The new year is a fresh slate; an open book to be filled-in.  The perfect promise of making a great start of it all.  That includes, very importantly, your businesses’ brand.

I’m not talking about your company logo specifically, (although that certainly factors into it) – but your brand.  The “whole enchilada” of perceptions and feelings that your customers, employees and the public at large believe – whether they are rooted in reality, or not.

“But where do I begin?” you ask.  Honestly – it’s a simple process that I find can be quickly answered through a bit of research and a lot of listening/note-taking that includes these five simple steps:

1. Reaffirm Your Brand Values and Brand Promise

How do you want your customers to position your brand in their minds; and what does that promise mean?  Alignment of your brand’s values and promise must align with your business goals.

2. Closely Identify Your Target Audience

Do you really understand the segments of your audience and what they’re looking for from you?  What do they truly want and need from a brand like yours? Are you delivering on it, while communicating that value to each segment?

3. Review Your Brand in Relation to Competitors

How are you currently positioned in the marketplace?  Do you have data to support that position?  Does your target audience believe what you intend? Identify your brand’s differentiators, strengths, and weaknesses to ensure it’s positioned correctly is a critical step to any brand’s success.

4. Review Your Brand Perception

If you have employees, they are your best advocates. If not,  poll your customers formally or informally about how they perceive your brand. Make sure it’s a “blind poll” so they can feel safe answering truthfully.  Ask they if they’re understanding and expectations is something they believe, and advocate for the brand. Look for gaps and areas of confusion, questions, and misalignment – then address them immediately.

5. Don’t Overlook Other Stakeholders

An annual brand audit shouldn’t just question customers and employees. It should also include a review of how key stakeholders perceive your brand and their expectations for it.  Think investors, journalists, and vendors, too.

“This sounds like a lot of work that I don’t have time for – and I really think I know how my brand is perceived,” I think I hear you say.  Not true!

The brand review process can be done quickly with results that will direct all of your branding efforts from identity design (logo) to collateral presentations, digital media, and any type of production.

Starting the new year with a solid understanding of your brand’s current perception paves the way for any effective marketing or advertising campaign. 

Take this annual opportunity to rethink your brand and gain insights from others – then apply them for an even greater year of success in 2019.

Contact me if I can be of additional help and service.  

Happy New Year!