Written by: Janice Rudkowski
Ahhhh…Spring. It’s not just the time of the year to tend to your bulging closets and budding gardens. Spring is the perfect time of the year to tend to your brand!
A Spring brand tune-up is akin to bringing in your bike or car for a tune up. It basically involves cleaning, checking, lubing and a few quick fixes. Let’s take the bike example (much more interesting than cars!). Getting your bike ready to ride again after hibernating in a garage, basement or front porch for the winter involves a few basic steps: thoroughly cleaning your bike first (especially the chain and drivetrain!), then lubing the chain, checking and adjusting brakes and finally checking the tire pressure. Simple? Actually, I hear that it is actually a fairly straight forward process to do a semi-annual bike tune up since a trained or DIY bike technician can likely do it in under an hour.
But, imagine the bike that has been ridden for years, has never been taken care of not to mention never even seeing the inside of a bike shop? It probably has years of rust and dirt that have accumulated in its gears, links and cables – yuck! The brakes are shot and the tires have seen better days. Now, this tune-up will take much longer than an hour and it may even result in having to buy replacement parts making this a much bigger investment than the $50 spring tune-up special at your local bike shop.
Now, let’s consider your brand. How often do you really think about its health? Doing the daily work is just scratching the surface of a brand; you must consider the longer-term health of your brand. Here’s a quick and easy 4-step Spring brand tune-up that any marketer can do in a day’s work. (Note: if this exercise takes you more than a day then unfortunately you may need to consider investing in some replacement brand parts.)
You may or may not have hoards of papers or reports stacked on your desk (if you do this would be a good time to sort, organize and purge!) in our digital age, but I guarantee your hard drive,
shared drive and inbox are overflowing with information, reports and messages that you’ve never referred to and likely will never need again. It’s impossible to move onto the next phase until
you’ve gotten your brand documents and assets in order. File key documents in a logical fashion (by year and by project name would be a good start). Archive anything that’s more than 3 years old.
In brand terms, anything older than 3 years is considered ancient history.
Now that you’ve sorted, organized, purged and filed your last three years’ worth of brand documents and assets – it’s time to check in with your brand. Review your stats (market share, social media impact, sales volume, satisfaction scores, leads…) and look for trends. If you continually just compare your brand measures against the previous year or quarter, you won’t see real trends. Look for changes, spikes, ups, downs, flats…whatever it is…notice the changes and make a plan to find out why – good or bad – your brand experienced a change. What your brand responds to will bring insights for future growth opportunities.
Brand maintenance is an important part of brand health. And, this means paying special attention to the people behind the brand – your agency, suppliers, contractors, employees, customers,
partners, cross –functional team members. It’s all of the people that have contributed in one way or another to your brand in the past year. Without these people offering ideas, executing plans,
designing assets, writing copy or buying your product your brand would not have a life. So, take some time to thank, recognize and acknowledge your direct and indirect brand contributors to
ensure your brand continues to operate smoothly.
Opportunity and growth awaits every brand. The process of cleaning, checking and lubing likely brought some issues (good and bad) to the surface. Don’t just put them on your “parking lot” list. Put these issues on your priority list now – don’t wait for the next planning cycle. Good brand planning is about making necessary adjustments throughout the year. If you or your team are working on initiatives that aren’t addressing these big issues then try to re-prioritize so that you focus your resources and energy on projects that will really make an impact on your brand and its success.
With all of this spring cleaning happening, it will be exciting to watch the vibrant colours of Spring unfold in the months to come. Here’s to a healthy and happy brand. And, by the way, Happy Spring!
DIY Bike Repair Shop in Toronto: http://bikesauce.org/
Bike Tune Up Tips by Sydney at Bike Sauce: http://vimeo.com/63961262