Brands have to evolve over time, but reactive tactics and haphazard brand executions can happen despite one’s best intentions to be strategic and coordinated. So is your finger on your organisation’s (and your brand’s) pulse? Because if you’re not in the habit of doing a brand health check regularly, your message might not be reaching the right audience in an effective way. Worse still, your organisation might be on a slow decline, sliding into irrelevance.
Even if things are going well, it’s worth taking a little time to review whether your brand needs a little TLC or some urgent resuscitation. Here’s seven steps to follow to give your brand the recharge it needs:
- Redefine your core values
Are you clear on what your businesses core values are? Are you living them out internally and externally through your behaviours and your branding? If you are great, keep on keeping on. But if something is out of alignment or unclear, this is the place to start redefining your values and, if necessary, your mission and vision too.
- Review your brand promise
Are your customers clear on what you are promising them and what they can expect from your product or service? Remember that a brand is the essence or promise that is delivered or experienced. It’s about what your customer thinks about you, not what you think about yourself.
If you haven’t spent time researching your target customer’s perception of your brand, this is a great time to start doing so.
- Re-evaluate your audience
Taking a fresh look at your audience at least once a year gives you the opportunity to get rid of any deadwood and plan to go after markets that can become a better source of new business. Is it time to reframe the clients and customers you serve by either starting or ending your targeting towards a particular audience?
Creating personas is a great exercise in helping to define your audience.
- Revise your offerings
The end of the year is a great time to step back and take a closer look at current industry trends, significant changes in the markets you serve, and what your competitors are doing – balanced by the financial impact of what you offer.
What services and products do you need to start promoting, offering or retire to better serve your customer base and improve profitability?
- Reassess your marketing strategy
Assuming that you’ve already set an overall strategy, take a little time to ensure that everything is still on track. Are you executing this strategy effectively?
Measure whatever you can: are there any channels that you’re not being as successful in as you’d like to be? Some media channels may require greater investment and an increase in effectiveness. Identify these and consider reallocating budget or revising your plan.
- Reflect on your branding executions
Of course branding is a lot more than a logo. But part of it does include your logo (and design and advertising) application across the media channels with which you communicate: digital/social, print, signage, clothing, videos and more. Lay everything on the table and do a brand and communications audit: is everything relevant? Is it on brand?
Look closely at the colours, fonts, message, tone, photography, bran story, etc. If something about the look, feel and message is misaligned it can confuse your audience and you’ll appear inconsistent and unprofessional.
Are your key brand identity elements being consistently, creatively and cohesively communicated across all channels? Has your style guide been correctly implemented? Is your marketing agency being as responsive, effective and creative as you need them to be?
- Remember that it’s also about your people
Are all of your staff (especially new recruits) trained and equipped to live out your brand?
Your people are a key part of your brand story; so ensure that they are telling it well and that the customer experience is something remarkable.
In doing your own brand audit you are very likely to find at least some small inconsistencies. By filling in the gaps, you’ll be surprised at the cumulative effect of making the improvements: your target market is perceptive and will notice.
If the inconsistencies are great – and your brand has gone off on random tangents or is dated – then it could be time for a new strategy or rebranding exercise.
Andy Meier is Director of Strategic Minds Communications, a Charlestown based integrated marketing company with key specialisations in marketing strategy, brand identity and online video content. Infographics in the form of static images and videos are part of the solutions available at Strategic Minds, helping businesses achieve their objectives from brand awareness, to customer engagement and increased sales.