A brand is a singular understanding of an organization, product or service. This includes everything from key identity traits, core values, position in the marketplace and purpose for existence. The driving force behind a healthy customer relationship is often in direct relation to how effectively your brand is communicated and perceived. Most outward qualities of a brand are expressed through tangible assets like the company name, the product, tag lines, symbolism, iconography and even jingles. A good brand will tap into all of the senses, reminding consumers what differentiates your product from all the others. Your brand image is comprised of not only the factual information presented, but emotional/ experiential aspects that a customer perceives intangibly and understands it to be. It defines an organization and distinguishes it from its competitors. These are valuable considerations, especially if your current plan is no longer servicing your goals.
How do you know if it’s time to reinvigorate your brand? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you unsatisfied with the bottom line, sales, and growth?
- Have you seen a lack of new business referrals from current clients / customers?
- Have you noticed fewer and fewer repeat/loyal customers?
- Are your competitors outshining your brand?
- Do you feel it’s time to enter a new market?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to reinvigorate your brand!
While owners of larger established brands tend to pay more attention to the care and maintenance of their brand image, periodic brand revitalization or “face lifts” can help increase any business’ sales revenue. Remember, success is measured through sales and strong sales are a result of a strong relationship your customers have with your brand. Thus, the need is great to reinvigorate your brand when sales are flat. Investing in your brand is good health, with potential high quality returns on investment. Here are some strategies for reinvigorating your brand:
Refine and Define Your Brand’s Vision
One of the first rules of branding is: Great brands know themselves. In most cases, companies do not revisit their vision once the business has been launched. We know it’s a laborious task, but time invested in your brand is not time wasted. In other words, “making” the time to re-examine the overall vision, mission and business objectives seems to happen less, or not at all, as the practice of actually conducting business becomes the priority. However the reality is that over time, visions shift and values adjust. New opportunities present themselves, and new avenues are to be explored. Taking time annually to revisit these things and make adjustments is an eye opening experience for all stakeholders involved. This process tends to fuel both the external relationship with your customers as well as reinvigorate and motivate your staff. It’s a “Win-Win” situation, I’d say.
- Review where you’ve been.
Review your brand’s history, heritage, beliefs and roots. Don’t forget to include your brand culture.
- Rewrite your brand vision.
Your brand vision identifies your company’s purpose for existing. It reveals a broader, deeper, viewpoint that enriches your customers, your authentic purpose for doing business. Identify what brought you to this point and ask yourself what has changed and what has stayed the same. The answers to these questions will help you assess what actions need to be taken.
- Redefine your personality.
Personality helps your brand come alive! It makes your brand accessible and human, helping differentiate it and adding dimension to your business. If strategically sound, there is inherent credibility and likability present. Authentically define your brand personality. Are you charismatic, loyal, playful or traditional? Your brand should exude these characteristics.
- Reinvent your brand character.
Brand character is really about the culture of your brand. Take a look at your organization’s value system that drives the way you do business and how you interact with your customers, team members and suppliers. The clues are found in your company’s principles and attitudes also know as “brand characteristics.” It is also important to remember that your brand is not a static entity, it should be fluid and able to grow. It should flow and flex as your company does.
Know your Customer. Serve Your Base.
After doing business for a period of time, trends become more apparent. It’s obvious which avenues of production, promotion and exposure are working. It’s also obvious, which are not. Do not be afraid to confront your customer. They will not hesitate to tell you exactly what they want. Record their wants and needs and keep your information well organized. Use your historical data wisely. Take time to ascertain why your customers are responding to one avenue or the other. This tends to provide a clue as to what your customers want. Analyzing these metrics combined with readily available market research is one way to map out the future of your creative campaigns as it relates to your overall brand rejuvenation.
Make new friends and keep the old.
This step is really about building new relationships and reinvigorating existing customer relationships. It’s impossible to improve on any relationship until you gain clarity as to where the current relationship stands. It’s never too late to start, but first your team must assess exactly where you are at in the minds of your customers, ascertaining their perception of your brand and deciphering their overall experience based on sales, feedback, past campaign and promotional response. Here are 3 simple steps to rebuild and retool your brand relationships:
- Compare and contrast where the current and past customer / brand relationships stand by defining the relationship traits. From the customer’s point of view, are the current and past relationships to your brand uplifting, empowering, growing, deep, lasting, ongoing, consistent, accessible, responsive, and likable?
- Define the traits of the type of customer relationships you would like to establish.
- Design a campaign including benchmarks for feedback to gauge the successes of the effort.
Invite Everyone to the Dance.
It is highly critical to have a clean intention and genuine desire to add value to your stakeholders. This enforces your organization’s positive brand positioning and perception. Inclusiveness is paramount in the re-branding process. All the customers, shareholders, employees and all stakeholders must be constantly invited to all management meetings and functions and must have a stake in all company messages.
Your new brand image.
There are two aspects of a brand image: how you “want” to be seen and how you are “actually” seen. The challenge is to direct, shape and focus how customers see you and how they feel about your brand. The brand image is what is physically in front of the customer’s eyes and senses and the impressions that will ultimately effect the perception of the product. It’s time to redefine and redesign!
Take a new position.
Decide how you want your brand to be positioned in your customer’s mind. Marketers can influence how a brand is positioned in the customer’s minds, but it’s your customers who actually position the brand. Remember that. The challenge here is to help shape and direct the positioning in a proactive manner. Brand position is about integrated communications advertising, word of mouth, publicity and in-enterprise experiences.
Set Goals, Track Results
The most important role on the management’s front is to measure the results and compare them with the targets set at the start. The results and reports must be analyzed to improve further progress and key decisions must be taken with all the fall-backs being looked into as well.
Commit and deliver
Being 100% committed to your brand means being 100% consistent in everything you do. This is critical in delivering a successful long-term brand experience. Get your team on board. Dive into dialogue with your team and customers about your new commitments. Get feedback. Every time you change or revise your message to your customers or every time you don’t deliver on the promise, you defeat your goals and prove untrustworthy. That’s not good for morale, your bottom line, or your overall brand equity.
Overall the management functions of planning, organizing, staffing, directing and controlling apart from a systematic coordination, are necessary. Event sponsorship, door-to-door selling, engaging the customer emotionally and providing rich ambiance can also turn out to generate tons of money inflow.