4 diabolical brand killers

Dan Salva
3 min readOct 27, 2022

Since this post is launching just days before October 31st, I thought it would be great to embrace the spirit of the season by looking at four sinister demons that can suck the life out of a brand.

1. Unleashing psychotic shape-shifting positioning

Changing your strategy week to week is a sure way to send your brand to an early grave. Before you make a move with your brand, it’s imperative that you get the positioning right. Thoughtful positioning ensures that you have thoroughly considered where your brand sits in the world and why it is valuable to those you hope to serve. That gives you a strong foundation, upon which you can confidently build your brand communications — both today and in the future. For more on creating your positioning, check out A Great Brand Starts With Great Positioning.

2. Spewing a mind-numbing feature fog

It is scary how many brands talk more about themselves than they do about those they hope to serve. They assail us with their features. They inundate us with messages filled with “We are…”, “We believe in…”, and “We have…” It’s all about them. And very little about the things that are most motivating to us. Things like the challenge or opportunity we are trying to address. Or more powerfully, our aspirations. Take a look at what your brand talks about. Is it about you? Or is it about the things that are important to your prospects? Hopefully, it’s the latter. If it’s not, it’s time to move your focus to your prospects and ensure your language is addressing what is important to them. For a deeper dive, check out Are You Creating A Trust Deficit With Your Brand?

3. Casting a spell of fear once again

Fear is a powerful motivator. And it has a place in your marketing. For example, telling your prospects that the deadline for an opportunity is creeping up (that’s the fear of missing out or FOMO). Fear works so well, that it’s easy to default to it. There is a fine line between making sure prospects don’t miss an opportunity and bludgeoning them with fear-driven message after fear-driven message. Prospects get desensitized. The FOMO doesn’t work like it once did. Worse yet, prospects start to look at you as a brand that trades in doom and gloom…

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Dan Salva

Dan is an expert brand strategist and author of the book Big Audacious Meaning — Unleashing Your Purpose-Driven Story. He is a founder at Will & Grail.