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How to Cure WhirlyBrand

By: Ed Roach



Is your brand in a whirl? Many a CEO have ignored the signs and are afraid to contact their brand doctors. Some fear the embarrassment of having to admit that they have long ignored the obvious and suffer from denial. Many simply have no idea why they are suffering and are just confused and anxious. If you are uncertain, here are a few things that might alert you that your brand is suffering from WhirlyBrand:

Symptom: Your business completely blends in throughout its category. There is nothing to distinguish you.
Diagnosis? WhirlyBrand. People confuse your company with that of your competition? I’m afraid you’ve become a commodity.
Treatment: The dreaded “D” word—differentiation. Yes, you have to discover what it is that used to make customers love you. Why were they willing to pay more for your services as compared to today’s situation where you have been reduced to a price and easily replaced? You must discover ways to put your company back on top defining you as the leader in your category. What makes you absolutely different? What is your difference that no other company else can lay claim to? – nobody said this was going to be easy.
Symptom: Your staff are withdrawn; they seem uninspired, gloomy.
Diagnosis? WhirlyBrand. You’ve played it safe for so long, your most prized assets, your employees are disillusioned by the company. They no longer understand what it stands for. They too have lost their direction. Your company is no longer attracting great talent.
Treatment: You’ve got to give the team something to live for. As the visionary, you must step up to the table and inspire them again. Develop a positioning strategy that has the competition shaking their heads. Don’t carry on business-as-usual. Get their input and carry out their recommendations. It will empower and motivate them. They will become super advocates—they are a part of what makes your company great!
Symptom: Your brand image is all over the map; even you are confused by what you represent.
Diagnosis? WhirlyBrand. You have multiple versions of your brand logo. Your corporate colors change depending on use. The blue on your signs is different than your stationary and website. Your brand image is very similar to the current leader in your category. You have multiple brand icons, none of which are exploited to the benefit of the company.
Treatment: You’ve been playing follow the leader far too long. Identify icons and images that compliment your brand values and personality. Develop a brand strategy for your brand image components. Make sure that nobody goes against this strategy and even assign a person to patrol its use. Your have got to take back control of your brand image.
Symptom: You are at a loss for words at networking and sales opportunities. This sudden loss for words has you nervous and concerned.
Diagnosis? WhirlyBrand. You don’t quite know what you stand for. Your company has a mission statement, but frankly it is milquetoast. It says the same cozy things most mission statements say. You can list off all of the things you sell, if given the time, but you do not have a compelling position.
Treatment: Develop a statement that says exactly what you do that distinguishes your company. It must be compelling enough to ignite conversation. Perhaps it is in the form of a question. Whatever the structure, the cure here is to compel.
Symptom: Your personal brand conflicts with that of your company. You are never called upon for your opinion. You feel withdrawn.
Diagnosis? WhirlyBrand. You have not defined yourself as an expert in your category. People around you may like you but do not necessarily consider you to be an expert at anything in particular. You have lost your edge.
Treatment: Assert yourself. Start doing speaking engagements on your area of expertise. Write articles, start a blog, engage people with your wisdom. Define who you are and what you stand for. Ideally it is an extension of your corporate brand, each complementing the other. Do not assume people know what you do—tell them!
Do not panic if some of these symptoms sound awfully familiar. If your company has WhirlyBrand, take notice—it is serious. If it goes unattended it can be terminal. BUT the good news it can be cured. Once you have had a brand physical, you then be on the road to recovery. Nobody has to suffer from this troublesome malady.
The cure does take determination and resolve, but the best news is, NO RUBBER GLOVES ARE NEEDED IN THE TREATMENT!
Published: July 12, 2013

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Ed Roach

For more than 25 years, Ed Roach has worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiate them from their competition. Ed appreciates working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions, and consults predominantly with businesses facilitating his proprietary process, "Brand Navigator." This branding process effectively focuses a company's brand, delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace. He is the author of "101 Branding Tips," a book of practical advice for your brand that you can use today.

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