Every ten years, American passport holders must renew their passports if they want to continue to travel outside of the country. The government requires this because, well, let’s face it: you’re probably not the same person you were ten years ago. You may have put on a few pounds. You might have a few more grey hairs. And if you were married since the last time you got a passport, your name may have changed. When you present your “papers” to a border agent, it tells that person everything they need to know about you. It is important to keep that information up to date, unless you want to risk spending some time in a Turkish prison!
Think of your company’s branding message as its passport. Everything anyone needs to know about your company should be in your passport, and it is important to keep that passport updated.
Take a look at your logo. Like your passport photo, does it still reflect your image, or is it time for a redesign? Microsoft recently updated their logo for the first time in 25 years by adding four colored squares representing all the different products that Microsoft has to offer.
What about your slogan? Ten years ago, it wouldn’t be uncommon to say something like “find us in the Yellow Pages,” but who uses the Yellow Pages these days?
Does your radio spot have a jingle that sounds like it was recorded in the 1940s? Maybe your television campaign needs to be updated to combat evasive maneuvers by DVR owners.
What about your web site? Does it still require a Flash plugin? If so, no one with an iPad, iPhone, or Mac can read it. Just as you might update the emergency contact info in your passport, you certainly want to ensure that your digital and social media is up to date.
Every passport has an area for visas that tell a story of where you’ve traveled. Do you tell a story of all the places you’ve been? Clients you’ve assisted over the years. Customers you’ve helped. The community you’ve served.
Are you still talking about services and products that are no longer relevant? It wasn’t long ago that there used to be retail stores that sold CDs and rented DVDs, or sold pagers and dial-up modems. Those businesses needed to adapt to the changing marketplace to stay relevant. What are you doing differently today? Do people know how you have grown your services over the past ten years?
Every ten years, and probably sooner than that, take a look at your branding. Share with us how often you update your marketing strategy. Is ten years too long to wait?