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It’s a new year and a new (calendar) year for business. This means it’s a great time to revisit, refresh, reintroduce and/or revitalise your brand. Basically a heap of words that start with ‘re’ 😅.
So if you are a little bit unsure of where to start with your brand in 2022, this one is for you.
With that said, the first question I’ll ask you before you read on, is whether you believe there is a need to do anything with/for your brand at the present time?
If you don’t think there is you can press on with your day, but here’s the kicker, branding is an ever-evolving practice and there’s always room for improvement in business and brand building. So I suspect there’s some room for improvement in your brand to want to read this article since you opened it 😉
Still here? Great. Let’s press on then.
So to make this an actionable resource, to give you 6 things you can do or perhaps continue to do in 2022 that will help your brand create a greater impact in the short and long term. But I’ll say this as well, that if you’re reading this long after this was published, they are still great tips to implement at any time or even revisit at various times in your brand journey.
Here we go, starting with my top 3 first.
1. Assess what worked and what didn’t in 2021
In any brand strategy, doing some brand analysis that takes a dive into what’s working and what’s not is a quintessential first step. What might not have worked/what might not be working may point you in the direction of what could be improved or scrapped. While what has worked might lead you to do more of the same but with 10% more energy or develop a refreshed take on things to keep your brand feeling fresh and relevant.
Some things to look at:
What products were being sold more or less than others and does that come down to how you marketed them?
What content does your audience respond to most?
What drove the most traffic to your site/subject lines that lead to higher open rates of your newsletter/call-to-actions that lead to more clickthroughs?
Can you survey your customers on what they remember you for most or assess the words people use in your testimonials/reviews to reveal commonalities of what is most liked or disliked about your brand?
At what times did people buy from us most and where are they from?
By doing this kind of exercise it can dictate what actions you can make to take a great first step into the new year, as it may just give you the beneficial quantitative and qualitative data you need to back up your next move - especially if that next step is to shell out a fuckload on advertising and marketing your business.
For more on the brand strategy process and the steps you can make after this one, the next article in a fortnight is going to dive into brand strategy steps if you want to take this further for your brand.
2. What will your brand be most known for in 2022?
This is a hard one to pick and it could be any part of the experience your consumers have with your brand, which makes it tricky. But if you do follow through with a brand strategy or a brand identity process with me, I typically work with businesses to identify what they can be known for most beyond the service(s) or product(s) they offer. So what will your brand be most known for in 2022? Because that’ll be the space you need to occupy in your consumer's minds with a simple form of communication or experience that makes it easy to remember (and want to remember it).
Some ideas for you:
Could you be known for you or your team showing up consistently on your socials in Instagram stories, DMs, tweets on Twitter with live updates, instant messaging replies on your Facebook page or website? This would mean you'd be known for ‘always available’ customer service & engagement, which would be a big plus for your brand as they'll know they can rely on you when needed.
Is it the brand experience your customer has when they receive a package from you? Could it have custom branded packaging like tissue paper? Could it be a hand-written thank you card or a little extra gift? Maybe even a voucher for their next purchase or an invitation for an upcoming event you’re holding? There is a great opportunity to be known for these experiences and they'll be leaps and bounds above the typical boring Amazon or eBay package delivery we're all used to.
And to get on the front foot early, if you’re the type of business that can do this, connect with your existing customers/consumers directly to wish them well in the new year - either via direct email, posted letters, social media DMs and even comments on their own content.
3. Showing your face(s)
I talk about this one a lot, especially in your online presence. The amount of businesses I see (and even fellow creatives) who don’t share anything about themselves or their team on their website or social platforms is perplexing. And if you think it's a way to make yourself look bigger than you really are, I'm here to tell you that if you're a small team of 10 people or less, it's to your advantage for many businesses, as it really can be a competitive edge.
Back to my point.
So especially on social media, this is important, because there’s one keyword in the term ‘social media’ if you can guess what it is. It starts with ’s’. Being "social" and allowing your consumers to connect with you relies on those people being able to connect with humans (you) and not a faceless brand (as you might be hiding behind your logo - don't worry, I've done it too). So it's is a great opportunity to miss if you don’t give it a go. Additionally, the way I see it, putting a face to the name of your brand and sharing who you/your team are can do two things:
Your consumers know who they’re going to be dealing with first before or even after buying. This can also be a plus for you/your team when engaging with customers as that human connection allows for greater empathy when dealing with a tricky situation. As might even lead to a less aggravated customer or make them feel heard when they know who they’re dealing with, rather than that customer turning into a keyboard warrior if they feel like they’re dealing with a faceless brand that doesn’t care.
