Nobody wants to have weaknesses. We’d all love to walk around like Superman and be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. In reality, all people and all brands have weaknesses. While your personal weaknesses might include a bad knee and a penchant for sugary baked goods, brand weaknesses can sometimes be more difficult to identify.
With that being said, brand weaknesses can be viewed as opportunities for improvement rather than admissions of defeat. All brands must adapt in order to expand – why not start by turning your weaknesses into strengths?
How to Identify Brand Weaknesses
Specifically hunting for weaknesses may lead to biased results much like the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon leaves us seeing patterns where none exist. Instead, try thinking of brand weaknesses are simply one aspect of any well rounded brand diagnostics report. There are several ways to spot brand weaknesses, including:
- Failure to meet projections: based on initial market research, your brand should be doing x amount of sales in a certain region with a certain product. If those figures are being missed, this is a red flag that your brand is weak within this sector.
- Speak to unsatisfied customers: often brands suss out the most relevant information from those who are not happy with their products and/or services. Perhaps your customers got late delivery or perhaps the product was not what they expected. Either way, this “negative” feedback could identify brand weaknesses.
- Identify what your competitors do better: there is internal brand weakness and external brand weakness. Evaluate what you believe is being done better elsewhere and determine whether those strategies could be adopted by your organization to strengthen your brand. Competition is healthy, and we can learn much from other industry players.
Is Your Brand Weakness Truly a Weakness?
Most organizations have performed SWOT analyses from time to time. Identifying your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats is a great way to determine where you stand both internally and externally. However, categorizing where your brand’s weaknesses truly lie can be deceptively difficult. Organizations have a tendency to view weaknesses as “bad stuff that happened in the past”. Yet these are seldom the true weaknesses of a brand.
Let’s look at a hypothetical example. Let’s say your company recently lost its largest client after doing business for 20 or so years. Before the relationship was terminated, the client’s relationship manager had been on vacation for a week. The client received late shipments and was unable to get a hold of a relationship manager or service rep in a timely manner, and the contract was terminated shortly thereafter.
It would be convenient to simply say that the client left due to a bad customer service experience. The organization could hire more service reps and call it a day. However, a brand invested in turning weaknesses to opportunities would instead call that old client. During that phone call, they might learn that the client had been unsatisfied with the brand’s failure to adopt new ideas, inflexible pricing options, and out-of-date technology. Following up allowed this brand to gain insight into what their brand can do to improve moving forward.
Turning Brand Weakness into Opportunities Using Brand Metrics
Of course, not all weaknesses will be spoon fed with direct feedback. Instead, using digital brand metrics to proactively locate and correct brand weaknesses is paramount. Marketing professionals will be familiar with the standard digital brand metrics such as total impressions, retention rates, sales, bounce rates, and so forth. The key to using brand metrics is to identify actionable brand weaknesses and dig deep to find the root cause of the problem(s).
High quality brand metrics reporting should give you insight into just that. If your sales are lagging, perhaps it is due to high bounce rates. If bounce rates are high, your site speed may be to blame. Finding connections between brand metrics is just as important as identifying trouble areas. At the end of the day, identifying weaknesses is only as valuable as a brand’s ability to turn them into opportunities for improvement.
Brands should not overreact to perceived weaknesses
As a final point, it is important to remember that ascertaining brand weaknesses and areas for improvement does not always necessitate a massive adjustment to correct. Brands must toe the line between adaptability and brand consistency to deliver the highest quality experience. The strongest brands in the world got to where they are today by delivering a clear, consistent brand message. Yet our modern age demands fast adaptation to market shifts. The ability to do both is the difference between brands that will stick and brands which will likely fade away.
Strengthen Your Brand Image with Clock Tower Insight
At Clock Tower Insight, we turn data into business solutions. By maximizing brand positioning, CX management, moments of influence, and more, we help build our clients brands in the short and long term. Clock Tower Insight believes that happy customers equal a happy business. We work closely with clients to tailor their brand from top to bottom in order to maximize positive image, exposure, and sales.
To learn more about how we may be able to help your business grow, read about our 15 plus years of focused experience working with brands such as Starbucks, Kraft, McDonald’s, and much more.