Your brand is one of your company’s most valuable assets. Is it getting the attention it deserves?
It’s natural to want to take a “set it and forget it” approach to your branding strategy. Many companies only revisit their branding once every few years, usually when a major change prompts them to shake things up. But branding shouldn’t be set in stone. Like an organization itself, a brand needs to grow and evolve over time to be successful.
Brand work can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to reinvent your brand every year — in fact, you shouldn’t! If you haven’t evaluated your brand strategy in a while, now could be a great time to give it a closer look.
When we work with clients on rebranding and brand “refresh” projects, we start with a simple rediscovery process that includes the following:
A MarCom audit involves taking a holistic look at all marketing and communications materials that reach your customers and prospects. This includes your sales presentations, ads, literature, trade show and event activity, website, digital marketing campaigns, social media presence, and even marketing automation campaigns. What’s working well? What’s not working at all? Take note of any inconsistencies and opportunities for stronger storytelling.
After you’ve completed an internal MarCom audit, do the same for each of your top competitors. What are they doing — or not doing? What do they say, and how do they say it? What similarities do you notice among your competitors? What differences stand out? Here are some easy, free ways to keep a closer eye on your competitors:
Learn about your brand from the inside out by gathering feedback from your internal team, especially those with frontline interactions with your customers. Consider sending out a brief company-wide survey or conducting one-on-one interviews with different staff members to find out how they view your brand. Working with a third-party consultant can help you collect neutral, unbiased opinions.
How would they describe your company? Can they articulate your brand mission, vision, and values? What do they think customers value most about the brand? Asking the right questions will help you gauge your company’s self-image and DNA.
Reach out to some of your customers and partners to understand how they perceive your company’s strengths and weaknesses. What words would they use to describe your company? Why did they choose to work with you? Why do they continue to do business with you? What do they like most about their relationship with your company? What can you do better?
We recommend reaching out to a cross-section of customers — not just the ones you’ve worked with for a long time. You’ll get more insight by mixing it up and including some of your newer or less-frequent customers. You might worry about inconveniencing people, but it’s our experience that many customers are happy to share their thoughts and actually appreciate being asked. Especially now, conducting external surveys or virtual focus groups could be a unique way to reach out to customers and connect during a time when they might be eager for some human interaction!
A brand workshop is usually a more formal group meeting involving senior management and executives. During a brand workshop, we collectively and openly define business and marketing objectives, get insight on key industry trends, and talk about plans for future growth. We’ll usually moderate discussions and bring a handful of interactive exercises to dig deep into brand traits and attributes.
We’ll also spend time talking about your company’s target audiences — not just who they are, but also how they think, what obstacles they face every day, how they make decisions, and how we can best connect with them. These workshops are fun and engaging and will lead to eye-opening insights about your brand.
Completing these rediscovery exercises can help you determine what, if any, changes need to be made to your brand positioning, your messaging, and your go-to-market activation plan. When you uncover what truly makes your brand special, you can create meaningful marketing that tells your unique story and resonates with your audiences at every turn! If you’re thinking about rebranding or freshening up your company’s look and feel, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us today to get started.