As the snow starts to melt (for some of us) and visions of April showers and May flowers crop up in our minds, our weekends can be filled with spring cleaning—an effort to get rid of what’s accumulated over the long hibernating months of winter and give our homes a fresh start for spring.
At home, my spring cleaning usually starts with my closet, where I ask myself the hard questions in life: What am I no longer wearing even if I like to have it around? (Usually because I’ve just always had it, and what would my closet be without that sweater!) It can be as painful as it is cathartic, but it always puts me in a better position to deal with the busyness of the warm weather months.
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to end at home. As much as our closets benefit from taking account of what’s working and what needs updating, so too can our company’s brand and marketing.
Here are five steps you can follow to spring clean your brand strategy and make sure your company’s marketing stays fresh throughout the year.
1. Assess your look
Your brand is about so much more than just your logo and aesthetic, but these still play an important role in your customers’ overall brand experience. Take an honest look at your brand’s creative material and ask the following questions.
- Is my brand modern and relevant?
- Does it align with the personality we want to project in the market?
- Does it need slight tweaks, a refresh, a complete overhaul?
2. Confirm your direction
Brands, like fashion, evolve over time. Markets change, competition adapts and your brand strategy may need to progress with them.
That’s not to say who you are as an organization should be changing all the time, but the way you interact with the market and the goals you hope to achieve may need to be adjusted from time to time.
The first step in this process is to understand the trends that impact your market today. Then, ensure you’re aligned with where you want to go and have identified gaps where you need to build a presence.
3. Understand how the market sees you
Successful brands are the ones that align brand goals with existing customer expectations. Understanding how you are perceived in the market is an important step in maintaining brand health.
This can be done through a simple scan of online reviews, search engine results, news articles, social media mentions, etc. In this way, you’ll know how much buzz you are creating, what people enjoy about your brand and what you need to improve.
4. Evaluate your marketing material
Your marketing material can include anything you produce, from your social media pages and website, to banners you use at tradeshows, sales brochures or even your customer service documents.
It’s important these assets are consistent with your brand (logo, language, key messages). Similarly, you should ensure that they are aesthetically pleasing and relevant to how you want to be portrayed in the market.
You can use metrics such as conversion rates and return on advertising spending to guide the evaluation of your marketing material. For example, are you noticing a steady decline in your tradeshow conversions while tradeshow traffic remains the same? It may be that your marketing material is misaligned.
5. Look for the hidden gems
What once gave you traction in one channel may no longer be giving you the same return, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be reworked for a different channel. Look for the hidden gems in your brand that can be resurrected, repurposed or realigned to your new brand goals.
Take stock at least once a year
We rarely take the time to care for the “homebase” of our business—the brand strategy and experience. But how many of us could benefit from taking stock of what’s become stagnant in our brand?
Spring will soon arrive. With it comes a great opportunity to take a good, hard and honest look at where your brand stands today, and where it needs to be in 2017 and beyond.
What about you and your team? Do you review your brand on a regular basis? If so, we’d love to hear about how you approach it.