A failed brand campaign is a tough pill to swallow — and with so many people already skeptical of the importance of branding, it can feel even more difficult.
However, these things happen. Not every brand marketing campaign you roll out will be a success. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a success — just that you need to take a look at your failed campaign, identify the issue, and correct it next time.
While there are many reasons that brand marketing campaigns don’t succeed, we’ll cover the five most common in this #AskLatana article.
We’ll also provide some tips on how to avoid these pitfalls the next time around. Ready? Let’s get into it.
5 Common Reasons Your Last Brand Campaign Wasn’t a Success
From timing to messaging to a lack of research, there are many faux pas that you need to avoid when creating your next brand campaign.
1. You Didn’t Let It Run Long Enough
When a brand marketing campaign isn’t performing well, the instinct is often to pull the plug. After all, you don’t want to waste your precious budget on something that isn’t working.
However, stopping a brand marketing campaign prematurely can actually be one of the main reasons it didn’t succeed — you didn’t give it a chance. Not every campaign will be a hit the moment it’s released. Some need more time to gain attention from your audiences and drive awareness.
If you put the breaks on too early, you could lose all the traction you’d been building — essentially guaranteeing wasted funds. Plus, if you haven’t set up benchmarks and goals to define success for this campaign, how will you know if it’s truly bombing?
Never cancel a brand campaign out of fear or as a knee-jerk reaction due to poor performance. Instead, for your next brand marketing campaign, you need to define your timeline and aligned goals before the campaign launches — that way you have something to measure success by.
Decide on how long it will run, set up pre-defined goals to measure performance, and then launch the campaign. With this approach, you’ll know without a doubt whether or not a campaign needs to be paused or stopped early — saving time, worry, and money.
2. You Didn’t Use the Correct Metric to Measure Success
In today’s performance-focused marketing world, there’s a great deal of importance placed on conversions (and conversions alone). If a campaign doesn’t lead to tangible sales, it’s a failure.
As any good brand manager can tell you, brand marketing campaigns are about more than increasing conversions. While that’s a nice indication of success, it can’t be the only thing you measure it by.
You need to consider all the ways that this campaign could affect your brand. Will it increase website traffic? Improve brand awareness within your target audience? Strengthen positive brand associations?
There’s more than one way to define a brand marketing campaign’s success, and you need to have a blueprint before you launch.
While colleagues and supervisors might push for “increased conversions” as the main measure of success, that’s not always the most realistic measurement.
Instead, you need to take the time before launching to define exactly what you want this campaign to accomplish. And you need to make sure your goals are realistic. While there’s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars, if you assign unattainable goals, you can’t be surprised if your campaign falls short by these standards.
So ask yourself: Do you want to increase brand recognition within key target audiences? Improve consumer trust in your brand? Whatever your goals, make sure you have a reliable way to measure any changes post-campaign.
And most importantly, diversify your definition of success. If “success” is narrowly focused on one metric only, you might label successful campaigns as failures.
For example, a brand campaign you launched failed in increasing sales but succeeded in improving website traffic & time on-site — depending on your chosen success metrics, this could be a hit or miss.
While we can’t tell you what success means to your brand, it’s important that you’re open to more than one definition.
3. You Didn’t Target the Correct Stage of the Buyer Journey for Your Audience
This is just a long-winded way of saying that you chose the wrong message at the wrong time for your audience.
It’s a common mistake to make, as it’s easy to lose sight of the buyer’s journey when caught up in the process of creativity. So often, we come up with exciting, eye-catching designs, slogans, and visuals — convinced they’re going to connect with our desired audience.
But we forget to ask ourselves: Is this campaign offering my audience a solution for the right stage of their buyer journey?
For example, if you’re running a brand awareness campaign but your ads immediately push consumers to book a demo call with your sales team, you shouldn’t be surprised if the campaign flops.
Before launching a new brand marketing campaign, ask yourself: Does my ad fit the goals of this campaign and meet the needs of my target audience?
