The new year is a time to reflect, and that doesn’t just have to be on a personal level. It’s also the perfect chance to consider refreshing your brand strategy. It is the basis for everything you do as a company, so it goes without saying that it may need a refresh from time to time.
Many elements go into crafting the perfect brand strategy, but it shouldn’t become a static plan. Instead, you’ll want to constantly update it in light of your business’ latest goals. It’s important to evolve your brand over time, if you want to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of online marketing. In order to do so, you’ll need to consistently re-evaluate your goals each year. It’s unlikely that the strategy you built when first starting out still applies, as your business has likely grown in size and may even have a different focus. In order to remain relevant, you’ll need to adapt.
Revamping your strategy can breathe new life into your business, and more fully align your approach with your goals and the needs of your target audience.
Consider the influence of Millennials, for example. They are now one of the leading groups of consumers, and because of this, more and more brands are attempting to tap into that market. Iconic ice-cream brand Häagen-Dazs famously underwent a complete re-think of its existing strategy in order to appeal to a younger demographic, a move that was met with a great deal of success.
In addition, although you may have originally set out with a certain goal or purpose in mind for your brand, it’s likely to have shifted over the years. This could be the result of a number of factors, such as the customer feedback you’ve received. As an essential part of any brand strategy, customer feedback can also be an indication of when your existing business plan needs to change.
For these reasons and more, taking a good hard look at your brand strategy on a yearly basis is a smart move. Revamping your approach can be a difficult process, but is incredibly beneficial over the long term.
Once you’ve decided to give your brand strategy a refresh, it’s time to get to work. There are a number of factors that play a part in crafting the perfect plan, but what follows are three of the most important steps you’ll want to take.
As mentioned earlier, just about every company will experience shifts in its focus and goals over time. After acknowledging what those changes are, you can begin to update your strategy accordingly.
First, you’ll need to work out exactly what you want your brand to achieve over the coming year. Clear goals will aid you and your team by establishing measurable performance expectations—in other words, by giving you something to work towards. Your goals should also strike the right balance of being ambitious, yet achievable.
From there, you can begin to shape your strategy to match your new goals. After all, its primary purpose is to help you achieve the objectives you’ve set for your business. For example, if one of your goals is to improve your brand’s presence online, you’ll need to highlight digital marketing as a particularly important consideration.
When laying out your objectives for the next year, you’ll also want to take a moment and think about what your customers want from you. Do your goals take their primary pain points into consideration? Just as your business changes over time, so do the needs of your audience. Your brand strategy needs to take those current desires into account.
Craft Well-Defined (and Up-to-Date) Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your perfect customer. It’s typically based on a few educated assumptions, as well as data gathered from your actual users.
A fully fleshed-out buyer persona includes information about the type of person you want your brand to appeal to, including characteristics such as age, location, hobbies, occupation, and income level. This is one of the most important parts of any marketing strategy, as gaining a deeper understanding of your potential customers is critical to driving product development, conversion rates, and customer retention.
Buyer personas can be created in a number of ways, but must ultimately be centred around information gathered from your chosen market. An effective way of gauging who your audience members actually are is by conducting surveys and polls. No one knows your customers better than themselves. Reaching out to potential customers this way is also a great method for building brand loyalty.
You can gather the information you’ll need by using a service such as Survey Monkey. Your website platform may also offer some options (for instance, WordPress users can install the free WPForms plugin). What’s most important, however, is to not simply put together a buyer persona once, and then use it indefinitely.
Instead, you’ll want to conduct new research and update your personas as needed, at least once a year (perhaps more often, if your market changes quickly). That way, you’ll move forward into the new year with a clearer understanding of your target market, which is vital for ensuring that your brand strategy is up-to-date and relevant in 2019.
Implement Automation Across Your Campaigns
Automation refers to using software to handle simple, repetitive tasks, so that a human doesn’t have to. Many large companies use automation to handle jobs such as social media posting and email marketing, freeing up time that can be devoted towards growing the business and communicating with customers.
Implementing automation across your marketing campaigns can also make them more effective. With the right tools, you can send out targeted, personalized messages that improve conversion rates and other key metrics. If you’re not yet using automation, 2019 is the year to start.
There are a number of tools you can use to automate your marketing efforts, such as ActiveCampaign and HubSpot. These solutions provide a range of useful features, and are often easy to pick up and learn. Incorporating automation to handle key tasks may be the most influential change you make to your brand strategy this year.
In a constantly changing online landscape, you’ll inevitably need to evolve your brand’s strategy from time to time. However, this doesn’t have to be a daunting process. If you take the time to evaluate the specific goals you have for your business, make sure you’re targeting the right market, and implement automation to improve your campaigns, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a killer brand strategy for 2019.
What’s going to be important in your brand strategy for the next year? Let us know in the comments below!