The deadly d's of branding

A few weeks ago we talked about simple branding. Today our focus is on the “Deadly D’s” of branding.

These are three things that will kill a brand from the inside out. Sure, we talk a lot about the external factors that affect a brand like positioning, focus, promotion, credibility, name, etc. Rarely do we look internally to see why brands live or die.

Here are three “Deadly D’s” that lead to failure.


If your organization doesn’t believe in the brand’s ability to succeed and win the hearts of consumers, then it won’t. How could this happen, you ask? Easily and more often than you know. Companies have wasted millions launching brands with doubt present. To hedge this, make things that work and scratch your own itch. It is hard to doubt something that works for you. Build their belief in the brand and they will build a brand your customers will believe in.


Nothing will drain hope and dreams worse than this. I’m not saying there won’t be times along the way you feel down when deadlines are missed, big opportunities fall through, or initial feedback is poor. The important thing is that you move on. Go back to the brand story. What unique value does it bring to the customer? Measure your success on progress. Is the brand moving forward? No one said things would always be easy. Remind your team why they are doing what they are doing and encourage them for every victory.


Oh boy! This is a big one. It is a lot less emotionally draining than its cousins, doubt and discouragement, but this “deadly d” is a siren. She lures your company away from doing the work. When brands don’t produce they die on the vine. Stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish. It is easy to fall down the rabbit hole and do a hundred meaningless tasks instead of the two or three things that make your brand great. After the idea stage, don’t allow the introduction of any new ideas that don’t enhance the brand’s “what and why.” Let these be bouncers at the door that keep distractions out.

Avoid letting these “Deadly D’s” of branding to take root in your organization. They are toxic and lethal. The good news is there is treatment and a cure. We will address those cures in our next branding post. Until then, what other internal issues face successful branding?

photo credit: mbrubeck

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