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Resenting a Brand – Business Failures Caused by Brand Failure

That may sound harsh, but it’s completely true. Running a business and managing a brand are equally important and completely different. There are businesses that are successful because consumers don’t have a choice but to use their product or service. The brand, to a great degree, is irrelevant. However, once there’s a competitive option, the exodus begins, and the business fails. Some brands are wildly successful in captivating an audience early on, but then the business fails to maintain that market lead. The original flash of consumer attraction could be due to a great innovation that was first to market, an acquisition of the market through promotional or financial incentives, or simply because they are the best available at the time. A History of Failure It’s easy to identify businesses that had a captive audience, , but then lost the race. Simply think about the following brands: Blackberry and their rise to fame for instant email. Innovation drove the original success, and brand loyalty gave the company years of life support. Heck, for a long time, people resisted the iPhone conversion because of the non-push element of email. Then there was Internet Explorer. How fast did Microsoft’s audience run away from this internet browser when the market presented options? This is a great example of a strong brand with weak brand loyalty and a weak product. Limited consumer options with an essentially free offering drove the original success. Going a bit further into history of browsers, we could even talk about Netscape Navigator’s rise and fall. Brands are not just representations of the business, product or service. They are the relationship with consumers. They are essential to current and ongoing success. Reflect on your Business and your Brand Do you have a brand that people resent? Here’s an easy example of a poor brand, but a successful business. There is a local gym in my hometown which is arguably the best gym. It has indoor and outdoor pools, great workout spaces, several classes, several racquet sports facilities, and on the surface you would think it’s a great place. An accurate description may be, it’s not the greatest place, but it is the best place. It is the best place for the region, but the membership won’t be loyal if a better choice enters the market. This business chooses to invest the least amount possible into its member services, which are the cornerstone of the relationship with the customer. Resentment builds  in the first 100 paces of entering this gym. First, it opens early in the morning, but the hours aren’t all that great. The employees will see a line forming outside, but still refuse to open the door until the clock ticks the exact hour. Then, amplifying the negative effect of refusing to just open the doors, there’s a line to scan in,,. created by dated check-in technology. You continue walking the halls to the locker rooms. You would expect that if you had to wait to enter the building the TVs would be on, the music would be driving a great vibe, and staff would be bustling to prepare for the important clients entering. But, no. You enter a locker room which occasionally could have a more inviting aroma. You proceed to the workout room where equipment has not been neatly organized, the weights not evenly distributed among the machines, and there is no staff on hand taking these steps.  It would be easy to continue sharing the experience right up to the end of a workout session with no towel service, the cheapest body wash and shampoo products, etc. But you get the idea. The business is running a great business. The brand is failing miserably at creating loyalty. The business doesn’t currently have to do any more than it does, because it’s still the best in the area. That ‘attitude’ is what the brand says to the members. It creates resentment. If Equinox is reading this article, they should investigate my hometown. The demo and sociographics are perfect for them. Brands are much more than the name on the door. They are the relationship the business has with their consumers. The product or service is what brings them together. The brand is what keeps them together.  
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