Does your brand make the market work too hard?

By Brad Dodge on January 7th, 2010

Face it. There’s a LOT of stuff out there. Your company must do everything it can to eliminate reasons your market might miss you amidst the daily tsunami of information. Here are 5 ways companies miss opportunities to be noticed.

  • Your URL is hard to find and non-intuitive.  If your corporate name is Healthy Days, Inc., the market will look for you at healthydays.com. If your URL is healthydaysinc.com, healthydays.net, healthydays.biz, hdi.com, callustoday.com or any other variation, there are some number of visitors that won’t find you. How many? Any number is too many.
  • You’re using an acronym the market isn’t familiar with. When I showed up at the MGMA conference this year, I stumbled into the convention center and saw a giant banner that said “AC09.” I thought to myself, I must be in the wrong place. It took me a few minutes to figure out that AC was an acronym for Annual Conference, and if you looked really hard, way down in the corner, you could make out the uber-familiar MGMA logo. Why on earth is MGMA pushing a new acronym as their identity? (I can hear you arguing, “It’s just the conference identity, no big deal, right?”) Point is there is NO one that knows that AC is a short name for the MGMA conference. Why make the market work that hard to recognize the brand, diluting its strength along the way? We call this a break-even-or-lose choice. There is absolutely NO upside, and a tremendous downside potential.
  • Your corporate brand competes with your product brands. If Proctor and Gamble wanted you to know that Tide (or any other of its 22 billion-dollar brands) is a Proctor and Gamble brand, they’d increase their marketing and promotions budget to make it happen. If you want your customer to know you as Healthy Days and you want them to know your products as Ficiency, Ductivity, and Fitability, you need to consider how far you’ll get fragmenting your marketing dollar across 4 brands. B2B brands often only have a dollar to spend, and it should be spent on building one brand.
  • You’re hanging on to old names from old products and acquisitions.  If your call center is saying, “Yeah, we’re Healthy Days, but everyone knows us as MediHealth,” or if your acquired application still has MediHealth on the user screens, then you have a brand problem. Stuck between the old and the new. Take the short term hit and rid your company completely of the old brand. It’s painful for a few months, but you’ll have a much stronger brand coming out the other end.  If there is a ton of equity in both the corporate and the acquired brands, consider merging the brands into one, either temporarily or permanently.
  • You’ve chosen the world’s most non-distinguishable name.  We often hear, “But we have to have ‘MED’ in the name so the market will know that we’re in the industry!” We couldn’t disagree more. We recently had a company suggest (a variation of) “Revenue Cycle Management Solutions, Inc.” as their new name and they suggested that because the name was long, they could just use the acronym RCMSI. Puh-Lease! Can you imagine if Google was called “Internet Browser Solutions, Inc” (IBSI?) Or ebay: “Online Auction and Retail Portal, Inc, (OARPI) Twitter: Micro-blogging Solutions for People, Inc (MBSPI) Take the lead from these innovative organizations! Name your company in a creative, memorable way!  You’ll start with a brand that’s free of any baggage, and it’ll be your responsibility to build it exactly the way you want it to be built.

In 2010, take formidable steps to making it easy for your market to find you. Greater awareness leads to more opportunities to sell.