June 28, 2021

January 18, 2021

10 Ways to Kick Your Brand into High Gear for the New Year

Brand Identity
Strategy

June 28, 2021

10 Ways to Kick Your Brand into High Gear for the New Year

Brand Identity
Strategy
Branding is an ongoing exercise that never really ends. Each day you and your team make decisions that affect your reputation and solidify it in the minds of your customers.

With 2021 underway, why not resolve to strengthen your brand’s reputation this year? Because, let’s face it, building your brand (AKA increasing your bottom line) sounds way better than whatever New Year’s resolution you vowed to stick to and have already given up. So, how do you do it? We’re glad you asked! Here are 10 steps for continuing to build your brand this year. Some you can do now and check off. Others are ongoing tasks that will keep you in check.

June 28, 2021

10 Ways to Kick Your Brand into High Gear for the New Year

Brand Identity
Strategy
Branding is an ongoing exercise that never really ends. Each day you and your team make decisions that affect your reputation and solidify it in the minds of your customers.

With 2021 underway, why not resolve to strengthen your brand’s reputation this year? Because, let’s face it, building your brand (AKA increasing your bottom line) sounds way better than whatever New Year’s resolution you vowed to stick to and have already given up. So, how do you do it? We’re glad you asked! Here are 10 steps for continuing to build your brand this year. Some you can do now and check off. Others are ongoing tasks that will keep you in check.

1. Assign people to be brand ambassadors.

Depending on the size of your staff, this could be a Chief Brand Officer or a Brand Manager. It’s important in doing this that you define the responsibilities this entails. It isn’t like signing up your friend for a workout class to be your “accountability partner” without them knowing. This person will help steer the brand in the intended direction so they need to be totally on board and trained up on how to do that. This includes sharing the brand vision, being a member of the leadership team to set expectations for the importance of branding and reviewing all communications to make sure they’re adhering by the brand standards.

2. Meet regularly to discuss the brand.

This is like weighing yourself every week to see if you’re getting closer to that New Year’s weight goal. If you don’t check in, you can’t really be sure how you’re doing. Decide how often you’ll have these check-ins: every month, every quarter? During these check-ins, ask yourselves: What is the perception of our brand? What’s working? What’s not? Are our actions/services/products helping or hurting our reputation? Take this time to review social media posts, evaluate customer experiences and potential new products and prepare for staff trainings.

3. Take an inventory of your brand identity and communication assets.

Is every member of your team using the same fonts? What logos are you missing? Do you have a tagline? Are you using it? Are you consistent with your voice and tone when communicating through social media, one-on-one with customers and at all other touchpoints? This is the equivalent of taking inventory of your life as the year turned to 2021. You strive to come up with a meaningful New Year’s resolution that you actually are excited about. You need to know where you are starting from to make a path on where to go.

4. After taking inventory, fill the holes in your branding efforts.

Install fonts for people who need them. Work with someone to design and produce any needed identity assets. Train your staff on voice and tone and set the expectation that they should be communicating consistently every time. If you found you were missing a pair of hand weights, you’d go to the sporting goods store. If you made a grocery list for spinach, apples and other healthy food, you’d go to the grocery store. This is your time to stock up so you’re ready to keep working toward your goals.

5. Survey your customers/employees.

Like meeting regularly with your core team to keep yourselves accountable, it’s equally as important to have regular check-ins with your customers and employees. By surveying, you can receive valuable feedback, make changes and track progress from those closest to your brand.Research shows that 50% of employees think employer branding is an important part of their human resources approach, and there are 2.1 million negative customer brand mentions on social media each day. Regardless of what you think you know, finding out what your employees and customers are thinking is invaluable. (Beamery.com)

6. Trim the fat.

After surveying, it’s a great time to cut back on what’s not working and sharpen what is. Review your products and services to see if there’s something that is no longer worth putting energy into. This also applies to cutting ineffective marketing efforts and other touchpoints that are sucking up staff time or resources and refocusing that energy into areas that may work better. This can be just as satisfying as scrolling through your Instagram account and unfollowing people who make you eye roll.

7. Engage online.

This is an ongoing one that you should get in the habit of doing. Like setting a timer to remind you to get up from your desk to get some steps in, make yourself reminders to respond and comment on reviews and social media regularly. While 80% of businesses that have an online presence believe they deliver great customer service via their social media channels, only 8% of their customers agree (Locowise). Eventually, it should become a habit. No one likes to feel like their voice isn’t heard or that they’re having a one-sided conversation. Make sure you’re engaging with your customers and answering any questions people have about your business. And make sure it’s always in brand voice and tone.

8. Invest in professional, curated photography and videography.

You don’t want your imagery to look like it belongs on Boyfriends of Instagram, do you? By now you should have an idea what type of photo direction you need based on your brand. Now, pay a professional to make it happen. Remember, consistency matters. Ninety percent of potential customers expect to see consistent branding across all communication platforms. That includes your photos, videos and other visuals. (Source: 3DDigital)

9. Help your community.

What does your company stand for? What’s it all about? Once you figure that out, find ways to help your community that are meaningful to your company. Getting involved in your community as a team is great for team-building and morale and, most importantly, it helps improve the community you are a part of. To help decide where/how to get involved, review your brand positioning, your values and the industry you’re in. Then, choose an organization or event that overlaps. A grocery store may pick a food bank. A builder may pick Habitat for Humanity. It doesn’t need to be that literal but your choice should reinforce what you stand for. This will also give you some guardrails for saying “no” to a fundraising call that isn’t the right fit.

10. Do something worth talking about.

Find a way to get your customers’ and potential customers’ attention. We’re not talking posting the video of the sales team doing keg stands at last year’s Christmas party. No. We mean going big in a real way: an attention-grabbing billboard, a sizable donation to a nonprofit or an initiative that knocks your audience’s socks off. And as long as it is backed by your brand strategy, it will help solidify your value in the minds of your audience. Remember, even here brand consistency is important. Speaking of going big, during the Super Bowl commercials this year, check out who stays on brand and who goes big with something weird and confusing that just makes you go ‘why?’ You don’t want to be the latter.

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