Insights / Branding
3… 2… 1… BOOM!
Fireworks erupt, signalling the arrival of a new year once again. As with most years, it brings around the usual talk of new year’s resolutions. Many of us have probably felt the sudden urge to reinvent ourselves into a new and improved version, and this concept of “new year, new me” is no foreign notion.
Perhaps some of you are brandowners and might be wondering the same thing about your brand. You feel like things have been stale for a while now and that your brand needs a good, refreshing kickstart to the year. But what exactly does “new year, new me” look like for your brand?
Well, look no further! This article will share some steps that can point you in the right direction.
1. Reflect and reassess
Before you start scheming your next great big action plan, set aside time to reflect on all the ups and downs of the past year. The past often serves as a source of knowledge and lessons that we can learn from in order to move forward, and that’s no different when it comes to starting the year well for your brand!
Sit your team (or yourself) down and re-evaluate the processes and events that your brand has embarked on and list down each point that is brought up. Getting a grasp of this information would serve as a strong foundation for strategizing moves that would enhance your brand and further achieve its objectives in the following year.
For starters, you may discuss:
- Things that turned out well and things that didn’t
- Things that you wanted to do but didn’t get to
- Effective strategies, methods or decisions that should be kept
- Possible alternatives to poor strategies
Here’s an additional list of questions from Forbes if you’re looking to dig a little deeper! But aside from the outcome-based aspect, it is also crucial to reflect on internal factors. Look back on your brand’s core values, brand statement, mission and vision. Ask yourself: Has your brand been living and acting according to those guidelines? Are those guidelines something you want to continue standing by?
This leads us to our closely related second point!
2. Pinpoint what you want / need to improve
After contemplating and recognizing the challenges and shortcomings you’ve faced in the previous year, begin the process of brainstorming what must be done in order to see better results. Here’s a simple example:
Imagine that your brand hasn’t been having much social media engagement and hence, traffic has been low and your brand doesn’t have a big following on its social platforms. Perhaps you would then have to focus on finding an approach that would help to increase interaction with your customers on those platforms in order to boost general awareness of your brand.
An immensely helpful and vital tool you could utilize in pinpointing specific problem areas would be tangible metrics. Information like this would help you determine exactly what needs improvement as it presents you with objective analytical data based on past activities. This is especially the case for digital or social media platforms, where the metrics are very easily collected and made available.
However, an important thing to remember is not to be discouraged by the negatives! As much as identifying problem points is necessary, identifying the victories and how far you’ve come as a brand is also essential. Pick out significant factors that have enabled your brand to become what it is today, endeavour to maintain those positive points, and give yourself the permission to celebrate those wins!
3. Research and remain relevant
Now that you’ve finished looking into the past, it’s time to look to the future! Well, that and the present too.
Success encompasses more than just learning from the past, but being able to anticipate and envision what the present and future hold as well. In this competitive market, being in tune with trends and consumer insights should basically be second nature to us. Without relevancy, you’d risk losing your customers’ attention and - in the worst case scenario - losing them completely to competitors.
To stay up-to-date on the latest trends and customer fancies, you’ve got to do your research! You can approach this through a selection of different methods, but one of the main, most effective means is to talk to your customers! Whether it’s through an online survey, a social media poll, scrolling through reviews or conducting a sample group session, find ways to keep constant contact with your customers. Not only does this help you understand their present headspace but it also shows that your brand is proactive in caring for them.
Another pertinent aspect to consider is the consistency of your brand experience. Are you presenting your brand and its story in a manner that allows your customers to experience your brand in its intended form? Think about the tone and voicing of your brand, the collaterals and marketing - are they consistent across all channels? When customers are able to latch on to a brand identity that they relate to and are familiar with, it often instills a deeper sense of loyalty, which is a great goal to work towards in the new year! If you’d like to know more specifically about brand loyalty, check out our blog article on How To Instill Passionate Loyalty Towards Your Brand.
4. Make a game plan
With all the information you’ve gathered, the only thing left to do is to make an action plan. However, this does not mean that you need to rush through your calendar to book time slots for every single potential detail and event in the entire year.
Rather, work out a general, long-term plan for the year ahead. Perhaps you intend to focus on rebranding over the first quarter of the year, or maybe you want to create 2 major marketing campaigns before the year comes to an end? Do you plan to create a new website, expand your brand into new platforms or participate in a collaboration? List down all your foreseeable or potential ventures for the year and plan out a rough timeline as to when you might want to carry them out. Add items on as the days go by, and always be open to change!
On top of desired activities and endeavours, it would be wise to set a reasonable budget for different areas of your brand’s expenditure. This gives your brand a ballpark amount to safely spend and provides a rough estimate of how much you’re willing to invest or save.
Furthermore, these plans should also include ideas to improve the internal environment of your company for the sake of your employees. This might include plans to revamp your office space, to change up some policies, to have more team building avenues, and so on.
In all of this, remember to be practical and realistic. A basic rule of thumb you can follow is to create S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stands for:
S - Specific (have a well-defined problem and action plan)
M - Measurable (ensure that its quantifiable; ex. What percentage? How many? Who?)
A - Attainable (must be actually possible to achieve, according to your team’s capabilities and limitations)
R - Relevant (should serve the bigger picture and be worth the effort and work)
T - Time-based (have a definitive time frame and end)
When all is said and done and you have a masterpiece of a plan fleshed out for the year ahead… not all is actually said and done just yet. You might have a stellar plan, but you’ll need a committed and well-informed team to be able to execute it to perfection.
As cliché as it sounds, communication is key! Starting the year off on the right foot makes all the difference, and you want your team to be in the loop for everything the journey that you’re embarking on. In addition to sharing your big plans with them, get them on board by casting vision and helping them understand the heart and the “why” behind what you’re doing.
Beyond getting them to perform their tasks for the benefit of the brand, you would be creating an atmosphere that promotes transparency and inclusivity. When you and your team are aligned on the goals that you want to achieve as a brand and begin to work together in that direction, it motivates everyone to take ownership of their roles and responsibilities. Ownership is paramount, as people take on the brands success as their own and in turn, know that what they bring to the table throughout the process matters!
Starting off strong and steady can set the tone for how things play out in the year ahead. When you have the fundamentals down, you’ll have a solid foundation that will grant some leeway for you to experiment, get creative and take some risks. Even if you have grand plans for your brand that may seem too out of reach due to the lack of technical expertise, don’t worry! There’s always the option of reaching out to creative agencies for an extra helping hand. Find out more about how they can actually help your brand here.
So plan well, prepare well and dare to dream a little. Here’s to an amazing year!