Your company's brand is its identity. A brand is key to the story you tell; it is the face your company presents to the world. Unfortunately, countless companies have weak brands that fail to communicate much of anything to the consumer.

Can you think of a weak brand? You probably can't. Any of the brands that come to mind quickly are strong, cohesive brands that are uniquely tied to the products and services the company offers. And therein lies the problem of weak branding: weak brands fade into the background.

How can you tell if you're touting a weak brand? Here are four signs that you need to re-brand as soon as possible.

People don't understand what you do.

If good brands don't communicate exactly what the company does up front, they quickly make themselves synonymous with those products or services. Geico, for example, immediately triggers the thought of "insurance." The brand is so strong, they've even tied a gecko to the notion of insurance.

Weak brands, on the other hand, are forgettable and seemingly unrelated to the company's mission. If people you know are constantly asking "what is it you do again?" you have failed to establish a strong brand. Part of the problem here is disseminating your message, but you have to work the advertising to properly build your brand. Otherwise, it's just wasted dollars.

You're not getting recognition.

If you've been in a space for a while, people should start recognizing you. It doesn't take very long to see familiar faces at networking events and conferences, and some of these people are bound to recognize you as well. However, if acquaintances you've made in the space keep asking which organization you're with, that's a tell-tale sign that you have a weak brand.

Strong brands breed familiarity, and even though it's your company that's branded and not you (organizational branding is different than personal branding,) you should be recognizable as a representative of your company.

Your messaging clashes.

In the digital world, business is done across a variety of channels. Most businesses will have a website, a social media presence, advertising in the physical world, and some will also broadcast messages on television and radio. Strong brands harness these different channels to broadcast a similar message. Good branding, after all, is all about telling your story in a way that is engaging to the audience.

A weak brand will have disjointed messaging across different channels, or sometimes even on the same channel. If your messaging clashes, that's a giant red flag. For example, if you're trying to present your brand as professional most of the time, but then some of your social postings are silly memes, that undermines

You aren't getting new customers.

Loyalty is great, and a loyal customer can help spur a business to success. However, growth is the ultimate target of any business. Failing to grow your customer base can happen for any number of reasons, but a weak brand will invariably fail to attract new customers. If you start seeing the same old patrons, but your numbers aren't really growing, take a look at your brand and consider if it needs revamping.

What can you do about a weak brand?

If you've read the above signs and thought "oh no, this sounds familiar," fret not! Rebranding is something every company goes through, and even if you need a total overhaul, it doesn't mean your business is dead. It's better to spend a little bit of money up front to revamp a weak brand than to continue down a road of missed opportunities. Here are some major things to consider when rebranding.

  • Logo: Your logo is essentially the landing page for your brand. People remember symbols, so make yours clean and recognizable. If it can incorporate a piece of your industry, all the better!

  • Company identity: What is the identity of your organization? Think of the story you want to tell the world and then unify your messaging across all platforms.

  • Target audience: What are the ideas, symbols, and messages that resonate with your target audience. Don't cast a net randomly; target customers you are going to convert.

  • Competition: What is your competition up to? Don't fall behind in branding and marketing. If they're engaging in a way you aren't and you think you can cut into their market share, push your brand into the same spaces. If you think you can capitalize on a space they aren't targeting, aim for that as well.

When rebranding, consider working with a professional company. It might represent an upfront expense, but the money you'll save in the long run by doing it right the first time is well worth it. Professional branding organizations can help you maximize your return on investment.

Happy branding!