For many companies, their brand is something static created when they first got started. The problem with this is the inherent change happening everywhere, all the time. New companies pop up, customers change opinions and words start having new associations. Perhaps you created your brand a few years ago as a startup and you want to know if it is still relevant, or maybe sales are not where you would like them to be. Often times, this boils down to one of two problems. Either you don’t fully understand your customers or you are not effectively explaining your business. Here we present six questions that can help you understand if you have outgrown your brand and give you some quick tips for what to do next.
Where does your brand live?
Gone are the days when a logo on a letter head represents your visual brand. Consider all the places where customers come in to contact with your brand and what that experience is like. If you have print materials such as packaging or an annual report, will people immediately recognise that it belongs to you? Does your logo work on small formats such as social media icons? One common problem we see is logos with multiple colours or shades that transform poorly to black and white formats. This might be problematic if your logo is often printed by third parties, such as a distributor.
Do you appeal to your customers?
This might be an obvious question but many times, our customers change as the company grows. Perhaps the average age has shifted or you need to make sure they stay engaged. Loyal customers are always the holy grail of business so you need to make sure that your brand allows for flexibility to keep up interest. It is also more common than you think to set out with a set of customers in mind only to find that a whole different group likes what you offer. Keeping an eye out for this can help you tailor the brand to those who need your product or service most. If you don’t already have a persona, i.e. a detailed description of your customers, this site takes you through how to make one step by step, it even has a free template.
Is your branding time sensitive?
What we mean by this is that many logos and icons are based on associations such as a cloud for online storage. This might have worked when the brand was created but associations change and sometimes the imagery becomes associated with outdated technology or trends. In some cases, like the floppy disc save icon, the imagery stays relevant but might change meaning so keep an eye out.
Is your brand dynamic?
Few companies keep the same goals and products at founding and 20 years later. Your brand needs to be able to roll with the punches. This means allowing for different applications and not being too tied to your product or service. You can do this by focusing the brand on your company values. As an example, many car companies have a unique brand strategy that is time relevant for each new product launch but the company itself maintains a more timeless visual language.
Is your brand strategy based on enough data?
By strategy we mean two main things. One: have you researched your competitors and found a way to stand apart while still appealing to your customers? And two: Are you confident that you are not infringing on another company’s intellectual property? A good strategy should consider what your competitors strengths are and how you can highlight another aspect customers are looking for. A great way to get started is to use Google Adwords to find keywords that have low competition but are often searched for. If you are not familiar with Google Adwords keyword planner, this article is a great place to get started.
Is your brand internationally appropriate?
If you are a local store with no desire to dive in to the international market, this might not be a concern for you. Most businesses however have a website, and sales can come from any country. If you wish to appeal to people from a number of places, it is worth investigating how your name, imagery and approach is perceived. This approach can also apply to people from different cultures or social backgrounds living in the same city. Make sure you come across in the way you intend by asking a diverse set of potential clients what they associate with your business.
The next step
If the answer is yes to most of these questions but you are not reaching the results you want, the problem is often in brand implementation. Many times, customers would love your product but they are not aware of your existence. Sometimes this is due to competitors having big marketing budgets, but often a strong and clever brand voice can cut through this. This is especially true with social media engagement. Try to find a way to emotionally connect with your customers and let them know how you solve their problem.
If the answer is no, it is time for a rebrand! Or even just a refresh. Many times small changes like using quality photography on your website can boost sales. Get out there and ask your customers what they like and don’t like and use the feedback to improve your brand and strategy. If you are unsure of what is working or not, we offer a free consultation chat, no strings attached. Come by our Edinburgh office or get in touch!
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