What Adversity Can Teach You About Branding

When adversity strikes, branding gives you resilience

This guest post is by Ryan Currie. Ryan is a product manager at BizShark.com with 5 years experience in online marketing and product development. He is on the cutting edge of developments in emerging technologies and open source projects.

IN BUSINESS, branding is crucially important. If your business doesn’t have a brand, then you may as well be invisible.

Creating a brand is akin to designing a personality. Multi-national corporations can have a brand, as can a sole proprietor. The best thing about branding isn’t the notoriety, the creativity, or even the customers you gain from crafting a really terrific brand. In actuality, the best thing about a brand is the resilience it provides.

Adversity hits every company and every professional at some point. Just think of Apple’s struggle for survival in the 1990s. The question isn’t whether you’re going to face adversity or even when it’s going to occur. The real question is what you’re going to do when adversity strikes.

Consider the case of Kentucky Fried Chicken. A smash hit throughout the 70s and 80s, selling chicken literally by the bucketful. But when public attitudes shifted around 2000, Kentucky Fried started a rebranding process and is now known simply as “KFC”.

What Adversity Can Teach Us About Branding 2What’s interesting about the KFC case isn’t just the name change, but the evolution of the brand over the course of the last decade or so. When healthier attitudes struck, KFC did what most brands would do and tried to adapt. They initially offered grilled chicken breasts and an increased number of vegetable sides, pandering to a diet-savvy audience. Their efforts bombed.

What Adversity Can Teach Us About Branding 3KFC then decided to embrace their identity and become one of the only brands on the market to offer the opposite of health – enter the KFC Double Down, a fried chicken, cheese, and bacon monstrosity of a sandwich.

KFC is hardly the only company to take adversity by the horns and figure out a way to adjust its position in the market. Other companies have done so including Apple, J.C. Penny, Lego, and even Microsoft.

Every brand is malleable – that’s important to remember – but in adjusting a brand’s position it may not always be wise to pander to the newest customer trends. Brands that look outside the box (read: 20 Piece Bucket) and find intelligent ways to evolve their unique brand position tend to be more successful.

Adversity comes to all of us. Whether you’re a business owner, a job seeker, or an entrepreneur, branding should be at the forefront of your marketing efforts. Don’t be afraid of challenges to your brand…embrace them! You may find yourself a niche you never dreamed of, and that can make all the difference.