Sometimes, there are inspiring stories of how a failing business sputtered back to life, and other times, a dying company becomes a cautionary tale.
Indeed, even a trillion-dollar business like Apple was once on the brink of bankruptcy until Steve Jobs was brought back on board to help the company bounce back. On the other hand, there are many other brands that did not have a similar creative personality to helm the ship, because of which it sunk into deep trouble.
That said, there are some lessons to learn here – avoid the mistakes made by others and follow the strategies of successful businesses. However, this does not mean you should copy every move that it took to resuscitate a dying brand. In fact, the key to good branding and marketing is to separate yourself from others.
Anyhow, here are a few essential tips and guidelines that will provide a much-needed jumpstart to help your company become a well-oiled machine. Follow these and create a brand that will take over the world.
How Do You Bring A Brand To Life?
1. Give Your Brand Personality
Think about Steve Job’s personal brand. He exemplified simplicity by donning an understated but classic outfit consisting of a turtleneck, a pair of jeans, and New Balance sneakers. In a way, the same simplified yet practical values were reflected by Apple.
However, you don’t necessarily have to dress the same way you portray a brand – God forbid, the business is related to animal costumes. Instead, take some time out and imagine your brand’s image in the form of a persona – a person, an animal, or a thing. What qualities does it have?
Perhaps you see a polished businessperson complete with a suit, tie, and a briefcase – their only goal is to be a leadership role model. Or maybe, you see a motherly figure – an empathetic caregiver that only wants the best for her family of clients. Similarly, some brands may identify better with a wolf – a mascot of playfulness, intelligence, but above all, devoted to family.
As an added tip, put together a list of these values and earnestly contemplate whether your target audience will be able to relate to it. Not only is this an excellent trust-building tool, but a hard copy of the personality traits forms a concrete base that everyone can use as a reference point.
All in all, this persona helps define your brand and maintain focus in the long run. That said, anytime a new idea or suggestion pops up during a brainstorming session – first consider whether it will support the brand’s identity.
2. Re-Invent Your Business
Any good company takes time to grow, and disproportionately high initial expenditure is not unheard of. In fact, striking gold too soon may lead to problems, such as lack of inventory or staff, which translates to sales loss.
At the same time, a successful entrepreneur should have the intuition to know when things are going downhill. As a rule of thumb, if you feel your passion is diminishing – this is possibly a sign to start over. In other words, you may have to re-create and re-invent each aspect to bring your brand to life.
While sometimes you may have to redefine your brand entirely, there are other ways to go about it, such as:
A. Logo Redesign
After all, it’s what gives customers the first impression and grabs their attention. In fact, many buyers go for a product from a well-established brand just for its logo, which may serve as a status symbol.
B. Rename Your Brand
A brand is not just a string of words or letters. Many times, a simple change in the brand name might be what you need to bring your brand to life. Although it does not have to spell out your fundamental business values literally, a creative brand name will create enough buzz among potential consumers to pique their interest.
Consider how the iconic Monster energy drink was first known as Hansen’s Natural – does the former name really reflect the caffeine-heavy and controversial nature of the beverage? And indeed, this profitable, world-known brand now raked in millions, leaving Hansen’s Natural far behind like a distant memory.
C. Different Packaging
In 2009, Tropicana decided that changing its packaging design would amplify its voice in the F&B space. Little did they know that the move would be met by a flood of disappointed comments from long-time customers and Twitter memes mocking the new design. Not to mention how the change incurred losses that ran into millions.
Needless to say, packaging plays an important role, and finding out what works for your brand will be a creative process. You may first want to take surveys and opinion polls asking people to reveal how they feel and think about the new design before proceeding with it.
D. Revise Pricing points
While you should never de-value your business – especially at its infancy, you may want to revise your pricing points to find out if that is where you are going wrong. Rather than completely slashing down prices in a desperate attempt, consider offering subscription plans, free samples with products, discounted bulk prices, and so on.
