At Marketwave we like to say that your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. You can tell me what your brand is, but I get a better sense of what your brand truly is by asking the market.
We’ve identified some common areas where brands often fall short, and a few recommendations on how to give them a boost.
Branding… we’re done with that, right?
Most companies spend a lot of time creating and defining their initial brand story and then for whatever reason, the job of maintaining that story falls down the priority list. Then over time, your brand messages and value proposition can become stale or diluted, and your audience moves on.
The thing about complacency is that its gradual, quiet and almost always goes unnoticed until problems begin to reveal themselves (sales decline, fewer online impressions and morale issues). Making things worse is when those responsible for maintaining the brand finally realize it’s time for an update, they often knee jerk in response to a pain point and scramble to ‘fix’ the problem without taking the time required to do it right.
If you can’t remember the last time you actually examined your brand, more than likely it’s overdue for a review and refresh. Changes in market conditions and the competitive landscape can mean your original brand story isn’t as relevant as it once was. Take a close look at what you’re saying about yourself across channels and see if it still creates a compelling reason for customers to stay with you and for prospects to consider doing business with you. Spend some time finding out what people outside of your company are saying about you, it’s not hard to find that data, and it brings a lot of clarity for the brand vision you want to achieve.
What people used to be concerned about, is now often taken for granted. For example; bandwidth used to be a real issue, and now it’s a given that you can download what you want, when you want it, wherever you are and on whatever device you are using. Now people are demanding it be fast and SECURE. So security became the next challenge for tech companies. So even though bandwidth is still an expectation, companies are not branding themselves around bandwidth as much in 2017 as they were in 2015. It’s a given that speed is going to be there, but now it has to be safe as well.
Once a business challenge is conquered and becomes table stakes, it’s up to you to find the next hurdle and help your clients see that you are going to help them get past this next obstacle. As your products and services evolve, so should your messaging and your brand.
Your Employees Should Be Brand Ambassadors.
Quick. If you ask your team to share your company elevator pitch – could they do it? We’re guessing many can’t communicate a consistent message.
How much time do you spend talking with your employees about your culture, the messaging that best reflects your business and your brand?
You have to arm them with the tools to succeed in social situations and be your best brand ambassadors. Keep it simple and not a script for them to memorize. Nobody wants to talk to a brochure or feel like they are being read a list of bullet points, but they do need to hear about who you are and what you are about.
Remember your brand is not what you say about your company, it’s what others are saying. So what are people saying about your company? Do you know?