If you’re hesitant to answer a resounding “yes” to either of these questions, you need to rethink your campaign — either adjust your campaign goals or change up your messaging/visuals.
For example, let’s say you want to run a brand marketing campaign with the goal of increasing brand consideration for a target audience that is already aware of your brand.
To ensure that this campaign meets their needs, you need to focus on further education about your brand. If these consumers are aware of your brand, now is the time to convince them they need to try it out.
If the goal is to increase their levels of brand consideration, you don’t need to waste time educating them on who your brand is (they already know this) — you need to educate them on what your brand can do for them.
By providing them with the right information at the right stage in their journey, you’ll be more likely to have a successful brand marketing campaign on your hands.
4. You Didn’t Have Enough Data
We’ll admit, conducting consumer research and gathering the data needed to launch a brand campaign is by no means as fun as coming up with the creatives.
But it’s absolutely essential to a campaign’s success. Why? Because if you don’t really, really know who you’re talking to, you’re bound to miss the mark — whether it be the wrong messaging, visuals, or location.
In order to give your brand marketing campaign its best shot at success, you need to conduct extensive market and target audience research beforehand.
While your market research can be done online, target audience research needs a more dedicated tool. After all, you need accurate, statistically significant data on your customers if you want to craft brand campaigns that will resonate.
Additionally, you need to have well-defined, detailed customer personas, and — most importantly — you need to have accurate, up-to-date data on customer perceptions of your brand. If you haven’t laid the correct foundation for your brand marketing campaign, don’t be surprised when it fails.
Gathering advanced consumer data and insights is vital to the success of any marketing campaign and shouldn’t be reserved for brand marketing campaigns only.
Before you start brainstorming the creatives for a new campaign, make sure you’ve done your research. Look to your internal customer databases, external resources, customer surveys, and more to gather the data you need.
If you don’t understand how consumers perceive your brand, you won’t be able to come up with messaging and visuals that resonate with them. The best way to access this data? Brand tracking.
Brand tracking tools provide you with the accurate, reliable consumer data and insights you need to craft more effective brand messaging. Instead of relying on gut feelings or social listening tools, you have access to the relevant, up-to-date information you need.
Don’t skimp on the research phase. It’s not the most fun or exciting, but it’s just as important to a brand marketing campaign’s success.
5. Your Visuals/Messaging Wasn’t 100% On-Brand
When it comes to brand marketing campaigns, thinking outside the box is great. It allows you to come up with unique ideas and capture the attention of your audience.
However, there is such a thing as going too far outside the box — like if you divert too far from your brand guidelines.
Be it your visuals, messaging, or color scheme, if you stray too far from your established branding, it won’t matter how great your campaign creatives are — consumers won’t recognize your brand.
And if they don’t associate this great ad with your brand, what’s the point? A brand manager’s top long-term goals are to increase brand awareness and recognition. You want consumers to not only be aware of your brand but to recognize your brand.
It’s the difference between asking someone “Have you heard of Airbnb?” and showing them an Airbnb ad and asking if they can tell you who the brand is. The second option is, obviously, more desirable.
Before launching a new brand marketing campaign, run it by the most important stakeholders: fellow marketing colleagues, designers, or customer service reps.
When creating a new campaign concept, it’s easy to get too deep into the idea and lose sight of how it would look to an outsider.
Once you’ve come up with a great idea, make sure your designers okay it for brand visuals, your marketing colleagues agree the brand messaging is on point, and check with a customer service coworker to ensure your customers will understand the concept.
It’s always a great idea to gather outside feedback, as some of the greatest ideas come from unexpected places.
After a failed brand marketing campaign, the most important thing you can do is deep dive into the “why”. After all, it’s not really a mistake if you learn from it.
We hope these pointers will help you identify why past brand campaigns haven’t been as successful as you’d hoped and set you up for future success.
And if you want to ensure you have all the consumer research you need to succeed, consider using brand monitoring. It does all the heavy lifting for you, providing reliable, insightful data to help you better understand your target audiences.