marketing resources for startups
Register to get our new Monthly Millennial Marketing Insights delivered straight to your inbox!

Solve the Right Problem

AUGUST 2013 Millennial Marketing Insight from HypeLife Brands: "Solve the Right Problem"
Ever had one of those moments where someone comes along and solves a problem for you in two minutes when you’ve been staring at it for two hours? Solving branding and marketing issues can sometimes follow the same frustrating, humbling trajectory, whether your company or organization is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, or you’re a brand new start-up just trying to figure out how to get traction.

Sometimes the issue is quite complex, and requires striking on multiple fronts, changing some of the ways you’ve been doing things from the start. Maybe all you need is a little mix of magic + publicity. But in other cases, your problem may go much, much deeper. It could be a case of a misconstrued brand name (remember the napkin you wrote your brother’s cousin’s mother’s brother’s idea on?). Perhaps it’s a brand name that was once on-point, but now, thanks to the crystal clarity of hindsight, lacks that timeless element you once thought it once had.

We’ve seen it happen many, many times, and not just with start-up entrepreneurs and bootstrappers, but with huge organizations and brands with all the money in the world to invest in solving a particular problem. But as they say, old habits die hard. Archaic viewpoints, boards of people filled with folks fixating on the wrong problem, looking at the ZIG when you need to be exploring a new ZAG, a lack of vision for what’s next in digital and marketing realms – these are all great examples of how to neuter even the biggest of brands as they attempt to forge ahead.

But here’s the bright side: With some outside opinions and advice, things can change...drastically.

“We need to rebrand?!” 
Maybe you don’t. Take a deeper look – from underneath, from up above, from all directions – and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find that rebranding isn’t the issue at all. 

“We’re not selling enough shirts, our website needs revamping?!” 
Maybe it doesn’t. Are you marketing and connecting effectively in the social media realm. Are you releasing routine press releases? Are you asking questions like these?

“We just don’t seem to be attracting a younger audience... Maybe we should tweet cooler stuff?!”
Maybe the problem isn’t how cool your tweets are at all, but rather, something greater. Ask yourself this: Is your story authentic? Does it resonate with Millennials and speak to the things they care about, staying away from the millions of detractors that exist? Do you know what those are?

In today’s hyper-connected world, where everyone has an opinion, and where these opinions have so many outlets for visibility, the negatives of a situation tend to get the headlines. Sometimes, there are so many ways to see a “problem” that often the problem simply needs to be reframed as an opportunity. Be open to new perspectives and surround yourself and your business, no matter your size, with people, agencies and teams who have the power to help you see new perspectives and to harness opportunity when it presents itself.

After all, the philosophies at work here are ones we all learned way back in high school. As Occam’s Razor tells us, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Branding translation: There will always be problems inherent in a brand. Just make sure you’re solving the right one.


Curt Cuscino
HypeLife Brands