Thursday, May 15, 2008

How to Keep Your Brand Fresh

Conduct a "brand audit" once a year. Look at how your product or service is marketed and branded (i.e. what messages you're sending), and analyze your brand position by asking your customers what they think of your company. Then, compare the two sets of data and see how well they connect.

A coffee-house owner, for example, might think she serves great coffee, while convenience or ambience may be a bigger selling point from the customer's perspective. Realize that it is the customers' perspective that is most important to your success. And, don't fight it. I watch so many entrepreneurs get wrapped up in the fact that they "built the best widget," yet their customers love them mainly for their speed of service, or their friendly staff, or their whatever it may be.

The point is: WHO CARES?!? If you have a loyal following for particular reasons, focus on those reasons and continuously reinforce those messages. However, realize that those reasons may (and probably will) change over time. Market forces shift. New competitors come into play. New products are invented that create new desires which shifts attention away from old habits. Make sure your company stays fresh and in the middle of the conversation.

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