Thought Leadership

How to maintain a healthy brand

Current events are testing organizations, calling on brands to push past business as usual, adapt, and behave in ways they never thought possible.

Shelley Mayer

Categories: Thought Leadership

September 21, 2020

The unofficial theme of 2020 is resilience. Current events are testing organizations, calling on brands to push past business as usual, adapt, and behave in ways they never thought possible. Everything is in flux and it might be causing you to question your organization’s core identity and ask “who are we now?” Just like a healthy body, a healthy brand requires regular check-ups, and now is the perfect time to do so. We’ve pulled together key themes from our recent brand health webinar moderated by Shelley Mayer, CM, Founder and President of Ramp, with Tina Fernandez, VP of Strategy at Ramp, and Allen Davidov, MBA, CM, VP, and NFP Practice Lead, Business Consulting at Environics Analytics.

Taking Stock: How healthy is your brand? Watch the [on-demand] webinar and get the slides.

What to consider while conducting your brand health check

Align with purpose

Your brand is more than a logo, name, and visual identity. Successful brands understand their purpose and their health is evaluated regularly based on that purpose. Your purpose isn’t what you do, it’s why you do it. If you aren’t attracting the right audience, it could mean that your brand story isn’t purpose-driven. What your organization does is part of your story but it shouldn’t be the main focus. Uncover your purpose by asking: ‘What do we believe in?’; ‘Why do we do what we do?’ 

Having a deep understanding of your brand’s purpose will simplify difficult decisions such as how to adapt, navigate a pandemic, communicate during social unrest, and move your organization online. Having a clear purpose will help you pivot despite changes in what you do and how you communicate with audiences. What your organization believes in will remain constant. 

Evaluate your audience for brand health

Are you attracting the audience you anticipated? Are they falling in love with your brand? Do an audience analysis to determine if you’re using the right tone, making the right decisions and whether your message resonates. As part of your analysis, reflect on how your audience has evolved over time and how this may affect your organization’s long-term strategic plans. Use the audience data you have to inform decisions, plan ahead, and forecast. Remember to focus on both internal and external audiences. How employees understand your purpose will show up externally and internal audiences may not always reflect the way external audiences behave. Through research, we’ve often seen that an organization’s perception of their audience isn’t always the reality. Talk to your audience to understand who they are as people.

What marketing channels are you using?

Evaluate your marketing mix regularly. You should do so as you create campaigns and programs, or at least once a year. Use your audience analysis findings to clarify your marketing mix. Think about the types of responses you’re currently getting and the interactions your audience has with your brand on different channels. Having an effective marketing mix means being in the right place at the right moment.

Due to COVID-19, many organizations have been challenged to behave differently. Moving an initiative online isn’t a band-aid solution because you risk losing credibility from one channel to the next. Think about how you communicate and learn how audiences behave and interact with each channel to cater your message to that medium. Remember that nothing in life is free and moving to new channels means dedicating time and energy to doing it right. For example, if you have a volunteer managing your social media, you will need to allocate time and resources to train them. Consider where your organization’s focus is best spent. You can’t build momentum by dabbling a bit here and there.

To gauge whether your brand health is on track, it’s important to consider where you want to end up. How does what you’re doing ladder back to your organization’s goals? It may seem obvious but it’s easy to get caught up in the daily details while losing sight of the big picture and your end goal. Use this checklist to identify and diagnose any warning signs relating to your brand’s health.

Do we need a brand health check? Checklist

If you answered ‘YES’ to any of these questions, it may be time for a brand health check. Contact us to get started: Email Shelley Mayer, President and Founder, and Tina Fernandez, Vice-President, Strategy at Ramp Communications. Email Allen Davidov, Vice President of Business Consulting and NFP Practice Lead at Environics Analytics.

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