3. Know Your Customers
The digital space abounds with tools to help research trends around the world. That said, you may hire a digital marketing agency or use Google tools to figure out who is your target audience. This includes pertinent details, such as your target age group, how much they earn per month, where they live, their likes and dislikes, and so on.
Work towards fulfilling their demands, and begin advertising on all platforms – both online and offline. In fact, if you have a business, you may want to print an ad in the local papers. At the same time, consider offering limited promotional deals, attending networking events, being active on Facebook, and so on.
On the other hand, if your once-booming business is now in shambles, it is probably time to reconnect with loyal patrons of the past. People who helped build your business will likely feel obliged to come back if they feel valued. That said, ask their opinions on what they think went wrong and what you must do to deliver.
4. Know Your Competitors
As the saying goes, “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” That said, conducting prior research on your competitor’s mistakes and masterstrokes should provide a good idea of your next steps.
At the same time, tracking another brand’s moves will ensure that you don’t ape the same strategies and end up appearing as a phony.
Additionally, taking a leaf out of Apple’s playbook, there may come a time when a competing company can pull you out of the weeds, just as Microsoft did for Apple. Nevertheless, also be on the lookout for any partnership opportunities that bring real value to your brand.
5. Bring Your Brand Online
How often do we see our neighbourhood family businesses not do as well as they used to? Usually passed down through generations, the marketing strategies of such companies may not keep up with the fast-evolving demands of the new generation.
Or perhaps, it has nothing to do with the quality of products but the brand’s inability to reach the right people in a highly competitive market. That said, it is becoming increasingly important that businesses don’t depend on “old-school” advertising methods via print or television to get potential patrons to pay a visit.
Nowadays, digital marketing is all the rage – SEO, when done right, helps in bringing your audience closer than you can imagine. For this, you may want to invest in a digital marketing agency that provides all kinds of services, from SEO tools and keyword research to content marketing and social media management.
In fact, some may offer to build an official website to get you started. That said, an attractive website design with detailed information about your business, including the office’s updated address, is a must. However, be aware of digital marketing agencies that resort to unethical means that may reign in traffic but do not convert the hits into return on investment.
6. Social Media
When interacting with users through social media, remember that these are real people on the other end who want to feel connected to your brand. That said, the key to remaining in close contact with your consumers is consistency.
Not to mention how, in an instantly gratifying and fast-evolving digital economy, staying out of the limelight even for a day or two can cost you valuable traffic. So, connect with your audience with a daily post or daily content on popular social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.
One of the most extraordinary things about social media is that you don’t need to work from an office. Indeed, this highly adaptable form of marketing is a remote worker’s dream as you can express your brand’s message on the go – it’s convenient but effective.
What To Avoid
1. Lose Focus In Branding
Get your thinking cap on and create new packaging, logos, names, and personas– but know when to stop. At the end of the day, your primary focus should be on the people – and we are not just talking about the customers. Create a good working environment for your employees, find ways to improve user experience, and see the difference.
2. Making Empty Promises
A reliable brand that is worthy of the consumer’s trust stays authentic and delivers what it promises. So, don’t try to make yourself look good by putting up pretences. Even a single negative review may end up creating a domino effect through word-of-mouth, which eventually ruins the brand reputation.
3. Spreading Your Brand Thin
And we do not mean how Heinz spread themselves from being a ketchup to a mustard manufacturer. While traditional line extensions like these are acceptable, some companies tend to overextend themselves and lose their original lustre.
Consider how Yahoo went from a US $140 billion search engine to being sold for just US $5 billion in a matter of a decade after its failed attempts at expansion.
Bringing Your Brand To Life
Don’t be afraid of simplifying your brand – after all, most reliable and profitable companies do it. That said, be clear from the get-go on what the brand offers and ensure that you can deliver what you promise.
In a market where everything can be bought, it is easy to get pressured into swerving from what you initially set out to build. Not to mention how building a company is like building Rome – it takes more than a day.
Nevertheless, without any external influences to distract, you can develop a niche and know it like the back of your hand. And that’s all you really require to bring your brand to life and get it warmed up.
However, it is up to you to keep the motor running.