Staying focused is the biggest challenge brand managers have. That’s especially true in tough economic times when the business gurus are all shouting “innovate, innovate, INNOVATE!!” from the hilltops. With all that pressure the temptation to innovate wildly starts to mount. Unlikely brand extensions suddenly start to make sense. Management starts to have fantasies about acquiring competitors or vendors. Heck, the idea of just turning the whole business into an iPad app is suddenly starting to look attractive.
The best thing you can do at a time like that is to take a deep breath and remember the number one rule of successful brand management: focus. Do the opportunities in front of you sharpen and clarify your brand in the minds of your customers? Or do they only muddy and confuse? If it’s the latter, the onus is on you to simply say “no.” Take the energy that you or your people were putting into the audacious new venture and channel it back into your core strengths: finding out what your customers actually want and then delivering it.