If your brand is an established one, you may believe that branding is no longer a necessity—that you’ve made your mark and now you can sit on it.
And with that, you would be wrong.
No matter if your brand was originally created before all the strategic branding buzz, or if it was created strategically and not periodically updated, it’s important that you understand the necessity of continual branding.
Markets, consumer trends and customer needs change. Logos can begin to look dated. Current events can change the way your brand is perceived. And all of these things are just the beginning of why the need for branding never ends.
Let’s look at how you can keep your established brand relevant, with forever branding.
Forever Branding: A Necessity for Longevity
The following is a list of checkpoints that you should put your brand through regularly, to ensure that it has remained relevant and that it’s consistently meeting the needs of its ideal customers:
- Make Sure you have a Brand. A brand is necessary for communicating your company’s values and mission…however, there are some instances in which a business can survive (albeit for a short time) without having established a brand for itself. This success can be short-lived, if not terminal. If you haven’t created a visual brand identity (logo, colours, etc.) that is supported by a brand strategy, it’s not too late.
- Determine Which Brand Heartbeats are Missing the Mark. Continually monitor the effectiveness of every heartbeat (i.e. touchpoints or points of contact with your audience) your brand sends out into the market. Which ones are connecting? Which ones are producing buzz? And which ones get no attention, or create no engagement? Take note of what’s working for your brand, and adjust your branding strategy to feature those heartbeats that elicit the most activity for your business. If something isn’t working, adjust it or get rid of it. There’s no sense in holding onto any process for the sake of sentimentality. Just because it worked in the beginning, when your brand was new, doesn’t mean it should work now.
- Look to the Competition for Learning. Few consumers are going to consider the age of a brand when making buying decisions. Instead, they’re going to look for brands’ values and for the benefits they can expect to receive. With this in mind, take a good look at your direct (and indirect) competitors and see what they’re doing well and what they’re struggling with. Look at what their customers are saying, and use what you learn to adjust your branding strategy to make it more appealing to your target audience (whilst maintaining its values, mission and vision).
- Continue to Build your Reputation. There’s a lot of talk about establishing reputation as a start-up, but not much talk about the continual development of that reputation. A good reputation can go south quickly, especially if a proactive mitigation strategy has not been put into play. Set up Google Alerts for your name, your brand name and terms that are closely associated with your brand. Monitor your social media pages. Respond promptly to compliments as well as criticisms, with a spirit of gratefulness and a can-do attitude.
- Stay Active and Maintain Thought-Leader Status. Never become so comfortable in your established brand that you sit back and let all the good things about your business come from others. Offer interviews. Write articles. Stay active in PR (Public Relations). Network. Build and nurture relationships. You will grow with your brand, and will therefore have fresh and relevant things to offer. Stay in the public eye, or risk losing the spotlight.
- Account for Expansion into New Areas. If your brand has gone global, or has grown to include new geographical areas, then an audit of the messages it’s sending is in order. Colours have different meanings in different cultures. Brand names and taglines don’t always translate well. Keep these things in mind as your brand expands…to make sure it’s always sending the message you’re intending.
- Make Sure Changes don’t Alienate Loyal Customers. As the intricacies of your branding evolve, you will be tempted to give all your attention to the areas into which you’re expanding, or to the new customers you’d like to attract. As you do this, never forget about your core audience. They have been, and still will be, your most loyal brand advocates. Keep this in mind as you interact, and also as you create new campaigns.
- Maintain your Core Values. Unless your corporate values were named for all the wrong reasons in the beginning, it never makes sense to change them. The market, the industry and consumer trends may change; however your WHY and the ethical ways you choose to conduct business should never change. Your loyal clients will appreciate your standing firm in your beliefs. Your way of doing things can be shifted to fit the times and current requirements; however, your WHY for doing business should remain steadfast.
Your brand should be a living, breathing entity that stays true to its values, yet flexes to meet the changing needs of its ideal customers. If your established brand seems to be missing the mark in this area, How to Build a Brand can help. The B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp is a one-day branding experience in which you’ll learn the three strategies that not only took my brand from £0 to £18,000 in just 12 weeks, but continue working to maintain its steady growth. Click here to enrol or learn more.