Lessons on how to keep your brand fresh.

By Luke Sklar and Amber Hudson

Here’s a scenario: you’re out for dinner, no reservations, just hitting the streets to try to find a great place to eat.  It’s 8:00 and you walk by a few restaurants.  You find one that looks nice, with a good menu, but as you peer in the window you see but one couple sitting in by the window.  You move on.  The next place is hopping; you go in and enjoy the evening.  The next day you’re out shopping, you cruise towards a clothing store that is empty except for the listless sales person.  You scoot on by.

So what’s going on?  It’s pretty clear isn’t it…these places have become smelly.  The funk they give off is enough to make you run for the hills.  Sad but true.  As we all knew in high school, popularity counts.  And once people get a waft of unpopularity, your brand is screwed.

Examples of smelly brands (sadly, there are too many to list):

Myspace is in No Space

Using music as its anchor, it started off as the king of social media.  Then Myspace did the tango with Rupert Murdoch and cashed in.  Their objective is no longer on improving the user experience but rather proving to the big boys that their acquisition is profitable (read:  all about advertising dollars).  As a result it’s slow to innovate, has no real understanding of itself as a brand and has lost touch with its original audience.  Facebook has a single minded focus:  improving every day.  It directs most of its energy on making the user experience better by allowing developers to work on apps, adding available features and by making it easier for businesses and other users to reach out.

Make it a Blockbuster Night – not!

The stench of failure can be attributed to the company’s inability to adapt to changes in technology and consumer needs.  And it didn’t go unnoticed by start ups like Netflix, Redbox, Vudu, and Hulu.

The Softer Side of Sears is Melting Away

Back in the day it dominated the mail order business.  They are fantastically mediocre in many categories, winners in none.  Their relevance has been squashed by disruptive approaches:  the big box retail concept; online shopping reinvented by Amazon;  affordable, quality fashion, speed to market by Zara.

Drive Your Chevy to the Levy:

Was the quintessential iconic brand, firmly embedded in the fabric of 20th century American culture. Knock, knock, hello, we are now in the 21st century.  They tried to wash the smell off by reinventing itself by looking in the past.  Thing is, most people are forward looking to brands like Hyundai and Honda.

So, how do you keep your brand from becoming smelly?  Want to stay fresh?  Then constantly RE-fresh by:

1. Aggressively differentiating and being famous for something

2. Be proactive, relevant:  improve and innovate, never lose touch with your customer, understand their pain points and delight them…profitably (of course)

Understand what brought you to the party in the first place:  know the business you’re in, stay true to who you are and consistently deliver on this promise

This is the Everything is Marketing blog.   We are here to prove that every single issue in life, every person, story or event, has a marketing lesson.  And we want you to join in the conversation.   So crack those knuckles and weigh in on the discussion, share your thoughts and ideas, agree or disagree.  Bring it on; we want to hear from you!  And if you like what you read, click on a button below to share.