Ensuring That Your Brand Is Giving Its All!
At MKP, we believe that brands need to keep growing and adapting over time. After all, your brand supports your company’s performance by helping to retain existing customers and attract new customers for your products and services.
Keeping your brand fresh is especially important given the influx of new technologies, ever-shifting customer demographics and consumer desires. It’s when your brand stops evolving that the challenges begin!
If you suspect that your brand has become a little stale, here are a few suggestions to ensure that your brand continues to work harder than ever.
Take your brand out to lunch.
Find a convenient date on the schedule and gather the troops, including marketing, product and customer contact staff, for a brainstorming session about your brand and how it’s performing. An offsite location like a restaurant is ideal, because you’ll want people to be as relaxed and forthcoming as possible. Start kicking around questions like these:
- What makes us different as a company?
- How do our products and services play into that difference?
- How do we want to define ourselves?
- What is our corporate personality? Warm and fuzzy? Kooky and irreverent?
- Are our personality and the way we define or think about ourselves aligned?
- What do our loyal customers say about us?
- Why did our former customers leave?
- Are there any marketing campaigns or promotions that have worked well this year? And how about initiatives that haven’t worked well?
Your goal should be to come away with a clear idea of your company’s strengths from the customer perspective. The team should also be able to clearly articulate how you define yourself. In addition you need to make sure that your company’s personality and your view of it, are aligned. You have to confidently say, “We’re the company that does X better than our competitors and this is why our customers choose us.” If your current brand doesn’t work to crystallize these sentiments, you need to refocus it.
Think of your brand constantly.
To many people, a brand is little more than a logo, tagline, color scheme and maybe a mission statement. It is so much more! In addition to the creative elements such as color palette, typography, usage of photography that support a brand, you should develop brand guidelines that include:
- Brand promise – This is the contract you make with your customers. It’s a commitment to what your customers can expect, and what you hope to gain from them in return. And this promise is vitally important, because it helps to lay the groundwork for all of your customer interactions.
- Brand voice – How do you talk about yourself both through words and imagery? Are you friendly and open, or formal and serious? This is influenced by your offering and your promise, and it has to be consistent.
- Brand integration – Branding MUST extend to every aspect of your business, from how you answer the phones to how you phrase every customer communication, no matter the channel. Everything you communicate, all the way down to the style of your employee email signatures, should be infused with your brand.
Show your brand off.
Once you’ve defined your brand and extended it throughout your company, how do you get the word out? Following are a few simple tips:
- Use your logo strategically and frequently; while ensuring that the placement reflects your personality and how you think about your brand.
- Develop all written communications and visual imagery keeping your brand voice and promise in mind.
- If you create a tagline, make sure it’s memorable and provides a meaningful and concise statement that reflects your brand promise.
- Design templates and create standards for all marketing marketing materials that reflect your brand guidelines.
- Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you, or refer you to others, if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
- Be authentic. Don’t use your tagline or mission statement as a crutch, so you’re repeating rote phrases to your customers. Keep looking for different statements and actions that express your brand promise in fresh and believable ways.
And above all, remember this: your brand needs to continuously evolve to reflect your company and the benefits of your product or service relative to an ever-changing market. A successful brand takes constant nurturing. But we promise, if you make the ongoing effort, the rewards will make it all worthwhile!
MKP communications inc. is a New York City based communications company that delivers spot-on strategy, smart, fresh creative, combined with flawless execution, for financial services clients.