As Steve Forbes once said, “Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business.” It’s a reflection of your business’s mission and values. It drives consumer loyalty forward when a product and/or service has reached the edge of its persuasiveness.
To devalue brand strategy and put it on autopilot is to assume that the market, consumers, and every other external factor surrounding your business’s ability to function is constant and unchanging. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Just as society ebbs, flows, and evolves with the passing of time, so should your brand. And what’s more, the alignment of your brand with company goals should be realized across company.
As a reflection of people and their roles as consumers, brands should ask themselves regularly, “Are we serving the needs of our audience and are the ways in which we speak to them, a reflection of that?” Here are three reasons why a brand should be aligned within a company annually, if not more frequently.
New Times, New Channels
There is nothing more constant than the passing of time. Without falter, the days, months, years roll on and with them come a variety of new trends, technologies, expectations, etc. to become aware of. What it means to stay on top as a brand in the marketing efforts they pursue one day can become totally different the next.
Take the advent of social media for example. As little as five years ago, you could probably make it through a marketing meeting without excessive concern over Instagram influencers and now, it’s difficult to produce marketing photo assets without a filter. The channels that may have once made sense for your brand to represent itself on in times past may not make sense for it anymore.
Not acknowledging the use of strategies that have become irrelevant leaves your brand at risk of becoming irrelevant itself. On the other side of things, thoughtlessly jumping into every new channel because it exists, without reflection on how it may coincide with existing avenues and brand relevance leaves it at risk of inefficiency. Building out a cohesive strategy yearly that takes into account relevant strategies that remain successful along with new opportunities worth exploring ensures resources become distributed wisely.
New Times, New People
At the heart of your brand are the consumers—the people that see themselves and the lifestyle they hope to embody reflected in the use of your product and/or service. The messaging behind what drives them to purchase should always be a reflection of what your brand stands for at its core. The pieces that should differ are how that message is being delivered and why it should still matter to them.
As mentioned above, new channels arise regularly for marketers to take advantage of. And when they do, they affect the ways in which consumers consume. Changes in the world of television with the introduction of services like Netflix, Hulu, DVR, etc. mean commercials as they once were are no longer the norm. Attention spans have shortened, streams are saturated with content, and brands have had to develop strategies to work around this.
Along a similar vein, what once may have been important to a certain audience of individuals may no longer be the case as events in society take place. For example, if you’re a university (a brand within the higher education system respectively), the recruitment messaging and reasoning to potential students has most likely had to evolve with the rise of education options like bootcamps, online programs, MOOCs and even YouTube. Supply and demand—if your brand isn’t aligning itself with what matters to its audience at any given point in time, your audience will find another one that is.
New Times, Same Silo
Taking a step inward, it’s important to acknowledge the natural workplace mentality that can ease into place within a company. The silo effect within an organization is easy to fall into—it’s a mindset wherein employees isolate themselves and their initiatives apart from the group because they haven’t been able to realize those of other groups/departments. This can lead to a rather ineffective and irregular pursuit of brand and company goals.
As much as it is a reflection of the consumer, a brand should also be a reflection of those who work behind-the-scenes to shape it. Everyone within a company, regardless of department should have a clear understanding of what the brand represents at any given point in time. Conducting regular strategy meetings wherein individuals across departments and within the marketing department itself can group up and align efforts, makes for a better developed and more cohesive brand all around.
Change is inevitable and if your brand isn’t consistently aligning its own messaging goals with those of its consumers, messaging channels, or staff, there is likely to be upset down the road. If you’re a business looking to better develop your brand strategy in Chicago or on the hunt for a branding agency with a desire to inspire, contact Mabbly today!