What is a brand, really? I have heard many answers to this question, and I have narrowed down what I believe a brand is to the following:
- The unique impression you leave on your customers
- The look of your company
- The special ways you deliver your products or services
- Your attitude and the way you advertise yourself
- And most importantly… How your customers feel about you (how quickly they forgive your mistakes, how ready they are to trust in your new offering, etc.)
Why does your brand matter?
A good solid brand actually affects your bottom line. A consistent, strong brand means you spend less money attracting new customers. Your current customers keep coming back to you, and you are able to charge a premium price for your goods and services. AND you get more word of mouth referrals.
How do you keep up with the market and maintain a relevant brand?
I recommend performing a brand audit. Some of you may have just cringed at the thought of the word audit, but I promise it’s not painful.
A brand audit is a useful tool that will help you determine the strength of your brand, weaknesses or inconsistencies in your brand, and opportunities for improvement.
While there is no concrete rule of thumb for how often to perform a brand audit, I can give you a few tips to help determine if your brand is due:
Landscape changes– The market is constantly evolving, and it is important to keep up with the times. The green and health revolutions are good examples of landscape changes. (Check out how Brawny has changed over the years. No more axe on the packages.)
Your product or service offerings have changed– You may have evolved into an entirely new arena, but your branding may not have evolved with you. (Starbucks is a good example of how to change your brand along with your offerings.)
Competitive Changes– Your competition is different, and you need to keep up. Or better yet, knock their socks off. (KFC is trying to compete in the healthy category. I’m reserving my opinion on this one…)
Demand Shifts– Your offerings are not in the demand that they used to be, and you need to switch gears to effective offerings. (Phone companies are trying to become communications companies now, as an example.)
These are a few of the most common times that you need to evaluate the position of your brand. My next post will cover the most common elements of a brand audit and what to do with the results you get.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]