So, you’ve done the hard work of building your brand strategy. You’ve even started implementing it. Now, how do you make sure that all your hard work pays off? When people think of branding, they often think that once they’ve designed a strategy, that’s it, they’re done. However, it’s similar to losing weight. Losing is the easy part. Maintaining is trickier. That’s why Brand Management is the last plank in your bridge to customers and it’s an important one if you want your brand to remain relevant over the years.
Why Brand Management Is A Marathon, Not a Sprint
We’re not saying the job is never done. But you’ll always be in a state of refining your brand management because brands and customers change over time.
That’s why management is a long game. It’s a race that’s played over the long-term. In other words, a marathon. But a marathon that has twists and turns, some unexpected, like the COVID-19 pandemic.
How does your business stay nimble and flexible enough to withstand curveballs like that, let alone the constant changes in consumer habits, new media platforms, and ever-evolving technology?
To stay relevant to your customers, and to gain brand loyalty (which means they will still prefer you even if competitor pricing is better), you must always work to retain customer interest, while also engaging new ones.
It may mean updating your brand every so often, refreshing your website, adding new content, trying new communication strategies, or just thinking outside the box.
Learn to M.I.A So Your Brand Doesn’t Get Lost In Action
M.I.A is our little acronym for the three main parts of a Brand Review, and we suggest you do a “mini review” every so often.
“M” is for Management / Tracking Your Brand
You can’t know how you’re doing if you don’t track your progress. How are you managing things? Are you closer or further away from your goals? Are you getting the results you want?
Here are a few ways you can measure branding success:
- Website Analytics (i.e. Google Analytics) – How many views are you getting per day? Is traffic increasing or decreasing?
- Media Hits – Is your brand getting attention in the media? Are people talking about you online?
- Lead Evaluation – Are you getting quality leads from your branding efforts?
- Sales Revenue – Are you generating actual revenue from your branding campaigns?
Sometimes it’s best to draw up a plan, so you can track your progress over time. Add target dates and timelines for certain benchmarks. Make note of your goals in a checklist, that you can tick off as you go.
Just make sure that your “progress plan” makes sense to you and it’s something that you and your team members can easily track and follow.
“I” is for Identify Weak Points
Sometimes stats don’t give you the full picture. A few things to consider if both your revenue and customer leads aren’t where you would like them to be…
Do You Have Brand Strategy Threats? If imitators or competitors arise, do you have a plan to mitigate that threat? Do you have alternate strategies that you can apply?
Do you have Brand Enforcement? Do you have a brand guide? Is your brand image being consistently represented among vendors, employees etc.? How are you enforcing that?
Do you have Brand Alignment? Every campaign, every branding tool you use, is it linked to your overall brand strategy? If not, that could explain why your message is getting lost in translation.
It’s vital to “check in” with your brand every once and awhile, to see if there have been changes to your industry or customers that might require a rebrand or refresh.
One easy way to do this is to revisit your initial Brand Discovery. See if you’re still aligned with everything in that document, and whether things have changed, good or bad.
“A” is for Audit Your Brand
It’s extremely important to audit your brand every 2-3 years, because, often, the energy around a new brand dissipates. While people initially vow to stick with their plan, we all get complacent. The consistency of a brand can often get off-track or watered down.
It may also be a good idea to hire an outside consultant. An outside branding consultant can provide an objective assessment of your strategies, brand threats and any other weak points. Often, you will get a truer picture of your brand than an internal audit can provide.
Next, Assess Whether You Need A Refresh Or Rebrand
Sometimes, after your audit, you may be left wondering, ‘Where do I go from here?’
If your existing branding isn’t working successfully, you might benefit from a Brand Refresh.
A refresh could be a slight change in your messaging, some new content on your website or adding a new communication platform like social media. Or it could be as easy as switching up your colour palette on your brand materials.
But sometimes, your brand image is so damaged that a Rebrand is needed (read our free guide to branding to learn more about a rebrand). A Rebrand can also be positive, if your corporate image or products have changed – it can be a great way to reignite consumer interest!
Because a rebrand involves a complete overhaul of your existing brand, the decision to do so must be made strategically and for the right reasons. But it can bring tangible benefits to your business and customers if done correctly.
Branding Isn’t Set In Stone
Like keeping a healthy body, solid branding will involve maintenance over the years. You’ll need to maintain your branding bridge, patch up areas that might need work, and refine your strategies as times change.
It’s an evolution, and in that sense, branding is more of a marathon, than a sprint. You need to keep checking in, to make sure your brand remains relevant with your customers and within the marketplace. That’s where Brand Management comes into play.
Not sure whether to invest in a Rebrand or Brand Refresh? Consult with one of our branding experts, who can assess your branding and give you direction on where to go next.