It’s easy to tell when berries go bad…they get fuzzy coats. When fish spoil, they stink. When bread gets stale, it grows blue-green mold. But, how do you know when a brand gets stale? And more importantly, what should you do about it?
Is your brand getting stale?
“Brands are organic,” says Huntington Post. “It takes time to create one worthy of your company, but by the time you launch it takes on a motivation and an existence of its own. The brand becomes bigger than the company itself, or any individual within the company.”
But unfortunately, brands deteriorate over time. Usually it doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens. According to the blog on Huntington Post, “Colors, fonts, styles, and voices come and go like fashions over the years, and what was relevant for your brand ten years ago may no longer be worth pursuing.” In other words, it’s time for an update if your brand feels and sound like bag phone from the 1980’s instead of a 21st century iPhone 6!
Keep in mind that your brand needs to stay clear, relevant, and consistent across all communications from your website to social media to customer communications. You need an obvious platform for your passion, if you want others to believe in you and your business, as pointed out by Chelsea Berler, Solamar’s Founder and CEO. But if the words that originally described your brand no longer carry the powerful message they once did, no longer stand out to grab your customers’ attention, and/or no longer describe your business today, it may well be time to take a new look at your brand.
Another reason to refresh your brand is when sales begin to taper off and are underperforming. Updating your brand with new focus may be what it takes to boost sales. That refresh can also help you target an added market segment. And create new, exciting markets into the future.
Symptoms of a stale brand
Overhauling your brand image can be tricky, since you don’t want to alienate your current customers. So you don’t want to take it lightly. That’s why you need to watch for the symptoms warning you that it’s time to refresh your brand, says Rob Bloxham:
- A crowded and competitive marketplace—A strong brand helps you cut through the noise of a crowded marketplace, giving potential customers a reason to choose you and current customers reassurance that they have chosen the best.
- The market has grown but your market share hasn’t—If your sector is surging ahead but your bottom line isn’t, warning bells should be going off. A stronger brand and its continued promotion are powerful tools defending your market from the competition.
- Marketing is falling flat—Similarly, if you are spending on marketing materials and promotion, from sales pages to Google ads to social media to web content and PR, and they are not converting into sales, the problem may be your brand that is failing to hit the mark.
- Customer confidence is waning—If customers don’t trust your brand, they won’t trust or try your product or service.
- Your brand is outdated or irrelevant—It makes your business look just as passé. A current, clear, professional, exciting, and confident brand speaks volumes about the company behind it.
- Business is good, but you want to get to the next level—At first, you might even think “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But a refresh can help you sustain and even accelerate the next phase of growth.
A few cures for SBS (stale brand syndrome)
A brand refresh isn’t just about updating your logo or tweaking your website. It’s about defining what you offer as a company that makes you stand out and gives customers a reason to choose you over the competition. And that makes it vital to the growing small business and entrepreneur to find a cure for SBS:
- Review your brand strategy—Take a fresh look at it every 6 to 8 months and rethink all the elements in light of what’s going on in your industry and in the world. Do the language and words that describe you need tweaking?
- Keep it relevant—Watch trends, stay informed, and keep a finger on what your market wants and needs now, as opposed to what it wanted a few months ago. For something really new, you might want to think about trying a podcast
- Keep it buzz-worthy—You can’t allow your brand to get boring and dull. So, keep it buzzing with relevant content, events, launches, announcements, contests, social media, and innovations. (FYI, it really works…just ask the ALS folks about their ice bucket challenge!)
- Keep it trendy, but true—A recent Solamar post explains the importance of keeping your marketing fashionable…maybe even ahead of the trends, “…when it comes to marketing, your success depends onyou keeping your finger on the pulse and your ear to the ground of what works for your market. You need to recognize what’s hot and what’s not, and understand what might be making your marketing passé. But above all, keep it true to who you are and what you do.”
- Tell them what’s new—Whether you’re launching new products, just wrote a book, or are giving a speech, tell your audience all about it.
- Keep your online presence and print materials fresh—When customers keep seeing the same old stuff year after year, customers start to tune it all out. Or worse, they will start to hate it. For tips on keeping your website up-to-date, check out our recent post.
The best cure for a stale brand is the easiest. Simply give a shout out to the rock star brand building pros at Solamar.