10 Things To Do When Building or Refreshing Your Brand
In the New Year, there’s always a burst of energy to refocus, with the well-meaning intent of improvement. Plans are made as a renewed sense of purpose drives all of us to use the first month on the calendar to jump start our initiatives, both personally and professionally. As an organization, your company is no different. As quarterly plans have been established, the New Year provides the opportunity to take the steps that will chart a strategic path for growth. Building or refreshing your brand should be a central component of the plan.
Now the tricky part…Wanting to enact change within an organization and actually doing it can be difficult to initiate because breaking out of your comfort zone and your normal routine is not easy. When building or refreshing a brand, it’s absolutely necessary to do so and how your company moves forward is important. Once you have a program underway, it’s important to review your strategy on an annual basis to make adjustments for continued growth and changing competitive factors.
Here are 10 things to consider for best practices when building (or rebuilding) a brand program:
1. Invest In Your Brand
Building or refreshing your brand requires a holistic, multi-touchpoint marketing plan that builds visibility to your company. This requires a marketing budget. You already spend money on many areas that support your business and Marketing should be a built-in expense. Think of it as the cost of doing business and an investment in your company’s growth/success.
2. Engage With An Outside Consultancy to Look Within
Get out of your own way and seek external help. It’s very hard to look within your company and be honest about what you see. Engaging with an outside consultancy can be extremely valuable as they will give an objective view of your organization. Their expertise will strategically identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for growth and will guide you through the brand building process from initial concepts to final execution.
3. Commit To The Process
When you start the brand building process, commit to it! An outside consultancy will provide a multi-step start to finish plan that will require your attention, collaboration and engagement. It’s your responsibility to be an active partner in the process. Trust in the guidance you’ll receive and understand that there’s value in being directed from the outside. By doing this, you’ll stay on budget and on the agreed-upon timeline for completion.
4. Make Your People Part Of The Process and Secure Their Buy-In
Brand building or refreshing a brand is an incredibly important part of a company’s growth and as such should be taken seriously. All too often, there’s complacency about branding and a reliance on a “this is what we’ve always done” attitude. That is not healthy for the company. Choose key people within your organization and make them part of the process by giving them responsibilities and goals. This creates excitement, buy-in and ultimately, success.
5. Identify Your Customer’s Needs
Too often, companies try to be too many things to too many people. It’s better to be laser focused on your core audience rather than trying to cast too wide a net. More likely than not, the products or services you offer appeal to a specific customer. Embrace that. The most successful brands know their audience and not only offer them exactly what they need, but develop products or services that keep them coming back for more. Speaking to a specific audience (a/k/a customer) also promotes a clear and consistent voice across all communication channels.
6. Be Honest and Authentic
Every year, new trends emerge, some good, some bad. But that doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon. Don’t overreach or chase trends. It’s a classic mistake to rush to adopt the new shiny trend when in reality, it isn’t a good fit for your brand. Customers can sense when a company is being opportunistic. Stay true to the core values and promise of your brand as it makes you honest and authentic. This is where having a strategy in place can serve as a guide rail to staying on track, preventing you from getting distracted by the next shiny thing. Which leads us to…
7. Deliver On What You Promise
Your company’s core values and promise is the most important part of your brand as it’s what makes you unique and serves to shape the products and services that you offer. It’s also how your customers identify with you. Let everyone know what you stand for. When you act with integrity and deliver on what you promise, it builds brand loyalty. That results in a customer base that will come back for more.
8. Communicate in Plain Language
It’s best to communicate with your customers in plain, uncomplicated language. Let them know exactly what your company offers in simple terms so they don’t have to interpret what you are trying to say. This will lead to easy and efficient transactions. Too many organizations try to use their internal shorthand or industry jargon, which may alienate customers that don’t have the deep expertise you do. Keep it simple!
9. Celebrate Your Past and Current Success
Everyone loves a good story with a happy ending. If you have good stories to tell about the products and services that you offer, it will build customer confidence. Customer confidence results in brand loyalty and returning sales.
10. Always Be Ambassadors For Your Brand
Everyone who works for your company is an ambassador for your brand. Whether you’re the receptionist, sales person, Marketing Director or CEO, either behind the scenes or in front of the customer, every touch point and interaction you have with your audience reflects on your company. Customers remember their experiences with brands, both positive and negative. Be sure to always represent your brand in a positive way. You will be remembered for it, no matter how small the interaction or transaction. Be transparent with your brand strategy to the team and develop a complete communications toolbox. It will allow everyone to speak confidently and consistently about your company, the products and the services that you offer.
These 10 things are essential when building or refreshing your brand. Engaging with an outside consultancy will make it easier to make the journey. 76West has developed a process called Compass, which helps companies have a shared purpose and common goals towards their brand development. Our approach exposes opportunities and strategically lays the framework for building or refreshing a brand.
Read how 76West can help your company with the 76West Compass.