Time to Start an Annual Brand Physical
The phrase “New Year new you” should not apply to your brand. Hopefully you’ve built a brand with strong legs and you’re showing them off effectively. If you’re hesitant to do so, or, if your sales metrics show room for improvement, you should perform a brand physical.
A brand physical should happen about once a year, and there’s no better time than the beginning of spring to start this critical practice. Just as a thorough closet cleaning can reap lost 20s from long unopened pockets, finding and filling any holes in your brand can help you find the customers you’ve left on the table.
To start, ask yourself if your company has a feasible brand growth plan and whether it’s being executed effectively. 65% of companies have a growth strategy, however only 14% of those companies’ employees understand the organization’s strategy. Less than 10% of these companies successfully implement their strategy.
To avoid being lumped in with those who failed at implementation, we have some advice and a checklist to guide you in your journey to an aligned brand.
First, you need to think internally. Ask yourself, are the values and beliefs of the brand known throughout all levels of the organization? If you're at all unsure of the answer, ask employees directly. Here are a few fun ways you can discover how connected the brand values are to the employee experience:
Send an email with a survey about the brand identity. This doesn't have to be a huge endeavor. Simply come up with 5 central brand identity questions, each with four possible responses, aimed at discovering how well the brand strategy is reflected in the company's daily operations. To increase morale and interest, you could offer participants a chance to win a gift card.
Ask for feedback during a long wait for the elevator. Make use of spare time around the office by asking probing questions of employees. Not only will you have a better idea of how the brand is perceived throughout different levels of the organization, but discussing the brand in a casual way with non-marketing or design employees could lead to new and diverse perspectives.
Have a group breakfast with different teams to gauge their knowledge of the brand's core values. This is a slightly more formal option than the one above. Again, this shouldn't be a long, drawn-out affair. A conference room, some bagels and a white board should be all you need to discuss how this team understands the brand values and whether or not they see them reflected in their daily work.
Based on the feedback from the above strategies, you will know more about the gaps that need to be filled in terms of communicating the brand strategy internally. This in itself will lead to a more cohesive brand, as all branches of the company will be unified in their representations of the brand image to the clients.
Clear expectations and directives to team members are an imperative first step to brand implementation, so don't shy away from events, lunches, and continuous messaging that focus on brand values.
If your brand is aligned internally, you can focus on whether it's being optimally implemented externally, using the following checklist:
Many of these questions can be answered by looking at website traffic data, social media engagement, sales trends, case studies, and the actions of mentor/role model companies. The answers will be integral in staying on track with your growth strategy and overall goals.
After completing your brand assessment, shoring up the holes you find will ensure that your brand is an aligned brand.