Your brand image is the personality of your business. It’s the central identity and ethos that customers and prospects connect with, which is essential if you want to form the types of relationships that stand the test of time.
But your brand is not static. It must evolve over time, meet customer needs and exceed expectations as those needs and expectations evolve. If not, well, you might be heading for a problem. Outdated branding won’t resonate with your target audience, making it harder to attract customers and grow.
So how do you ensure your brand is ready for the future? Let’s take a look at some key points to focus on.
Revolution v Evolution – Choosing the path for your brand
Before you can prepare for where you want to be, you need to know where you are. This is where a brand review comes in. If you haven’t had a formal review of your brand in the last three to five years, you’re essentially flying blind – you have no idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Carrying out a brand review means collecting all the key points of your branding and evaluating them. Logos, color palettes, fonts, packaging, printed materials, landing pages, digital images, web content formats and layouts: all of these need to be gathered and analyzed. Do they match and support your corporate identity? Are they eliciting the right kind of reaction from your audience?
Get quantitative and qualitative feedback from your customers and other users. Survey what customers think of your brand’s visual presentation and tone, and measure conversion data to find out how these elements drive revenue and growth.
All of this information will help you decide if you want revolutionize Where evolve your brand image. If you decide to keep your current brand designs and expand on them, that’s brand evolution. If you decide everything needs a complete overhaul from the ground up, that’s the revolution.
Identify and reinforce core values
Your business should be based on three to five core values - the central principles that who you are and What You are everything. For example, you might decide to make inclusivity and diversity, support for the local community, and commitment to customer service central to your business identity.
These core values impact every aspect of your business, so everyone on your team should know what they are immediately. If your team members can’t recite your core values, how can you expect them to engage and own those values? This disconnect will hurt your brand initiatives as you move forward.
So what are you doing? Well, first you need to identify and assess these values, understand what you need to improve and what you need to change within your brand image. Remember that these core values not only inform your brand, but your entire organization as it develops, so you need to make sure you’re focusing on the right things. Then you need to communicate these values to your team so that these core principles also inform their actions.
Align brand messages to points of difference
While branding is definitely about getting your business noticed in the market, it has to do a little more than that. It should also demonstrate what differentiates you from your competitors and the unique advantage you offer your customers. Basically, your messaging should align with the key points of difference as your brand grows in the future.
The easiest way to do this is to focus on a problem/solution dynamic. Identify what your audience expects from you and the issues they need to overcome. Then, develop solutions that perfectly meet these requirements.
Of course, developing these solutions is only part of the battle. You should always make sure your audience is fully aware of What you can do and How? ‘Or’ What you can do it. Building your future brand message around a problem/solution dynamic supports this, helping your prospects visualize how your business fits their specific situation.
Develop a formal content strategy
Many companies feel the pressure to post content frequently, and so they get to work, churning out articles and pieces of content of varying quality as often as they can. But this kind of scattered approach will hinder your brand rather than help it, and a more formal strategy is needed to get the most out of the content.
To get started, you’ll need to rate every piece of content you post. Does it meet Google’s EAT guidelines of Expertise, Authority and Reliability? Is it optimized for search? Does it fit into a clearly defined acquisition or development funnel? And last, but not least, does this match your problem/solution and your points of difference?
You will also need a content calendar.
Maybe you have seasonal products and services you want to promote – make sure your content sparks interest in these seasonal offers ahead of time. Perhaps you want to publish a series of articles that demonstrate your expertise in this area, gaining all the high-value SEO benefits that come with it – plan this carefully so that each piece feeds into the next.
Also, don’t forget the calls to action. Decide what action you want your audience to take after browsing your content and create CTAs that motivate them.
Remember that your content will be the first point of contact between many of your users and your business. For other users, your content is the continuation of their journey – a familiarization process that is essential for building long-term relationships. Either way, your branding should be front and center in every article you post, reinforcing your company’s identity.
Updating your website experience
The experience you provide on your website is key to your brand image. As much as 88% of consumers say they won’t come back to a company if they have a bad experience on the website, so you need to make sure you’re getting the design right.
If you haven’t audited your website’s performance in a while, now is the time to do it. Review your analytics for metrics like cart abandonment, page bounce rates, customer churn, and user journeys to product pages. Analyze the loading speed, interactivity and stability of your pages, three factors that contribute to the Basic Web Vitals. Reach out to your users for qualitative feedback on their experience.
Customers expect more today than ten years ago. They will no longer put up with slow page load times and they want to be able to connect with help whenever they need it via chat tools and support bots. While the visual branding of your website is important, the experience is also key – your audience will associate that experience with your business, and so it will be the cornerstone of your brand going forward.
Prepare for branding success
Perhaps you noticed some common themes here – the themes of direction and development. Your brand image should move in a definite direction, a direction that supports you and your customers as you achieve common goals. It must also develop and grow over time to adapt to changes in the industry landscape and the expectations of your customers. With a solid foundation of preparation, the next steps for your brand will become clearer.
Written by Ryan Jenkins.
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