Resolutions for Better Branding in the New Year
If you’re anything like me, the five-week span between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is not the time for self-improvement. I’ll tell myself, “Go ahead and help yourself to that second snickerdoodle in the break room, you will absolutely be back at the gym at 7 a.m. on January 1. Without a doubt.” One more glass of wine, one more episode of 90-Day Fiance, one more hour of scrolling through Twitter. No big deal.
But 2019 is almost here. The party will be over soon. Feel free to cut loose until the stroke of midnight, but if self-discipline is self-love, then prepare to get your act together as soon as your holiday hangover dissipates.
I’d also posit that your brand deserves the same consideration. It is a time for fresh starts, new beginnings, and constructive habits. I like to think of brands as living (but not breathing) organisms that require perpetual attention, resources, and care. Why shouldn’t a brand have a New Year’s resolution, too?
Here are three things to consider for better branding in 2019:
- Have you been cutting corners when adhering to brand standards? Did your logo look a little pixelated on that last monthly newsletter?
- When was the last time you did an audit of all of your communications or marketing collateral? Is your messaging always consistent and in-line with your standards?
- Do you have a brand positioning statement? Are you constantly referencing this document as your North Star as you develop branded materials or make brand decisions?
- Did you shrug your shoulders the last time that you found a typo on your website?
If you’re uneasy about the answer to any of these questions, put a meeting on the calendar for the first week of January. Invite all brand stakeholders and consider what new processes you can put into place to make sure that you’re focused on your brand’s overall health. Perhaps you can resolve to:
- Schedule a monthly meeting to review the status of all projects and messaging developed in the last four weeks, and as a group, candidly assess if they are really in service of your brand.
- Add one more person to your review process to add another fresh set of eyes.
- Block off one hour on your calendar every month to review your brand standards guide.
Processes are crucial for consistency. Now is the perfect time to put them in place.
When you’re back in the office on January 2, before you click through your unread emails, reserve an hour to take a look at your closest competitors and what they have accomplished within your specific frame of reference this year:
- Say your closest competitor unveiled a slick new website this year. By comparison, does your website look stale?
- Have you noticed that they are actively putting out relevant content or deploying a smart social strategy, while your last post on Facebook was in August 2017?
- Did they do a brand refresh? Is your logo starting to look more and more like clip art?
It will require some radical honesty, but if you’re not being truthful about your brand, you can’t improve its health. A failure to stay fresh or differentiate will keep you a few paces behind. Consider all aspects and channels, and determine how you can grow this year. Maybe it’s high time to:
- Consider a refresh.
- Consider new channels that you haven’t explored. Do you have a content marketing strategy? Is your website up to date?
- Write a vision statement to help plan for the next five years.
This one is easy. Take a walk around the block and think about how you personally want to grow this year. A brand is only as good as the people who hold it, and we all have room to grow. Think about how you can elevate your brand through new skills.
- Is there a conference that you’ve been meaning to attend the past few years that could have a direct impact on your day-to-day operations?
- Is there an online class or tutorial you can take that will teach you a skill that would help you to become more productive?
- Do you often rely on a colleague to help you with a specific task? Ask them to spend some time transferring their knowledge so that you are more agile.
Take action. You will feel more confident in your performance, and your brand will only be stronger because of it.