This is a guest post by Skip Cohen. Be sure to check out Skip Cohen University August 11-14 in Chicago.

I know everybody would love to just close the book on 2012, but even though we’re half way through this new year, think about last year for a minute.

As you analyze last year, think about what you really need to do better, instead of blaming things on what you think is a boring name, logo or site design, the “frosting”. So often we all do the same thing – we blame the challenges on the “low hanging fruit”, the easiest things we might have done wrong.

Here are a few examples:

  1. Did you not get the traffic to your blog because the logo or theme are weak or because you didn’t blog at least 2-3 times a week and weren’t consistent?
  2. Did your phone not ring off the hook because your company name isn’t hot or because you didn’t promote or advertise enough? Do people in your community know who you are?
  3. Did you not book that last job because your competitor is stealing your business with low-ball pricing or because you didn’t portray the same level of enthusiasm, commitment and confidence?
  4. Was a promotion you did underwhelming because of the economy or did it lack value to your target audience? Was it too confusing for people to understand?

The list goes on and on, but blaming ad design, logos, company names etc. because you believe they’re old, tired and “everybody’s seen them” is your absolute last resort. Maybe you do need a makeover, but look at your execution of marketing projects, creativity and your skill set before you blame things like your name. Companies get tired of their look, advertising and tag lines and find the need to reinvent the frosting, often long before the public is bored.

I’m betting for most of you, these disappointing projects have nothing whatsoever to do with your actual branding, but your execution and brand awareness. Don’t waste time with name changes, new logos and website designs if you haven’t first defined your goals and your target audience.

Lauren Bacall said it all, “It’s not an old movie if you haven’t seen it!”

Don’t miss Skip Cohen University August 11-14 in Chicago.