Empty billboard show how poor branding can kill marketing efforts

How to Tell if Your Brand Is Killing Your Marketing

Justin Lynch
Justin Lynch

Brand Strategist & Co-Founder

Branding is a very powerful tool. A great brand reduces your marketing costs, increases conversions, and generates referral business.

However, if neglected, your brand can start to kill your marketing efforts. If people have a negative perception of your brand you have to work that much harder to convince them that your product or service is right for them.

There are a variety of common branding mistakes that will cause your brand to negatively affect your marketing efforts. But, how can you tell if your brand is the problem with your marketing?

Signs to Look For

As with all marketing efforts, data is your best friend. If you have the right data and know how to interpret it, you’re already ahead of the curve. Even if you don’t though we’ll walk you through the data you should be looking at for each potential sign.

Increased marketing costs to achieve the same results

One of the first signs you may have a branding issue is if you have to continue to spend more money just to produce the same results. Detecting this issue is fairly simple — compare your marketing spend with the results you’re looking to achieve (bookings, purchases, calls, etc). Has an increase in spend proportionately increased your results? If not, the effectiveness of your marketing has decreased. 

Data to look at:

  • Marketing Spend
  • Change in desired results

Less engagement with customers

Passion leads to engagement. So, when customers talk about your brand (both good and bad) it means they’re engaged with it.

While it’s best to temper negative engagement, it’s an indicator that those customers still care. And if a customer still cares, there is a chance you can turn them into a brand advocate (provided you fix the issues that caused them to feel negatively towards your brand). In the end, the worst thing that can happen to your brand from an engagement stand point is apathy.

So, if you notice customers are not engaging with your brand as frequently as they used to, it’s a sign that something is amiss.

Data to look at:

  • Social media comments
  • Email open rates
  • Email click rates
  • Direct outreach from customers

Decrease in reviews and referrals

Getting customers to leave reviews or testimonials is a struggle. Unless someone feels strongly about the experience they had with your brand they’re unlikely to leave a review or refer others.

However, when you brand creates the transformation it promises customers are usually compelled to tell others about it. If you have a decrease in reviews and/or referrals it could be a sign that your brand is no longer having the impact it used to.

Data to look at:

  • Frequency of reviews
  • Percentage of customers willing to give a review when asked
  • Number of referrals over time

How to Tell if Your Issues Are Branding Related

While it’s easy to notice issues if your marketing, it’s hard to accurately know if your brand is the root of the problem. The reason for this is that branding issues have the same symptoms as other marketing issues.

So, eliminating those other factors is the best way to determine if your brand is the problem.

Go through each factor below.

  • If you answer ‘No’ to every question then your brand is the likely culprit.
  • If you answer ‘Yes’ you’ve likely found one of potentially underlying issues affecting your marketing.

Note: Even if other factors are affecting your marketing, it doesn’t mean that your brand still isn’t causing issues.

Is the market getting more competitive?

When your market gets more competitive it causes your marketing spend to be less effective.

Questions to answer:

  • Have any new competitors entered your market?
  • Have any existing competitors increased their presence in the market (either through marketing or new locations)?
  • Has your market been in the news lately?
  • Have outside factors impacted the way companies do business in your market?

Have customer buying habits changed?

It’s inevitable — nothing stays the same forever. That includes customer buying habits. A marketing strategy that led to record profits a year ago may be a total disaster today.

Questions to answer:

  • Have you seen a shift in demand for any particular products/services you offer?
  • Are your competitors marketing different products/services than before?
  • Have outside factors affected the lives of your customers?
  • Have customers started asking new questions regarding your products/services?

Next Steps

The most likely cause of your branding issues comes from inconsistencies. Luckily, these can easily be solved by doing a Brand Audit.

A Brand Audit is a process you use to objectively review and improve your brand. Read ‘How to Successfully Perform a Brand Audit‘ to learn more.

Or, if you’re ready to get started doing your own Brand Audit we have a complimentary, self-guided package that provides you everything you need.

Cover of the brand audit checklist digital workbook

Get your brand on track

Brand Audit Checklist

Learn the process we use to help businesses identify issues with their brand. This self-guided package provides you everything you need to successfully audit your brand.

Simply click the download button. No email required!