Is it Time to Invest in Your Brand? Five Common Signs
Most CEOs have their plates full, to say the least. So branding and all things brand-related often don't rank high on their list of pressing issues… until the need is obvious (sometimes painfully so).
In 2013, Brandstone worked to strengthen the brands of a variety of companies ranging from early-stage ventures to decades-old market stalwarts. In each case, the leadership of these organizations came to the realization that their brands were among their most potent — yet overlooked — competitive advantages and chose to invest significantly in fortifying them.
Five Signs That Your Brand Needs Attention
As with any facet of the business, CEOs need to regularly check on the health of their brand and take action to stay ahead of potential problems. So how do you know when your brand is in need of attention? Here are five of the most common signs to look for and a few questions to ask yourself:
(1) Does your brand have clear meaning & purpose? The best way to know the answer to this question is to ask your employees what the company and brand stand for. If they don't know or their answers don’t align, you can be sure that your customers, prospects and other key external audiences will have the same reaction. Casually ask the next five employees you meet what is the "one thing" about the company that they are most proud of and believe separates it from competitors. If you get five different answers, it’s a sign that your brand messages need to be better articulated and the communications around them strengthened.
(2) Are you really differentiated from your competition? Look at the overview or “about us” page on your website. Then compare it to that of your closest competitor. How much of the same generic language and industry jargon are you both using? And how much of the language is directed inward (about you) vs. outward (about your audiences)? Perhaps it's time to find a new way to describe what you do, why it matters, and to whom.
(3) Has the market has caught up with you? Initially, many companies launch their marketing efforts around a single competitive advantage and then competitors begin to emulate that advantage until it no longer exists. This is the way of the world in industries like technology, consumer goods, and real estate, to name just a few. If you feel like there are a lot of "me too" competitors out there, then now's the time to break away from the pack again.
(4) Are the winds of change blowing? Any time there is significant change within an organization (e.g., new management, a merger or acquisition, new investors/owners), leaders should take a look at the relevancy and perception of the brand among both internal and external audiences. This is often the best time to reset, clarify and raise expectations, make everyone feel like they are part of something new, and establish a shared sense of purpose.
(5) Is loyalty waning? Have you recently lost a big customer? Is your sales team having to offer discounted pricing just to retain existing customers? What about employee turnover? Any of these occurrences could be a sign that your audiences don’t understand what really makes your company better and are leaving you for what they perceive to be greener pastures. This is a good time to improve and increase the communications around what makes your company worth sticking with.
These are just a few of the warning signs that it might be time to take a closer look at your brand. If you’re starting to see them — or if you’re still unsure — give us a call!