December 10 2014 10:44 AM
I was thinking about a quote by Marty Neumeir, the author of Brand Gap recently, he said that “brand will become the most powerful strategic tool since the spreadsheet” – and I can’t agree more. Your brand is every single thing you do and say that influences how people perceive you, so it absolutely needs to be at the centre of your business. While many brands know it’s time for a change when they’re moving into new markets, trying to change their culture or the focus of the company; there are other subtle warning signs that it’s time for a facelift.
1. No one knows what you do
Have you ever been on a website only to leave because you didn’t really understand what the business does? This is a common mistake we see, particularly in B2B organisations. In an era of information overload if your potential customer or client does not understand what you do and fast, you will lose them.
No matter what your audience, remember every single piece of communication that is written on behalf of your company is written for a human being. Think of it as a one-to-one exchange. You wouldn’t use buzzwords, industry jargon or acronyms if you were speaking to a customer or client face-to-face, so it’s best to drop them. Always keep your target audience in mind, tighten up your messages and make every word count.
2. You’re trying to be everything to everyone
Many brands try to please everybody and this can be incredibly detrimental to your cause. Being a jack-of-all-trades and master of none is not an ideal place to be. Regardless of whether you’re in B2B or B2C, meaning something to a select few is always better than meaning nothing to everyone – people are much more likely to engage with brands they have a connection with.
Carving out a niche, being known for something and sticking takes a bit of time. It means committing to reflect on what’s special about the company, what’s happening in the market and what your customers think and feel, but it’s worth it. When you narrow the focus, you not only learn what’s special about your company, what services you provide and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t – you also have a far bigger impact as a brand.
3. Your brand touchpoints aren’t up to scratch
If your website is neglected, your brochure messaging uninspiring and your sales tools aren’t converting – then it’s time to freshen up your image. Tired sales and marketing tools are often a sign of a deeper issue. Every brand touchpoint should be seen as an opportunity – to increase brand awareness and loyalty. If the image you are portraying is tired or old and doesn’t match the experience that means you are not only losing valuable prospects but also potential talent.
A brand is far more than a shiny veneer, it defines everything about how you do business and how you want your customers to feel and talk about doing business with you. Taking a step back to craft your brand’s strategy means you can be clear on what value you deliver and how you want your customers to feel when they do business with you. Narrowing your focus and tightening up your messaging means you have solid foundations to ensure every brand touchpoint is consistent and impactful and perhaps most importantly, aligned to the company’s commercial objectives.
Do you identify with any of the above? Is your brand suffering from signs of ageing?