How to get out of a brand rut
Is your brand stuck in a rut?
You know, that rut that happens when things calm down for just long enough for you to sit back and notice. Employees seem bored. Online conversations are stagnant. Your marketing collateral seems weak.
It happens to even the most creative and engaging of brands.
If you’re reading this and it sound like your company, rest assured 1) you’re not alone and 2) you can get out of it.
The first step is recognizing the “Brand Rut” symptoms, which may include (but not limited to):
– Flat community engagement rates: you’re facilitating glowing conversations online, yet engagement levels remain flat, or worse, begin to decline.
– The phone stops ringing: your phone rang off the hook last year when your brand was the darling of the industry trade show, or was featured in a key industry trade publication. But this year, no one seems to pay you any attention. They seem to have moved on to the next “bright, shiny object” and left you in the dust.
– Sales are dropping: while you saw steady sales increases for years, recently, sales have been on the decline.
So how do you cure “Brand Rut” syndrome?
First, take a good look at your marketing efforts over the past several years, and correlate them with the sales trends. Was there a sales spikes the same time a major blog reviewed your product or service? What did you do to capitalize on that conversation? If you took your foot off of the marketing gas pedal the economy was tight, did sales suffer at the same time?
Next, fold that analysis into your larger industry story to get a better idea of what’s happening in your market. How has your industry evolved over the decades? Is it keeping up with global trends, or has it been on the decline? Reviewing the market your serve – and its health – can help you determine where you want to move forward. Is it time to research new market opportunities? If so, what do they look like and how do you develop that strategy?
Once you fully understand where you’ve been, and where you are now, you can start to better articulate where you want to go. This is where the real cure for “Brand Rut” comes in. This is where the magic happens.
Gather your team and set aside time for brainstorming. Real, fun brainstorming, the kind that lights the sparkle in your employees’ eyes again.
With your company’s sales goals in hand (you have your sales goals in hand when you plan your marketing strategy, right? Good.), start to look for ways you can grow your brand’s reach and grow your business.
Where are there opportunities to reach more of your existing audience? Is it through social media? Is it through a series of special events? Or something new entirely? Are you coming up with new, creative ways to engage with your audience, or involving your marketing partners to help you with this process?
Are you product or service offerings current and relevant in today’s marketplace? How can you beef up certain areas to accommodate a growing sector of your business? What resources do you need to put in place to make that happen, and how will you realize those goals?
When Kim and I started Full Circle Public Relations almost three years ago, we had a clear idea of what we wanted to accomplish as a business. While our original vision hasn’t changed, what we offer, and how we offer services to our clients, continues to evolve.
We pride ourselves with keeping up with not just our public relations industry trends, but also the trends of the industries we serve. We look for ways to keep our clients involved in the conversations affecting their brand. We invest in new technologies and challenge our team to continually bring new ideas to the table.
It’s hard sometimes to take a step back to re-evaluate some of your core competencies, but Kim and I have had some of our best ideas through a little bit of our own ‘brand evolution.’ We know it’s what keeps our clients coming back for more, and keeps our team energized to accomplish new, great things.
You can’t afford to stay stuck in a rut for long. Don’t wait until its too late to turn it around. With six months left in 2012, it’s time to start planning next year’s strategy, if you haven’t already. It’s a great time to challenge your team with new ideas and spark new energy into your brand.