don’t be your worst enemy. stop diluting your brand.

most psychology experts would probably tell you that you are your worst enemy. that you are the biggest obstacle standing in your own way. knowing yourself usually helps to avoid falling into the easy traps. well, guess what. it’s the same with your brand. knowing yourself and what you stand for helps. which makes total sense if you consider your brand as the personality of your business. and you are the one who will dilute it if you don’t know yourself enough, aren’t clear about what you stand for, and do not stick to it on the long run.

let’s have a look at the different types of diluters you should keep an eye out for.

contextual diluters
there is a perfect time and place for everything. and not meeting that perfect alignment will dilute your brand and message. obviously, the time and place doesn’t depend on you. it depends on your customers. so when you look at the different channels you are active on, ask yourself if it’s the right time and place for your customers – not for you. will they be in the right mindset to receive your message, or is there a better time and place for it? and if the answer is “there is a better time and place”, then don’t do it then and there, and wait for the “better”.

cultural diluters
as we cover it in another article, we look at cultures as defined by Geert Hofstede’s model. and we use it to analyze how different cultural references can impact the way a brand is perceived. we don’t only look at it from a market-to-market perspective, but even within a single market how different cultural groups can receive a specific message or interact with a brand. so understanding what symbols, heroes, rituals, practices and values define a culture will help us identify how a different cultural environment could dilute your brand if you do not adapt your strategy accordingly or, even better, factor it in from the very beginning.

human diluters
and here is the really tricky one.
we’ve already discussed how fat cats and HiPPO’s can influence the decision process, often to the detriment of the customer. in the latter, we also talked about how one can end up playing the political game and serving one’s ego instead of the customer’s interest. and we also quickly referred to unconscious biases.
to these, we can add things like unfounded assumptions that often can be proven wrong by research and data. and data misuse or misinterpretation, also vey tricky. it’s not enough to have data, but you have to read it properly. not the way you want to read it. not just to confirm what you already think, disregarding any research that would go against your opinion. but to truly learn something. And, obviously, you need to do the right research, in the right environment – not the clinical way.
so yes, people are complex. and there are thousands of ways a human decision can dilute your brand (e.g. personal preference, boredom, ego, fear of being crushed by the latest competitive campaign, etc.). being aware of it is the first step to dealing with it.

it is a very complicated thing to stay true to yourself no matter what. but if you deeply know yourself and keep an eye out for these traps or diluters, you can more easily recognize them, avoid them, and overcome them when they arise.
so… will you be your worst enemy, or best ally?

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