We all know that feeling. The feeling you get when looking at the list of resolutions that you’ve just drawn up feverishly whilst reading the latest how-to book or being plugged into some podcast that’s giving you all the right feels. You’re ready to make the new year your best one yet, but somehow you’re caught between a feeling of fierce optimism and dismal despair. Holiday breaks allow for time to reflect and that’s usually followed up by some resolution or improvement strategy. Perhaps you manage a brand and caught yourself sipping on an island inspired cocktail thinking about ways of improving your brand in the coming year.
Keeping brands in shape is, well, hard work at best, but it doesn’t have to leave you running scared. Start with assessing some fundamentals during the new year and the process could be surprisingly insightful and even enjoyable.
It can’t be said enough, but purpose-led brands outperform ones without a defined purpose. Companies with defined purpose are 41.8% more profitable.* Finding your brand’s purpose starts internally with staff and key stakeholders. Purpose has nothing to do with monetary gains, but focuses on unearthing broader value beyond a product or service. How does your brand add value to the lives of staff and consumers? If you already have a purpose, is your staff aligned to it? Do they even know what the brand purpose is? If the answer is ‘no’, why not resolve to define a brand purpose in the coming year. Defining a brand purpose can be a binding and inspirational experience. It can drive a brand forward, which in return could lead to that much desired growth in revenue.
*Mission Purpose Report, 2017. Study conducted amongst 100 Norwegian Companies. www.mission.no
Storytelling is a great way to onboard new fans and keep existing fans interested in your brand. An important part of storytelling is defining your brand’s character and the role it plays. Is your brand a category leader? Are you demonstrating your brand’s pioneering spirit in innovative ways? Is your brand an enabler, helping businesses or consumers reach new heights? By understanding and defining your brand’s role within a category, the better you’ll be able to communicate it to fans.
Having defined your brand’s character and narrative, it’s time to evaluate tonality. Brands are like people. They behave in a certain way and speak in a certain way. Brand tonality reveals a brand’s character to an intended audience. It could even lead you to consider which channels you choose to engage consumers with. Is your brand quirky or serious? Light hearted or inspirational? Brands communicating to millennials will vary in tone and vocabulary from brands that communicate a business-to-business service. If your brand happens to be a business-to-business solution, it can still have plenty of personality. Don’t discard the fact that people remain at the heart of decision-making during B2B transactions. The more differentiated and unique your brand’s voice, the more memorable and engaging it becomes.
Your brand has purpose, it has a role and a story to tell. It has a voice, but is your brand visually consistent and expressing itself in a unique manner? Establishing a visual language is just as important as establishing a written or spoken voice. With the increase of visual communication and digital media consumption, consumers are clearly engaging more with brands that are visually exciting and different. Refine your brand colour palettes, invest in creating bespoke supporting visual assets like illustrations, photography, typography and content that brings your brand to life in a distinct way. Don’t be fooled by the latest visual trends. Trends come and go. Focus on establishing visuals that are authentic expressions of your brand and its personality.
Be open to the effects of ever-evolving technology or the impact of competitor activity. Brands need to be flexible. A brand that’s not attuned to change will face a very uncertain future and potentially a slow demise. (Insert classic Nokia vs. Apple story here.) That doesn’t mean you need to panic about every little tremor of market activity. The buzzword is culture. Is your brand somehow part of shaping culture, conventions or conversations around the category? If not, how could your brand join the conversation in an authentic way? If your brand is part of the action it’s sure to remain relevant.
Brands are shaped by public perception, but perception can quickly become the only reality consumers and employees know. Why not take the time to make sure that the current perception that you are cultivating is differentiated, appropriate and unique to your intended audience?
Here’s to 2019 being your brand’s best year yet.
|Absa rebranded late in 2018, altering their brand story to reflect their proud African heritage.|
|Mailchimp introduced a unique set of illustrations during the update of their identity, giving the brand a unique
set of visual expressions.
|Apple has successfully evolved from a computer company into a household technology brand through constant innovation.|