Preserve your brand

In today’s economic climate, many brands are looking for any tactic to boost sales and secure brand loyalty. In some cases, a brand revitalization seems like the magic solution. Companies may feel the need to “jazz up” their brand by tweaking the logo and adding a  new tagline.

Unfortunately, this is like turning up the radio to hide the clanks coming from your engine. There must be fundamental changes, not just cosmetic, and everyone must believe in the changes from top to bottom. If you don’t believe in the core of your brand, why should your customer? Take the following points into consideration when revitalizing your brand:

Step 1: Uncover your brand’s true differentiating position.
Who are you, to whom and why? What are the core attributes that define your brand and set you apart? This position must stand the test of time, not be a temporary fix. Look at where you’ve been and where you want to go. Perhaps your message is no longer hitting home with stakeholders.

You can change logos and blast beautiful ads as much as you want, but if the message doesn’t ring true, you’ve wasted an opportunity to build loyalty. Perception is truly reality. Your brand is the collective perceptions of your employees, investors, customers and general public across all touch points, from the internal memo to the corporate website.

Step 2: Understand what your brand means to your target audiences.
Once you’ve re-established your core brand position, you must effectively communicate those points to your stakeholders – both internal and external.

Get some outside perspective here. The strongest brands are built with input from all disciplines. Engage your internal support staff and consider a customer focus group. Your branded communications must be meaningful to each audience.

Stay true to your brand’s personality and BE CONSISTENT. If you are a conservative financial institution, don’t start a direct mail campaign full of slang and racy images to reach a young demographic. By understanding what your brand means to each audience, you can prioritize and tailor your messages while staying true to your brand.

Step 3: Create a powerful brand identity that expresses your personality and position.
Here’s where the fun happens. Your brand identity is more than a logo. It’s the collective look and feel of your brand. It’s complementary color palettes, photography, fonts, copy tone, usage guidelines and more.

You don’t have to design every ad or brochure to look exactly the same, but the look and feel needs to be consistent. Your audience is bombarded with messages 24 hours a day, so you need to cut through the clutter with instantly recognizable, impactful materials.

Step 4: Spread the word and keep engaging!
In many cases, there are multiple departments creating sales or communication materials, or perhaps salespeople customizing presentations on the fly. Arm these people with the tools they need to create unique yet highly branded pieces. Develop usage guidelines for those writing copy and graphic standards for anyone designing collateral.

It may also be wise to set up a streamlined approval process so employees don’t lose patience and slip back into old habits. Brand policing can start with something as simple as a central e-mail address to send materials to – just be sure you have the resources to quickly approve or provide edits.

Most importantly, keep communicating. Tell and re-tell your brand story so employees at all levels are able to represent your brand consistently. Your employees can be one of the most credible sources for W.O.M. advertising if they are educated on your organization’s priority messages.