There's a challenge that's crippling organizations right now. It's speed. Marketing departments that remain agile and push content out at a fast pace are thriving. Marketing departments that are paralyzed by brand perfection are failing. It's the old adage of the tortoise and the hare.
The tortoise always used to win. The companies that crafted clear, perfect messaging and imagery consistently made it to the top. Companies without a solid brand would be left behind… untrusted and unnoticed as the perfected brand stole the spotlight and their prospect's interest.
The marketplace has evolved, though, and now customers communicate and research their next purchase, giving very little notice (or credit) to the brand. They, instead, seek advice from friends and family, reviews from strangers, and want to open a dialogue with a company instead of being directed to voice mail or email. They want answers, not beautiful logos, websites, ads and slogans.
The races are shorter and the hares are now winning. Imperfect brands are supported – and even thrive these days – if their company is providing the prospects with value and insight. A logo, a slogan and a pretty product isn't enough nowadays to attract the masses. Instead, a team that provides guidance and leadership is valued more than the product itself.
So which is it? The tortoise of brand perfection or the hare of content speed that wins the race?
I think the hare is edging out the tortoise. Brands are a critical part of your overall strategy, but when the perfection of that brand is actually inhibiting your ability to communicate with those who want and are waiting to do so, you're not meeting the expectations of your market. The market is demanding that you communicate with them frequently to provide value.
The market is not seeking perfection, it's seeking answers. Big brands can still thrive, but not unless they adopt the agility of the hare. The hares can drive a ton of business… but they need to still perfect their brand over time.
Some examples of Brand over Speed:
- Companies who pour over an infographic design for months to tweak every detail. Infographics are shared based on both the design and the data. Every infographic is not going to go viral. Get the infographic out there, learn from the results, and start designing the next one. Getting half a dozen infographics to market that look good is better than not getting any out there at all.
- Companies so concerned with telling the perfect story that they ignore the fact that the reader isn't looking for a story at all. They have a problem and they're looking for something to fix it. If you fix it, they'll make the purchase. If all you have is stories, you're going to lose business to those who have the answers.
- Companies with a knowingly crappy website that's not performing, hesitating to pull the trigger on publishing a new website that's better… but not perfect. It's awesome that you're working on designing a treasure, but right now you just need something that works. Get it working, improve as you go.
Companies don't often worry about speed because they have little means of measuring the revenue they are losing. As we work with companies to push them to be more agile, we're often frustrated at the amount of interruptions folks have, especially based on perfection, before going live. Once we go live, though, the company often comes back and says… I wish we would have done this months ago.
I'm not advocating for sacrificing your brand. I'm advocating a compromise between speed and brand so you can maximize and leverage both to improve your overall marketing efforts.