As a brand marketing firm, we here at Design the Planet talk a lot about what it takes to make a brand successful, and the steps you should take to make a brand stick. However, it is just as important to understand the less-mentioned landmines that can cause an initially strong brand to falter. Some of the biggest brand names in America have watched their sales steadily decrease by over 50%, forcing them to close hundreds of locations and even file for bankruptcy in some cases. How can national powerhouses like Blimpie and TCBY struggle after reaching the pinnacle of success? I’m going to discuss some major branding boo-boos you should look out for in order to avoid meeting a similar fate.

The most common qualities that cause big name brands to fail are simple: overconfidence and complacence. When a brand reaches a certain level of success, they often come to the conclusion that they are invincible, and what works now will work forever. It is vital to keep in mind that the key to a healthy, thriving brand is CHANGE. Social trends are constantly evolving, and we always tell our clients that a smart brand not only adapts to change, but is a few steps ahead of it- a game-changer, if you will. In order to keep a leg up on the competition and appeal to new generations of fans, you must constantly update your brand to stay current and relevant.

Another major faux pas in our plugged-in society is failure to connect with your brand audience. As I’ve discussed many a time on my social media soapbox, many a company underestimates the value of making a customer a raving fan by connecting with them via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like. When a consumer feels connected to you on a personal level, THAT is what makes them think of you when choosing what toothpaste to use or which laundry detergent to throw in the basket, and THAT is what makes them recommend your brand to their friends and family. By taking the time to build a rapport that creates loyal fans, you are literally building an army of free brand ambassadors. By failing to show that you care about the people that purchase your product, you are breeding disinterest and indifference.

Brands like Bennigan’s and Tony Roma’s showcase the valuable lesson that the higher you fly, the farther you have to fall. Great branding requires vigilance and action; make sure to never get too comfortable, and the throne is yours to keep!