January is synonymous with fresh starts. Diets, detoxes – generally forced abstinence after the excesses and indulgences of the festive period. It’s a time of reflection on the past year and a chance to set goals and targets for the year ahead. We’re all guilty of making those virtuous lists with less than 50% keeping to any resolutions beyond six months. However, detoxing does give us the opportunity to re-energise and ensure everything is working more effectively. So, can the principles of a good detox be applied to a brand? We think they can. But to get to grips with this, you need to understand the basic physiology of a brand. We know that brands reside in your audience’s minds. Your brand is built out of all the beliefs and associations that your customers, stakeholders and prospects hold about your products and your business.
Here’s our five-stage brand detox plan to help you firing on all cylinders in 2017: –
Cutting Out Bad Habits
Is your brand doing what it should? Ask yourself three questions: 1: does your brand have a compelling story? 2: do you know and when you share this with your customers and prospects – ideally take them on a journey of stronger engagement and loyalty. This helps build connections without the hard sell and helps your brand stand out from the competition. 3: how do you measure success? Are your brand and your communications channels reflecting that core story? And if you’re not measuring it, what’s the point of doing it? If not perhaps it’s time to start with a brand audit to see whether you’ve got into bad habits?
Cleanse and Refresh
Once you’ve identified any bad habits, it’s perhaps time to give your messaging an overhaul to ensure they bring alive your organisation’s brand. Be brutal – you should be able to tell your company story in 3-4 messages; if you can’t, you’re in danger of information overload and losing your target audience from the outset.
Introducing a new regime
With fresh messaging and a reinvigorated brand story, it’s then time to evaluate your communications channels. Are your website, social media, customer communications and PR aligned? Are you saying different things to different audiences? Are you contributing to your sector’s debate, or merely telling people about how good you are?
Smart communications demonstrate thought leadership, to show expertise and build trust – this is are all about telling your brand story in the context of the market in which you operate.
Maintaining motivation with measurement
With a little focus and a few tweaks here and there, you will start to see improvements. For example, by reviewing your social media following and engagement, you can start to identify issues and subjects that resonate with your audiences which helps you to focus your communication efforts on activities that yield the best results. And when you set yourself targets and measure success, it not only gets the rest of your organisation motivated, it keeps you on track too.
Achieving the Glow
With focus and a little concerted effort, you will start to see a brand glow! What does this mean – it’s about seeing your brand grow in awareness and engagement, it’s getting reactive enquiries and driving sals. There is no point is setting up some well-meaning brand strategies and then leaving them to care for themselves. Your brand needs to be constantly managed, reviewed, feedback acted upon, and stories and messaging continuously honed and developed. Call it a quarterly offsite detox or a monthly fast to keep you focused; frankly, call it what works for you but just keep refreshing your brand to ensure you keep one step ahead.
If you’re in need of a little detox advice on how to shape your brand for 2017 – get in touch, perhaps we could help you breathe some new life into your comms! [email protected]