How to Save a Dying Brand

pexels-photo-210990With markets becoming ever more competitive as brands dominate the business environment, it might not be surprising to hear that about 80% of new start-ups and brands go out of business within their first 3 years. Many marketers and entrepreneurs wonder if they can bring a dying brand back to life.  The answer to that is definitely a resounding yes. Even successful and popular brands such as Lego, Volkswagen have had moments in their past where things have been shaky, before implementing changes that turned things around.

As a business and financial advisor, I have not only used the below devised strategies to revive my own brand but have also helped other declining business and brands to grow and be successful.

Let’s take a look at them:

  • Identify the Early Warning Signs

Be attentive and recognise any problems that you encounter. If you stay vigilant and remain realistic and honest about problems as you find them, you can tackle them head on before they become too serious.

Let’s take an example company like Blockbuster. Blockbuster failed to spot their issues early enough to save their brand, whilst Netflix prospered through vigilance and taking the right actions at the right time. Blockbuster failed in noticing that their customers preferred to have movies/shows sent directly to them, but they went on building brand new stores instead of making the required changes to its business model in order to stay relevant. Netflix would have done the same, but they focussed on trends and provided their streaming subscription service that customers were looking for. The rest, as they say, is history.

If you’re worried your, or your clients brand, is suffering, or you simply want to put together an emergency plan, pay close attention to a depleting customer base and falling revenue. If you don’t adapt your brand according to the changing market whilst meeting the demands of your customers, your competitors will take advantage to get ahead of you and your brand will slowly succumb to fierce cutthroat competition.

  • Make Use of the Nostalgia Factor

Research and studies have shown that nostalgia is top emotion that captures attention, reducing boredom, loneliness and anxiety. It makes us more generous, tolerant and gives a sense of “social connection”.

This strategy was used by brands like Polaroid where they joined the “#InThe90sIThought “on Twitter.

By tapping into the nostalgia and old memories of your existing customers, you can create a valuable sentiment that will remind them how much they used to love your service or product. Whilst a memorable logo, tagline or jingle certainly help, you can do other things to activate nostalgia. Vintage packaging, throwback prices or t-shirts with old-school logos are all ways to invoke nostalgia in your customer base.

  • Rework Your Brand

Sometimes, the state of your existing brand requires a complete revamp. Generally, you’ll be in this position if your brand recently suffered some bad PR that disrupted your good image in the minds of your customers. Think American Airlines recent escapade with forcibly evicting a passenger from a flight.

A brand revamp typically requires a new design that reflects a real change, especially to your brand strategy and experience. Focus on simple yet impactful positives that illustrate your brand goals over the long-term.

  • Keep Your Loyal Customers Coming Back

While you need loyal customers to sustain your business model, the near-death experience of your brand may mean you’ve lost business to your competition. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t win your business back. Here’s some ideas of how to win back your customers as you breathe new life into your existing brand.

  • Collect feedback on why your customers left and act on it
  • Offer incentives through social platforms, email marketing etc
  • Reach your customers quickly – it’s much easier to change their mind whilst the issue is fresh
  • Send personalised emails to remind your customers of their past experiences with you or your brand
  • Generate a sense of urgency in them by offering discounts,  coupons, or promotions for a limited time

In addition to rewarding past customers, don’t miss the opportunity to provide top-quality customer service when they return to you. Excellent customer service is a great way to make your customers start loving your brand again.

  • Appeal to New Customers

While past and existing customers are the lifeblood of your brand, you also need to engage with a new audience whilst your brand recovers. It might be worth returning to your roots – how did you gain customers when you first started? Interact with your audience both offline and online. Share incredible content on blog sites and social media. Try attending networking events, offer sales promotions and collaborate with other successful brands.

  • Use Different Channels

Generally, it’s not viable for brands to put all of their marketing eggs into a single basket. “Omni-channel marketing” is a tried and tested strategy used to reach out to customers and prospects on multiple platforms, ensuring maximum brand exposure.

In order to get started, Google recommends that business /brands should know their customers. Utilise demographic information like location, gender, website browsing habits or search habits, their shopping spots etc. and make strategies based on this data.

  • Clear Debts

No matter how hard you try to get your brand back up on its feet, it won’t start running with a weight of debt on its shoulders. You need to start reducing the amount of debt you’re carrying first and implement a long-term strategy to get back on track.

Debts can build up in many ways, such as customers not paying on time, not generating enough revenue from the business, etc.  It exacerbates when you take out loans from banks, as they often charge high interest rates and impose strict payback deadlines with little flexibility.

How do you break the debt cycle? A good way to get out of debt is alternative business finance. There are several alternative business finance products such as asset finance, cash flow finance, invoice finance etc. that can help you get out of debt without being forced to pay high interest on the amount you have borrowed. Look for a trustworthy business fund provider who can offer you a helping hand to get your brand back up and running.

Take away

By implementing the tips I have discussed you are taking the first steps to resurrecting your brand. However, keep in mind that it won’t just bounce back over night. During your recovery period, there’s going to be a lot of tense moments, however, if you stick at it and keep patient, you’ll come out the other side with a stronger brand and more loyal customers.

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