The Hard-to-Swallow Truth About Branding

If Starbucks can lose its brand mojo, do you think your brand can remain immune to erosion? Plus, the 5 questions you must ask yourself right now.


Businesses too often do “what’s worked.” That’s a good practice, as long as it continues to work. Unfortunately, companies often recognize much too late that “what we’ve always done” isn’t working as it had in the past. This is generally accompanied by that “strong resistance to change” phenomena seen in larger corporations or bureaucratic businesses.


Losing That Buzzing Feeling
Look at Starbucks and you’ll see this as a key factor to their business contraction. They caught on much too slowly to see the changing trends, needs, and desires of their customers. If it can happen to coffee powerhouse Starbucks, what makes us think we are immune?

And while smaller companies can be much more agile and fluid, they’ll fall into this trap unless they are:

  • Keenly observant
  • Quick to evaluate and
  • Nimble enough to take action.

It goes something like this:
We’ve always made our product this way (or delivered it in this way). That works well for 2, 4, 5, or 10 years.


All of a sudden, it doesn’t work. What happened? The needs, desires, trends, and “basic instincts” have changed. All of a sudden (or more commonly, slowly, under the radar, over a protracted period of time), customers need something different.

Now if their needs have changed (and your business model, its way of doing business, or the manner in which you deliver your product hasn’t), you will be out of sync and unless you respond quickly, out of business.

The 5 questions you must ask yourself…now
When it was working, it was WORKING. If it isn’t now, it is time for some RAPID (spelled F-A-S-T) assessment to figure how to become relevant again.

  • Is our brand meaningful?
  • Does our brand connect to our customer?
  • Has our brand lost its way with how life is today?
  • Has the competition muddied up the field?
  • Are your customers confused about what your brand stands for anymore?

Insanity isn’t good for business, really
Insanity has been described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

With this outline, your business can become sane (and relevant and profitable) once more.

David Brier
is an
award-winning brand identity designer, author,
and branding expert. His firm’s
has won the admiration of peers and organizations but, more
importantly, has helped clients jump-start their brands in new and
innovative ways, even (and especially) when they’ve failed in previous
brand makeovers. You can follow him on Twitter here.

About the author

Brand identity expert, veteran designer, author, speaker and Fast Company expert blogger. Shark Tank investor and CEO of fashion brand Fubu, Daymond John states, "David Brier is brilliant with branding." He’s been written about in, INC and Fortune Small Business. In addition to being a branding specialist and a Fast Company expert blogger, David's Slideshare presentations on branding have exceeded the 500,000 view milestone (a founding member of Slideshare's Half-a-Million Views Club) and is the 1st place winner in the 2013 Shorty Awards (known industry-wide as “The Oscars for Social Media”) for branding