Rethinking Your Brand Strategy? 3 Questions to Ask First (and 3 Easy Makeover Solutions)
Let me ask you a question.
When you hear the word “brand,” what do you think it means?
Sure, these all play a part in branding.
But, in fact, branding is much more than just these items.
I like to say branding is what people think, feel and expect whenever they interact with your company.
Branding is an overarching image.
It’s ingrained in everything you do—your operations, your message, all your touch points and your marketing.
It’s the DNA of the company.
When a company is thinking of rebranding itself, it can feel quite overwhelming.
So before you dive deep into the world of rebranding and hiring a branding strategist, it’s important to ask three questions first to determine where your brand currently stands.
Based on your answers, you can take a few simple steps to start bringing your brand into alignment or you can hire a branding consultant.
3 Questions to Ask Before a Major Rebranding
#1. Why do we think we need to rebrand our company?
Sometimes in business, there are buzzwords that come up or certain initiatives that are the next top thing in management. If you’re working on your business and see that branding is coming up a lot in articles or you’re reading about other companies that have gone through rebranding, it might make you think, “Oh, that’s something we need to do too.”
But you need to look beyond that and ask some additional questions about why you think you need to work on your brand.
#2. Are customers confused about our offerings?
If you’re talking to a customer about what products or services you offer and the person says, “I didn’t know that you did that” or customers aren’t sure they’re the right fit for your brand—they don’t think that you serve them—that’s a sure sign your brand is not focused on a specific target or niche and needs work.
#3. Are we competing on price?
One of the benefits of having a strong brand is that you can charge a premium for your products and services. If you find that your branding is unclear, you appear as just another commodity in the marketplace, and the only way to attract new business is to reduce prices, have loss leaders or use coupons, then those are signs that your brand is probably in trouble.
One way to start correcting this situation is to look at your competitive marketplace—who’s beating you on price? Look at the products and services they’re offering and find ways that you can differentiate your offerings or your customer experience so that you can start to move up the chain to a more premium, differentiated brand.
What if your organization isn’t ready to undergo a major rebranding effort?
What if you don’t want to bring in a consultant or branding firm just yet?
What can you do to start aligning your brand with your offerings with minimal resources?
In this case, you can do three simple things to give your brand a face-lift.
1. Conduct your own brand evaluation
Part of branding is reflected in what I call your “touch points.” A touch point is any way a customer or a potential customer interacts with you. See the first photo in this post for a list.
Take a look at all your touch points—especially anything online—website, Twitter, Facebook, etc. See if everything is consistent across all platforms. Also check whether they look different from your competitive landscape or you blend in with everybody else online.
2. Discover what customers are saying about you
When we build a brand, we’re putting an image out to the marketplace. That image is reflected to us by customer feedback. See whether what you think you’re projecting is what customers think, feel and expect.
Check reviews or comment sections such as Yelp or Google Reviews, TripAdvisor or Urbanspoon (if you’re a restaurant), or places that are relevant to your business.
If part of your brand is the best customer service and you’re reading lots of customer reviews that say it’s the worst experience they’ve ever had, then something is not right with your brand.
3. Take a random sampling of what employees think your brand means
Your employees are your brand ambassadors, so they need to live and breathe your brand. They need to understand what your brand is. Here’s how to find out whether employees reflect your brand.
Take a random sampling of your employees and ask them whether they can tell you what the company brand stands for. Ask them to give it to you in one or two sentences.
If they can’t understand what the brand is (or what you would like it to be), then you probably have room for improvement of your brand.
Your brand is something that you constantly need to monitor, protect and revamp if necessary.
I think that if you have an inkling that something might be off with your brand, there are steps that you can certainly take on your own to see whether the brand is on track or needs some improvement. Then, after doing some investigation on your own, it might be time to call in a professional.
It is much easier to have somebody from the outside help you through the rebranding process, because an outsider not only specializes in rebranding but also lets you keep your business moving ahead.