6 Steps to Future Proof Your Brand Launch

Jul 16th, 2020 Marketing

As an agency, it’s not uncommon for us to lead our clients through a brand refresh. In the beginning, it’s new and exciting. It often inspires momentum for our partners, but we never want to see that enthusiasm fizzle. 

How do you ensure that your brand refresh will withstand the test of time? 

While there is no such thing as a crystal ball foretelling marketing futures, with some proper planning and regular tune-ups, companies can set themselves up for success. Here are some guiding principles to keep in mind if you’re contemplating refreshing your brand, or if you know you’ve strayed from the brand path you intended to travel. 

1. Set a recurring date. 

To ensure that your brand work doesn’t become a ‘set it and forget it’ kind of thing, it has to be prioritized. There’s never a good time to step away from your day to day responsibilities to tend to the brand; however, every month that passes you’re either creating marketing return or creating marketing debt. To avoid the latter and to optimize the former, it’s best to set aside one to two days each year to do a brand deep dive so you can stay the course. Think of it like an anniversary: it’s going to sneak up on you quickly and if you aren’t prepared for it or don’t acknowledge it, you’ll be out in the cold. 

2. Read your brand documentation. 

:: AHEM :: Remember where that file is? 

  • When you read through your brand guidelines, do they hold up? Or, are you getting held up on something? 
  • Are you still in alignment with your mission, vision, voice, values, and audience? 
  • Has anything changed? Has your focus shifted? 

After revisiting the foundational elements of your brand architecture, confirm that the tone of your brand is descriptive and not prescriptive. 

Pro tip: If you’re reaching too far to fulfill the brand promise or your brand voice doesn’t feel like your own, it could be because someone else told you who you should be, which can inhibit how you successfully define who you are. 

At this point in the assessment, you should get a sense of how you’re stacking up and how much work is in front of you. If there are core directional gaps in your brand, it’s advisable to revisit a brand development process. If you’ve concluded that these things are still intact, then it’s time to press onward and take a closer look at execution. 

3. Take inventory. 

First, you’ll want to think like your prospects and revisit your touchpoints. Remember, every touchpoint is an opportunity. It’s not uncommon for people to get stuck in their own views. Strip away the context and knowledge that you have and go through the possible connection points that a novice consumer might have. 

  • Is your use of design and messaging as clear as it could be? Or, have you taken some creative liberties a smidge too far? 
  • Is everything of consistent quality across the board? Are you making the grade or are you just getting by? Be honest. 

Here’s a starting punch list: 

  • Website 
  • Social Media 
  • Email 
  • Advertising 
  • Phone/voice mail 
  • Automated Replies
  • Invoicing 
  • Proposals 
  • Marketing Assets like presentations and sales sheets 

Next, revisit your game plan. 

  • Did you have a content calendar from the start? Cross-reference what you executed with what wasn’t. Identify why these things weren’t accomplished. It’s important to understand why you didn’t do the things that you said you would. What got in the way or, what changed that it was no longer needed? 
  • Did you try something new? What did you do that you hadn’t planned on? Did a concept, season, event, innovation, or inspiration take you in a different direction? Is that applicable for the future? Consider the conditions for change. 

4. Ask. 

Your audience, or intended audience, is a critical component in all of this. The translation is key. If what you’re intending to do or say isn’t landing, wouldn’t you like to know for sure and not assume? Ask your audience. Ask your customer base. Phone calls, quick emails that are easy to return and fast social polls are a great way to keep the pulse on how effective your brand strategy is. 

5. Make an assessment.

First, evaluate your approach to brand management and marketing. 

  • Do you have the resources you need? 
  • Were you actively engaged throughout the year? Or, do you need to modify planning to be more attune? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 
  • How easy is it to access data? Do you have enough information available to make good decisions? 

Then, pay attention to the data that you have available. Data is meant to be USED. 

  • Take a look at engagement. Is it where you want it to be? 
  • What types of pages and content are performing well? 
  • What types of pages and content aren’t performing at all? 
  • Where do you need to optimize? What should you eliminate? What can stay the same? 
  • Are you closer today than you were the year before to identifying what is required to execute a solid brand strategy?

6. Make a plan. 

Compile what you’ve learned. Consider how you’ll modify your strategy now that you know what reality looks like. 

What will you add? 

What will you replace? 

What will you edit? 

How often will you update your strategy? 

Who else needs to be involved with execution? 

How will you hold each other accountable? 

Brands are a living breathing thing. Handle them with care. 

This have you thinking your brand might need a little love? We'd love to help.

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