Mar 19, 2010

Are You Getting Typecast?

Profile of a Twitter user

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And is that good for your branding efforts? Getting typecast is an interesting problem in business, especially when you're looking to grow in new directions. In the beginning, you're thrilled to break through, and make an impression (hopefully, you measure beyond that). Alas, when you evolve, you'd like to take on new roles.
If you're feeling a little like Ray Liotta's after he worked on Goodfellas, you may be the norm. Most brands have a hard time evolving, because they tend to do such a good job in one role that they become very successful at what was, get stuck, and don't communicate how they've changed. People do that, too.
Having worked with mature brands in need to re-energize communications for the next level of growth, I can tell you that the hardest part of the process is that of letting go of old habits -- thinking or taking for granted that what the brand stood for is all it can even be to its customers and become to itself.
While positioning happens in the minds of the people who do business with you, there is a lot you can do to reconnect with a changed value proposition. Slapping a coat of new logo or style guide paint may put you on life support, but may not give you new life. Instead, identify what has become core to you/your business in its evolution, and propose it differently.
Think Lady Gaga: the loyalty lessons, and the art of brand reinvention. An incredibly talented singer, she broke through mainstream after music producer Rob Fusari involuntarily gave her the moniker "Lady Gaga". At that point, the brand persona that connects with so many was truly unleashed.
Consistency is good. Even better is mixing it up a little, or moving along the connection motivation ladder.
Are you getting typecast? What do you think are your biggest obstacles?