Brand Health Check
Let’s start with your brand.
When you think of your brand, you might think of its name and slogan. You’ll look at your great logo and fantastic design. You might think about the product or service your brand represents. But your brand is so much more than this.
Your brand is a combination of three key aspects:
Your purpose – the reason why you exist
Your positioning – where you exist in your audience’s mind
Your perception – the way your audience sees you act
These three keys to your brand fit together to make your brand a powerful asset. A healthy and robust brand will help you win new customers, delight your existing ones and make sure you can thrive.
When you think of your positioning and your perception, you have to remember what is important here – your audience. What’s written in your brand manual doesn’t matter unless your audience has had the opportunity to witness and grow to appreciate it themselves.
As brand specialists, we’ll often find ourselves in a room, creating a ‘big idea’ for a brand. But this brilliant idea leads to nothing unless it is consistently communicated and executed with great gusto.
That is why we focus entirely on brand lifespan. Maintaining and developing a brand is more important than creating a brand. Without consistent amplification of your brand message, your big ideas won’t reach your audience, and if they do, they won’t stay long enough to resonate.
Consistent amplification? But my audience loves my brand…
Establishing your brand and creating a great first impression is a vital first step in your business communication. But it can’t stop there. Your brand has to evolve. That is not to say the fundamentals must change, your brand should stay true to its purpose, but it also must remain relevant.
The most successful brands consider their audiences and understand that they might change over time. They also realise something we all try to pretend won’t happen – that their customers won’t necessarily always love their brand.
As a brand team, we like to think that once we have won a customer’s heart, they will always be loyal, and our brand will occupy a place in their lives. This is certainly not the case.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced dramatic changes on the way audiences interact with brands and how brands need to interact with their audiences. We’ve witnessed disruption at a pace that’s never been seen before. With limitless information, your audience are only one step away from choosing an alternative
It is now more important to develop the right communication strategy. A brand must continuously reinforce the idea of their purpose, perception and positioning to their audience. With the right and consistent communication you will develop new and sustain long-lasting relationships with your audience.
If you are a B2B company, you will almost certainly know of Hubspot. Hubspot has built a brand that, despite a pandemic, has managed to outperform earnings forecasts and increased subscription revenue by 36% in the final quarter of 2020.
Hubspot has stayed true to its purpose since 2005 – that inbound marketing is the key to success. Over the years, they have created systems and software to help their customers with their inbound marketing. What sets them apart from their competition is that they continuously amplify their purpose, perception and positioning to their audience.
Consistent communication is key for Hubspot, and their campaigns focus upon educating their audience not just about their purpose of inbound marketing, but also how to achieve better results. This creates and reinforces the audience perception that Hubspot is the expert solution for inbound marketing. Hubspot’s purpose, positioning and perception is clear to all of their audience, it is no surprise they are forecasting revenues of $1.17 billion for 2021.
In the consumer goods space, Lucozade is the perfect example. They consistently amplify the message of energy, reminding audiences of their purpose, that their soft drink will give them the energy boost they need to perform. Alongside this communication, they intersect with limited edition campaigns to work on other vital metrics affecting their audiences. Their most recent campaign Lucozade ‘Find Your Flow’, seeks to position the brand as an ‘ally’ for busy people. It reflects an understanding that their brand positioning must change in response to changing times and attitudes.
Lucozade have shifted their brand perception many times since they first came to market in 1927 as an energy drink for the sick. They have been perceived almost synonymously with medicine and recovery. To energy for exercise and now as consumer patterns change Lucozade is messaging to shift perception towards energy for your daily life flow.
Energy has remained at the heart of Lucozades purpose. But with the right communication strategy and amplification they continue to position themselves, remaining relevant almost 100 years since the first bottle was sold.
Both Hubspot and Lucozade show that to succeed, you not only have to understand your audience, but you also have to stay present in their lives.
Think of this like an MOT for your brand
Budgets are not endless, and market sentiment is continually shifting, so undertaking a vast project to align your brand is not possible or advisable. However, to ensure you are in tune, relevant, and lifespan orientated, it is essential that you take stock of where you are to guide where you are heading.
Rather than a huge project, we recommend you take a brand health check twice a year. Think of it as an MOT. With the world changing daily, it makes sure that the engine behind your brand is running smoothly. You will be aware of how social, cultural, and environmental factors influence your brand’s perception.
A brand health check should focus on the perception rather than the manual – you want to be able to have a view that allows you to provide consistent amplification on the following key areas:
1. Industry context
Make sure you are aware of any significant shifts in your category or sector. Is your performance in line with industry growth?
2. Positioning within the market
What are others in the market doing? How do you sit in your audience’s minds? How do your competitors compare in your audience’s mind?
What internal and external factors exist that are detracting you from building and growing your brand?
How to lead your brand forward? What are the thoughts about the future? What changes and considerations do you need to make to develop?
Where do we see shifts or movements happening? What are the environmental, cultural, behavioural and ethical considerations you need to consider to keep your brand relevant?
What are other brands doing in different categories and sectors that you can learn from and use to inspire your actions?
Bring in the experts (us)
Asking the right questions is key to connecting the right dots. And relying on brand experts to help you get to your consistent amplification score is essential. We often hear the nuances of thinking within what you are saying and can bring it to life.
An external perspective is always useful, and without an endless consumer research budget, use the expertise of brand experts to give your brand the health check it deserves. You’ll find the guiding principles you need to help you move forward and consistently amplify your brand in the hearts and minds of your audience.