Brand Matters – The Cost Of Bad Branding - Smith

Brand Matters – The Cost Of Bad Branding

Brand Matters – The Cost Of Bad Branding

According to System 1 and the IPA Database, 78% of B2B advertising and 48% of B2C advertising is emotionless. Their research shows that with the majority of advertising, people don’t feel a thing towards them, which means its completely wasted.

This comes from System 1 testing 68,000 ads over the last 5 years, with 60% in the UK and the rest in the US. The test was focused on TV advertising, the biggest advertising channel for building brands – but has learnings that we can apply to other areas of marketing communications.

Dullness doesn’t pay dividends – and the data above backs this up. If people can’t remember, recall or realise what you do – there’s actually no point in communicating.

At Smith, we believe that there’s a bad branding epidemic too. In this article, we’ll look at the cost of bad branding. Something that if you get wrong, is dramatically hurting your success now, but also in the years to come.

Let’s start with what I mean when I say bad branding.


What are the symptoms of bad branding?

You aren’t standing out.
You aren’t clear on what you offer
You are presenting the wrong impression.
Marketing isn’t creating demand and turning into sales.
Your branding isn’t helping drive business performance.
You attract the wrong work.
You have a quality product, but struggle to demand a price advantage.


The problem with bad branding, is that it can cost your organisation an enormous amount of money and opportunities, but you may not even realise you suffer from it.

To start with, I want to talk about what good branding does, so we can invert this and see the cost of bad branding.


Good branding supports your business

Where are you going? Your brand needs to support where you are heading as a business. For instance, if you want to be a national business, are you creating this impression? Or are reflecting a more local feel.


Good branding pulls in the right opportunities

Whether this be partnerships, acquisitions or contracts. Your brand should help you pull in opportunities that you want. Chances to pitch, talk at events or other commercial opportunities. It should back-up your sales efforts.


Good branding supports your sales efforts

Time and time again we speak to businesses who are pushing a certain aspect of their business, but everything they put out to the market is the opposite of this. Good branding is about aligning communications to your new business efforts. First impressions matter.


Good branding differentiates you in the market

As Michael Porter said in his book Competitive Strategy, there are only two strategies in business, differentiate, or win by cost leadership. Good branding positions you away from the competition, so you appear different. You can’t always differentiate a product or service in reality, but you can differentiate it in the mind of your customers. Change perception. Change behaviour.


Good branding is memorable

You’ve heard it before, we’re bombarded with sales and marketing messages every day. Good branding cuts through the noise, and helps you stand out.


Good branding attracts top talent

We’ve rebranded businesses, and all of a sudden they see better staff wanting to come work for them. In the war of talent, good branding supports your recruitment efforts, it’s selling the internal parts of your business.


Good branding clarifies what you do

If you aren’t clear on what you do, how can others buy it? We rebranded a company back in 2016, and after this – their competition pushed work their way, because even the market knew what this company did. Clarity is powerful.


Good branding generates cash

Branding helps support all the ways your business makes money. From creating demand and driving sales, to the amount of money you can charge. Branding isn’t about colours and fonts – it is an important conversation right at the centre of the c-suite.


Good branding supports your price

We’ve rebranded companies, and they’ve then been able to command a higher price than before. In some businesses, it’s difficult to quantify the value of something – especially in something like a service business, all customers have to make a decision is what they see – so driving up perceived value is how you can demand a price higher than others.


An outsiders perspective

We’re all in a jar, and we can’t even read the label.

There’s been plenty of times when I’ve seen organisations with branding that is hurting their organisation.

They are sending the wrong message to the market, yet they don’t even see it. These people are looking at it from their point of view. They don’t see it from how the market, or the people they are selling to see it. Sometimes an outsider can see what you don’t. They are difficult conversations, but to create impact – it’s not an easy ride.


Are you suffering from the signs of bad branding? Here are clear signs that you have a problem.

1 – In sales conversations, people constantly remind you that they didn’t realise you offered a certain product or service

2 – People get in touch for the wrong kind of work

3 – You spend money on marketing – but it isn’t getting traction

4 – You can’t articulate what you do

5 – There’s absolutely nothing that makes you different compared to competition

6 – You are constantly getting your price lowered

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