A Healthy Brand is a Flexible Brand

Three tips to keep your brand in good shape.

Diana Lillicrap 5.2.2017

Here’s a question we hear regularly: “How often should we be changing our brand?” The answer isn’t based on a formula of years since your last update, but on a recommended practice of constant evolution.

In fact, all brands should be steadily evolving or they will be outdated faster than you may realize. Think this doesn’t apply to your brand because you’re leading in your market? Think again. Resting on your laurels is a sure way to deteriorate your brand image and maybe even your company livelihood.

Take for example two noteworthy brands that died last year: Meerkat and Sports Authority. Both spent a lot of money promoting their brands within their intensely competitive markets. But neither was able to innovate or evolve in a way to truly distinguish them from the pack and the result was brand fatality.

In today’s age of acceleration, brand leadership is fleeting if you don’t keep proving your worth at the top. So what should you be doing to keep your brand healthy and fresh? Here are three tips:

1. Listen Up

Smart brands listen to what people want them to be, rather than telling them what they are. Gather data on your customers. Pay attention to market trends. And then respond quickly by taking action to make changes to your products, services, and brand image to keep your brand aligned with what your customers want and need.

2. Don’t Make This About You

In the early 2000s we heard a lot about companies being brand-centric—putting their brand at the center of everything they did. It sounded great compared to the previous approach of being sales-centric, but it was still too internally focused. As we’ve said time and again, branding isn’t about you, it’s about your customer. And that customer needs to be at the center of everything. Start with segmenting your audiences, build stories and messages unique to each segment, and then create meaningful and authentic touchpoints for each.

3. Take Baby Steps

Innovation doesn’t have to happen by leaps and bounds. In fact, you’ll discover you can learn a lot more if you try something small and learn from its failures and successes. Brand evolution can be as simple as testing small segmented campaigns, trying various content on different landing pages, or conducting qualitative interviews with people who love and hate your brand—you may be surprised how much you can learn from those with strong opinions. The real magic comes when you learn from your small tests, optimize and evolve your approach, and then try again.

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