan for the timing of promotions that must be consistent in frequency and need not be continuous or constant. Stay away from conventional, broadcasted messages across various platforms, but engage directly with your customers through social media forums. Avoid endless sales videos and flyers. Instead, engage more with your customers by posting fun weekly quizzes or creating interesting polls where you can even ask for feedback on your brand’s products and services on social media. Stay in tune with your customers’ needs by utilizing targeting and personalization techniques.

The same is true for romantic couples. Even in deeply committed relationships, there are times when parties suffer from emotional overwhelm due to dealing with a recurring contentious issue or other relationship problems. At these times, couples seek time apart to recharge and reflect on solutions.

Keep the Romance Alive

It will be your ability to listen, communicate, be open and authentic about what you bring to the relationship with your customers, and understand your customers’ personal needs that inevitably keep the relationship healthy and prevent it from becoming worse.

Have you ever broken up with a brand because of a bad romance? Comment yes or no below.

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