Remember that lively new puppy you got a while back at the office? Even as a young pup he displayed fine qualities of loyalty and reliability. You named him Brand. You dressed him in that spiffy dog sweater with logo on it and sported him around town with his winning slogan collar.
In the beginning Brand got a daily walk and the attention he deserved. You were diligent about socializing Brand at the local dog park and showing off your new office pal around town. And you didn’t just stay local. You made sure he was exposed to national and international dog shows.
What have you done for Brand lately? Even though he is all grown-up he still needs training and a daily walk. Maybe it’s time for a hike into some new territory? Or maybe it’s time for a refresh for Brand at the groomers?
Brand as a dynamic entity commands on-going attention to keep it spry. Let’s see how Brand the Dog can assist us in a brand refresh. We’ll look at this revitalization in two parts. Part I takes on the gathering of information to clarify and define our new characteristics. Part II is a combination of position assessment and possible action items to nose out our new path and put Brand the Dog to work as a messenger for your company.
This evaluation will help you set priorities and procedures to revitalize your brand. Depending on your history and a your future goals it will help you decide the best approach for your refresh. It could reveal your brand needs re-positioning in the marketplace and expansion to reach a new audience, or it could affirm that you need to differentiate your brand from your primary competitors.
Part I: Clarifying Your Path for a Brand Refresh
Part I defines who you are, how others perceive you, and how you want to be perceived. The evaluation of past personality traits and stipulating new desired characteristics can help target what your brand is lacking and narrow in on problem areas of your brand positioning.
Step 1 – Review Your Origins
The first step is a look back into family history. When defining your initial values as a company what breed of dog did it embody? A golden retriever, loyal and friendly? Or possibly an australian shepherd, a true work dog, focused on the task at hand? How you initially defined your character and what course of action you have ventured in the past can give guidelines on how to approach your next phase of brand development.
Step 2 – Update Your Mission Statement — Go Beyond the Food Bowl
Your mission statement can be a key component of your brand. As you are updating your mission, think beyond what you want placed in your dog bowl at meal time. Like dogs, our brains get stuck on rewards. But if your brand reflects company values beyond the food bowl and includes the deeper perspective of why you do what you do, you can attract customers that share your values and in turn cultivate devoted long-term patrons.
Step 3 – New Characteristics
So how do we construct our new desired personality? When I am designing a logo for a client, I begin by asking for ten adjectives to describe their company to create their visual image. A similar process can be used during a branding refresh. First we evaluate the past (as we did in step 1), what characteristics we want to keep and then add in new identifiers we want to incorporate for the future.
Depending on whether you are doing a brand refresh, or completely reinventing your identity, you may benefit by keeping brand elements you fostered in your companies inception. Key elements such as colors and typography in your brand should be scrutinized to make sure you are modernized but not erased from memory. This carry-forward will help in brand recognition.
Worksheet to determine your new characteristics:
- What were your initial company values/characteristics?
- Which of these values/characteristics do you want to carry forward, and why?
- Which of these values/characteristics do you want to leave behind, and why?
- How do your current customers perceive you? This is vital information to gain new perspective on what is and is not working.
- Based on these new values, write a new mission statement that includes the passions of your company.
- Combine all you learned and explored in steps 1-5 to build a list of new adjectives of your new desired personality.
Step 4 – Tangible and Intangible
To further expand upon your characteristic development, distinguish your list of characteristics into tangible and intangible qualities of your brand. Evaluation of brand positioning (what we will be doing in Part II) includes quantifiable factors, such as price, selection, and performance, and non-quantifiable terms such as consumer perceptions. If you are in the service industry verses a company that brings a product to market, that distinction will bring up different questions in your analysis. Sometimes it is helpful to bring in a comparison of your competition in this evaluation.
Add to your worksheet above:
- Tangible and Intangible Characteristics
Part II: Constructing the Trail Map and Plotting the Course
Now that we have new data of who you want to be, the next course is asking the questions of where and how. As each company is in their own unique position, Part II becomes an individualized evaluation. So what we’ll cover here are samples of a position/action examination that can spark your own questions for your distinct plan of action.
These are just a few action items for plotting the new course for your company. Positioning your brand is done by controlling the elements which impact your brands image and by selecting the market segment where you will have the best opportunity for consumer awareness. You can only achieve this by truly knowing who you are and how you want others to perceive you.
Time for a Walk
No two companies are at the same place in their brand development or postioning needs. Because each company is unique, it takes a customize approach to properly access. Don’t delay, it is time to take Brand out for a walk.