Doing this may even become a positive thing you’re known/remembered for, as per my second tip.
So consider giving these a go:
Have team photos or individual profiles of you and your team on your site’s about page. It might mean a photoshoot needs to happen or it could be a selfie shot on an iPhone - it comes down to the impression you want to convey on your site.
Introduce yourself/your team in a social media post with a photo or video. Even doing re-introductions at the start of a new year is a great idea to kick off 2022 by sharing a little insight into who you are accompanied by a photo.
4. Are you revealing your location
Similar to tip 3, I also see some businesses or even personal brands not making it clear where they are based. It doesn’t need to be your home address or even a suburb. It can be a general region. For example, I say I’m based in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia.
I can hear you saying “but I’m a remote business”. I hear that, but so am I and there are advantages to it, no matter where you are in the world. Of course, this may not be appropriate for every business but at least give the following points some consideration:
Ideal clients or customers might also be local (either their business or where they live) and that opens an opportunity for you as it’s a connection point of commonality with those people. Especially in Australia at the moment, where shopping local is becoming more sought after given delivery time blowouts and product shortages. It may even give you an upper hand from an added level of trust right off the bat compared to working with a foreign or non-local business, just because you’re a fellow local.
Additionally, part of your brand and the way you market it comes down to the traditional 4 P’s Marketing Mix (coined by Kotler & McCarthy). One of those P’s is ‘Placement’, which includes proximity to the consumer to be able to purchase and also reducing any friction by being easily available/accessible.
5. Consistency in your brand image
This isn’t a hard one but honestly, if you take stock on all your touchpoints, assess whether or not you’re keeping the following 3 things consistent. As it will make an impact on your brand and business:
Keep your colours simple and use them like they’re going out of fashion - seriously, until you and your consumers can’t stop seeing those colours when they shut their eyes.
Use 1-2 fonts max and a consistent hierarchy of your text. This might be something your designer needs to take care of, but if you get this right it also helps your consumers engage your written communication easier as they know what to expect in similar reading patterns based on your layout of messaging.
Try and have the same image style across your photos or illustrations or icons/graphics. This can help convey a consistent feel/emotion and even help enhance your tone of voice when used in parallel to your brand messaging.
Other ways this can make a significant impact if you get it right:
Make your life a little easier by not making things up as you go, and
It will make it easier for consumers to recognise you.
Not to mention you’ll look far more professional if that’s what you’re hoping for when consumers see the same look on touchpoints like your website, your signage, your ads, your content and your packaging.
6. Consider content marketing instead of OR in addition to advertising
We’re all consuming more and more content and now it’s getting harder to gain the attention of consumers. But think about it as if you’re someone’s favourite TV show. We tune in day after day or week after week for more episodes to watch. Over time developing an attachment to that show. I don’t see it any different when it comes to content marketing as an opportunity to engage with our consumers/audience - I mean, that’s exactly what I’m doing here and you’re reading this post.
While paid advertising can get your name out there and can lead to impressive ROIs, consider how you’re going to keep them around. As it can take up to 7 impressions for a consumer to decide to make a purchase in the first place and we all want repeat business too.
What impact this can have on your brand:
So instead of serving up and paying for 7 ad impressions, your ads could be geared to social media follows or subscriptions to your email list to bring them into your organic content funnel. That way your content can be created to add more value in return for their engagement and in turn encourage their decision to choose you as you direct them into your sales funnel.
Showing up with content can also improve your visibility which leads to consumers keeping you top of mind when you show up consistently, either for first time buyers or more importantly for repeat business or even referrals.
Some examples of the content you could start creating today:
How-to videos of your process to give an insight into the complexity/detail of your work. Which can additionally increase the appreciation and perceived value in what it is you do.
Customer testimonials that are in video form or even podcast interviews. This is a great way for new customers to hear it from the horse's mouth rather than your own, as they may be more likely to trust the word of others that have experienced your offering than you simply telling them why you’re worth it.
Now I could go on and on with other things you could do. But I think I’ve also crammed a heap of tips within the 6 main tips you’ve read through.
So from here, it comes down to what you’re going to do next. This is why I’d recommend setting aside a couple of hours one night to get the things you think could be beneficial for your brand down on paper and set out a plan for how you can implement those actions.
This may mean the next steps you take from here might be easy/small actions you can do right away. While some might require some extra planning to make it a consistent effort throughout the year. As we want them to become hallmarks for our brand to be known for more than what sell.
Happy New Year and all the best in 2022!