November 13, 2017

Nutrition Brands Drift When the Visionary Isn’t Part of the Marketing

Your brand wasn’t created via divine birth. Some very insightful someone — or a small group of these someones — envisioned this thing when no one else could. That visionary is the reason you exist. And why you’re awesomely successful.

So why is it so many brands drift away from their origins and become me-toos or worse, failures? It’s a natural by-product of growth:

  • The brand starts succeeding at a phenomenal rate
  • People need to be added just as quickly; spread begins
  • An increasing separation occurs between the visionary and the marketing team; ideas start to multiply too
  • The visionary is either sequestered or gets on to other things, thinking the store is adequately minded
  • The original vision gets lost in translation and brand drift begins
  • Left unabated, the once singularly great brand bears little resemblance to what the well-meaning team has created

Out of respect, I don’t want to name any names. And of course, this doesn’t always happen — some brands do an incredible job of keeping the visionary front and center.

I’ll go outside the category, so as not to play any favorites, with one word — Zuckerberg.

Everyone knows he’s the visionary behind one of the most highly-valued brands on the planet, Facebook. And especially recently, Mr. Zuckerberg has been making his continued shepherding of the company and the brand — obvious. Yeah, he’s got plenty of other stuff to do. He’s unarguably hired the best and the brightest. But HE STARTED THE DAMN THING! And years later, a planet of users and the ability to, as they say, print money, hasn’t changed that.

After all, Mr. Zuckerberg and his team know these benefits to keeping the visionary intimately involved with the brand:

  • The original intent of the brand doesn’t get watered down
  • Greed for greater market share is eliminated in favor of going after the types of people the brand went after in the first place
  • When things evolve, it’s because the visionary wants them to, not someone else
  • People know what to expect
  • Investors possess greater confidence — they’re still buying what they bought

Great, so, how does a CPG nutrition brand keep the visionary involved?

  • No matter how busy he or she gets, keep her or him in touch with the highest level of the marketing team
  • Be sure the agency has access to that person, and gets his or her opinion, before the start of any large, new campaign
  • Occasionally feature the visionary in social media posts and even sampling events and trade shows— be sure your customers know the ship is still under the control of the original captain
  • Resist the urge to say, “I know what (the visionary) would say.” Instead, ask (the visionary).

Avoid the expense and frustration of brand drift — keep the visionary close and see success, forever!