Kelly Lucente

DOES YOUR BRAND NEED RE-WORK?

If we had a dollar for every time someone asked us “Does my brand need re-work?”, we would be have quite the bank.  Typically when someone is asking, it is because they already know that the answer is a resounding “yes” but oftentimes people need validation and subsequent direction as they are honestly just too close to their business to be objective.

The truth is, every brand needs a revamp at several points in its lifecycle.  There are a plethora of reasons that should lead you to a rebrand or refresh destination.  Being in the branding space as re-tool® is, we feel these five ways below are the most obvious (at least to us) for looking closely at your brand and deciding if it is time to tackle some rework.

1. Your logo is still living in the 90s.

Perhaps the most obvious reason to refresh your logo is that its image has simply outgrown its effectiveness. Brands organically evolve over time and updating visual identity and voice to match that evolution is vitally important.  Many companies struggle to make changes to their brand’s image because over time it becomes like an old pair of jeans, familiar and comfortable. 

You can have a stellar product or service suite but you don’t want to be viewed as a dinosaur and put your brand in danger of extinction on aesthetic alone.  People are visual learners now more than ever so refreshing your brand’s presence to look relevant and modern is highly recommended every 3-5 years. Even the biggest brands change or tweak theirs every handful of years.  Unfortunately, in today’s world, everything is constantly changing and thus it has become anticipated and expected for brands to reinvent themselves regularly. 

2. You’re attracting the wrong audience.

There is one guiding factor that must be the focal point for all of your brand’s strategic decisions: your target audience.  Your customer persona(s) should be the single biggest influencer for your business. 

An all-to-common mistake that re-tool® commonly sees with entrepreneurs and small businesses is those designing their solutions and marketing mix around themselves or their own preferences. It’s easy to forget that what you may like or prefer may not be representative of your desired customers and clients. You need to focus on how your customers feel, what their pain points are, and the evolving factors that motivate them to make a purchase.The more you know about your customers, the more clearly you can speak in a language that makes complete sense to them, and consequently, drives faster growth for you.

3. You struggle with articulating what it is your brand does, so your eternal messaging is unclear.

If a lot of people act confused when you explain what your brand is about or if visitors to your website are bouncing like ping pong balls, that’s a sign that your brand narrative needs a serious overhaul. You want your “why” (why your brand is doing what it does) to be a clear, authentic, and compelling reflection of your business offerings and your unique solutions.

It’s perfectly normal for a business to start as one thing and transition into other areas as it grows. If your brand has made a similar shift, is it reflected in your messaging? The last thing you want to do is confuse your prospects about what you do or offer.  Coming up with your brand messaging isn’t something you just do on the fly or something that changes from day-to-day.  Take some dedicated time to dig deep and distill down to your brand’s essence and get crystal clear on the things that are driving people to look for your products or services (often referred to as “pain points” or, more simply, “problems”) and how your brand meets those needs.

4. Your growth has stalled like your grandma’s 1985 sedan.

A strong brand consistently gives its customers a reason to sit up and take notice. There are plenty of ways to tell whether your audience has moved on from your message, and the first is that you have seen a steady decline in sales.  If repeat customers are happy with your products as they have always been, but you are not successfully tapping into new interest in the marketplace, this could be a sign that your brand has lost its selling mojo. 

By launching a new slogan or upping your game with a dynamic social media strategy you can breathe new life into your brand. In order to attract a newer audience you need to grab their attention or give them something worth noodling on such as a dedicated blog series that has wow power, regular emotive thought-leadership pieces or by providing something unexpected or disruptive like a revamped design or value add or bonus.

5. Your online and offline branding are like two ships passing in the night.

Your brand’s online and offline channels must work in tandem to drive profit.  The marketing divide between online and offline spheres can be such a gaping hole that it is not uncommon to see separate print, web and social media strategies within the very same organization.  That will no doubt create confusion which will have a ripple effect within your consumer circles.  

In a customer’s mind they perceive one continuous brand. We live in a world where customers casually cross multiple marketing channels throughout the course of an hour.  Optimizing the thread between different marketing platforms and grasping the potential that lies there is the secret sauce. Forward-thinking brands that generate a consistent experience between their print, social, mobile and web campaigns drive a connection and positive impact across their entire marketing ecosystem.

Many biz owners especially those who have been at it for years passively assume their brand is working for them. Until. Until the moment someone makes a remark about their brand’s dated look, inconsistent marketing or weary website.  That stings no doubt. That’s because the comment has revealed a gap between how they view the strength of their brand presence and the actual perception in the market. This gap is where audience erosion begins to take root. And that’s scary. Particularly because it’s a blind spot.  Realizing when a refresh or rebrand is warranted needs to actually come before the blind spot forms and takes you by surprise.

Take time mid-year (because honestly no one has the time at year’s end) to evaluate the five items mentioned in this piece.  A little housekeeping on a yearly basis will help you confirm if your brand continues to sing and hit all the right notes or if it needs some re-tuning.