Branding, Marketing Strategy, e-Books for Marketing

Are you making the 4 biggest branding mistakes?

Posted in: Uncategorized ♦ Sunday, May 20th, 2012, 4:53 am ♦ No Comments
Are you making the 4 biggest branding mistakes?

The secret to success. Wouldn’t it be great if it were simple. It can be. We believe that the secret to success for innovative organizations is to understand their audiences’ Mental Models. (And all organizations are innovative, right? Doesn’t the saying go “innovate or die?”)

In our previous post, we described what a Mental Model is. With this post, I’ll let you in the secret of why Mental Models are so powerful. And the mistakes you’re making if you don’t take them into account when you do your marketing.

Mistake 1: Your brand doesn’t match your audiences’ Mental Models.

If your company’s brand doesn’t match your audience’s Mental Model, then  the audience will find your brand difficult to understand or will dismiss it.

For example, the Victoria’s Secret brand is all about empowering women to be bold in their sexuality. There is a group of women out there who does not match this profile. For those women Victoria’s Secret virtually does not exist. (And I am sure Victoria’s Secret is totally OK with that. But if they wanted to expand their business they could spin off a new brand for this other more conservative market.)

Mistake 2: Not taking your audiences’ Mental Models into account when you create your brand.

If you don’t take your audience’s Mental Model into account, then the audience will find your brand difficult to understand, undesirable, or irrelevant. Nintendo does not take the Mental Models of moms into account. It totally understands and captures kids’ Mental Models, but it has not reached out to moms the way, say, Disney does.

Many kids who are obsessed with Super Mario and all the other Nintendo brands have moms who have no idea what those brands mean. To the moms, those brands are irrelevant. Think of how much more goodwill Nintendo could capture if they understood and spoke to the “mom” Mental Model.

Mistake 3: Not addressing all of your audiences’ different Mental Models.

If you have a range of audiences and your brand is designed to match just one of them,  then those other audiences will find the brand difficult, undesirable, or irrelevant. I recently overheard some tweens (i.e. kids about 12 years old) talking about Hooters. They were asking each other if they’d ever been to Hooters. They all said, “Nooo!” as if they’d never be caught dead going there. They were talking about it as if Hooters was a contraband and very off-limits place. These kids were clearly not thinking Hooters was a place for them (though I was surprised, I’d think they’d be intrigued, but maybe they’re too young.)

The fact is, in reality Hooters is just a hamburger shop that makes its waitress wear tight shirts. The waitresses take your order, they bring your burger. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but that is not exactly contraband behavior. You may go into a Denny’s and find a waitress wearing clothing just as tight. But the Hooter’s brand only speaks to that raunchy adult male, so younger people, and middle aged women for that matter, get the message that Hooters is NOT the place for them. Maybe Hooters wants that. But they would get a bigger audience if they didn’t only speak to that one testosterone-fueled audience.

Mistake 4: You don’t define your brand, so your audience and competitors define it for you.

If you don’t define your brand, then your brand, by default, will be created by your audience. Or your competitors. Your customers will create the brand based on their own, incomplete set of facts and experiences. And maybe their intuition. Your competition will paint a picture of your brand that exaggerates its limitations.

I think Microsoft is the biggest victim of this mistake. Corporate Microsoft is thought of by many as a necessary evil. But think about how much good they’ve done! They’ve singlehandedly brought computing to the masses. Still, a large group of people think they’re the “evil empire.” Microsoft has not done enough to understand the Mental Models of its audience and define its own brand to fit.

How do you determine your audiences’ mental models?

Now you know why determining Mental Models is so important. But how do you get there? Zoyo can help. We have proven techniques for researching and defining Mental Models. Contact us today.

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