I was wading through the banality of LinkedIn the other day, when an especially unhelpful directive caught my eye. It said:
“If you can see your brand is lacking, it’s time for a refresh.”
It seems entirely reasonable for a business owner, who is not a branding expert, to have three questions in reply:
How do I see that?
What does “lacking” mean?
What does “refresh” mean?
So I thought I would help by outlining some practical questions you can ask yourself, to help you analyse the state of your own brand and diagnose where to begin improvements.
Question 1: What’s changed?
You need to answer this question in 3 ways, over the time period your current branding has existed
What’s changed about us?
What’s changed about our market?
What’s changed in society?
Gather as much information and research as you can. Contradictions and inconsistencies are good, debate them, prioritise them, be aware they exist!
Question 2: What do we seem like?
What do people think our purpose is?
What do people, who haven’t tried us, perceive our value is?
What did people, who have tried us, experience?
You can’t answer these for yourself, you’d just be guessing. Go ask people with various levels of knowledge about you, from customers to people who know nothing. Find the truth. Listen, even if it’s not what you want to hear. You need to know how they feel, they can’t be wrong, but you need to determine which feelings about you are important, in relation to the answers to Q1.
Diagnose what needs changing
Once you have some answers to what’s changed and how you’re coming across to people, it becomes much easier to correlate where the issues are and how to address them. This might be the point where you need the help of someone like us, as a fresh pair of eyes, but you’re looking to establish a sense of the following, from the data you’ve collected.
A) People have the wrong idea about what we do
B) People have the right idea, but can’t see why to use us, rather than a competitor
C) People are trying us at a decent rate, but don’t fall in love with us
Understand your options, depending on the issue
You might have issues in some, none or all of A, B, C, above.
If the issue is A, you have a problem defining your proposition: here’s more on how to tackle that stage
If the issue is B you have a problem with creating the right perception, here’s what you should be thinking about
If the issue is C, you have a problem with building the right opinions, here’s how that process works
Hopefully once you’ve understood these stages and how they relate to your marketing tactics and assets, you’ll be able to have a better conversation with whomever helps you creatively, whether that’s a designer, a marketing strategist or a copywriter. And if you think it might be us, well, we’d be delighted to have that conversation with you.