Brand marketing, figuratively speaking, has always been about placing a “stake in the sand”.

Literally, this means determining a stance composed of strategy, a slew of tactics and the commitment to stay the course. However in today’s workplace and at today’s speed of business, maintaining a commitment to stay the course is more complex and difficult than it has been in the past. Adding to this is the very real fact that marketing people also change positions frequently – typically staying in a role 2 years or less. This often adds challenges for the brand and its direction. In my years of working with brand marketers, I have seen many make pitfall errors.

1) Don’t jump to conclusions:
Take the time to know the brand and understand the basis for the strategy being employed. Too often with new marketers coming on board, the want (or need) to make “their personal mark” takes precedence over the strategy in place for the brand.

2) Step aside:
The building of a brand is not about your likes and dislikes. Even if you are part of the target market profile, the mere fact that you’re a marketer, distinguishes you from the target market of the brand. It’s not about how you feel or whether you personally like the direction – it’s about the brand. Let’s face it, a brand’s life cycle may span over the course of many brand professionals. It is important that the brand’s character, consistency of tone, style and voice be maintained – evolved but consistent.

3) Don’t sweat the small stuff:
Brand marketing relies on the marketing professional’s ability to make sure that the brand attributes and physical demeanor are maintained. I agree with the notion that the “creative” is the fun part (that’s why I’m in advertising!). Although just because one is in marketing, doesn’t make them creative (sorry). Changing the creative is often the low hanging fruit. In other words, the quickest and easiest way for anyone to leave their mark is by making small visual changes that are “visible” to everyone. However this is often superficial. The bigger issues surrounding a brand take time to assimilate and change. The elements that make up the “brand being”, are those that are often, not seen instantly. Prioritize for what adds value.

Ultimately, I have found that patience is a good thing when brand marketing and brand making is at stake. The temptation to change direction too quickly can be strong; however, it often leaves the brand jumping around, trying on new approaches and never able to build on its own momentum. Instead, the brand is left yearning for what could be.