The day-to-day of running a business can so overshadow taking a look at the big picture that finding the right time to take a brand check may be now. It’s often difficult to assess if a brand is performing strongly or needs adjustment. Often, by the time we’re getting feedback internally and externally that our logo, name, tagline and color palette aren’t communicating as we’d like, making necessary changes is long overdue.
What does a brand mean?
Your brand is the overall impression customers have of your business. It reflects your logo and key messaging across printed materials, digital, packaging, signage, events—and even in spoken communication. Given its value in the minds of customers and your employees, your brand plays a critical role in the equity of your enterprise, your operations, talent acquisition and retention. Your brand also conveys your mission and exemplifies how the marketplace understands what you do—and why.
Five questions to determine your effectiveness
Unless there’s clear praise or complaint, your brand’s image may not be clear. Here are some quick questions to get a better sense of the perception others may have:
- Are our stakeholders often unclear about who we are and what we do, confusing our company with a competitor?
- Does our team often field comments that we look like we’re stuck in the past?
- Are our representatives explaining too often—either about our name or logo? (This can be in customer service, sales, hiring or partnership.)
- Do we have multiple logos or programs, each with a logo that doesn’t relate to our overall brand?
- Has our business experienced a major event such as a merger, acquisition or disruptive/transformative crisis that has changed our position in the market?
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, you might want to open a dialogue with your leadership, ownership or board.
How to earn consensus
Once you have determined that now may be the time to take a closer look at your brand, how do you achieve consensus on a change? The key is to discuss the brand relative to marketplace perception and company goals. Also, you need a tested process and vetted partners to assess your brand thoroughly at appropriate intervals.
When is a good time to invest resources?
A good rule of thumb is to audit your brand every five years, involving your management team, board and staff directly involved in communicating your brand. This process can be structured a variety of ways, but what’s most important is that everyone understands the process and has the opportunity for input along the way.
What are the outcomes?
There’s a range of outcomes possible for a brand reset. Minor change can result from simply re-distributing a brand standards document dictating the proper use of the branding components or developing/expanding brand standards for your existing brand. Other options include revising or redeveloping your brand altogether or developing secondary brands for products, programs or services.
As you plan your timeline, don’t forget that you can’t just turn on a new brand. It’s crucial for confidence in and understanding of the process as you sequentially roll out your audit findings and rebrand through leadership, board, staff, partners, vendors, volunteers, etc.
Whether or not you decide the time is right for standardization or a rebrand, the success and growth of your operations depend on understanding and talking about your brand on an ongoing basis. If you aren’t doing it, then who is?
David Wyatt is a director with Elizabeth Christian Public Relations.