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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.