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Protecting Your Brand

The word "protecting"—did it make you think legal? Trademarks and copyrights? Those are definite components for safeguarding your brand. Right off the bat, let's put it out there that the word brand and all the little catch phrases that go with it—brand essence, brand identity, brand strategy—are used ad nauseum. We use the word as a springboard for building ideas, launching campaigns and impressing others. Whichever approach you align with, it is essential that you protect your brand from brand erosion. Yes, with vulnerability, sales can dip and customers can dwindle. But I'm talking about a fundamental question to ask before any of that may happen. How often do you hit the pause button to ask yourself "who am I?"

One of my favorite fractured idioms—one that I try hard to not slip into—is the "ready, fire, aim" approach to marketing. Businesses are moving faster than ever to get their messaging out to market. Deadlines are tighter, budgets are leaner, staffs are smaller and business directives can come from so many places—from the CEO to the board of directors to the market itself. This frenzy can easily create a vortex of reactivity. If A happens, we do B. If B happens, let's quickly shift to C. This knee-jerk pattern can go on and on until suddenly you look at an ad that you've created, or you visit your website, or you read your tagline du jour, and you have this feeling of "how did I get here?" Somewhere along the way to getting everything out the door, did you lose the ability to step back and have your "wait a minute" moment?

"Wait a minute" moments are critical for protecting your brand. While the day-to-day pandemonium is probably unavoidable, the pause button is always on the offering. Press it when you hear yourself trying to shoehorn your brand into something simply because it fits a trend. Press it when you're making changes just to mirror your competition. Press it when you need to reconnect with your brand's foundation and how it all began. Press pause because suspending time for even a few seconds can give you the power to make active—not reactive—decisions. And that's the ultimate in brand protection.

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