New Year’s Resolutions For Brands – 2020
Just like for their human stewards, the start of a new year (and decade!) provides a propitious promontory for brands to reflect back and evaluate all they’ve accomplished – and envision how they’d want the following year to look. What were some of the biggest achievements this year? What are some of the things we would have done differently?
To help with this exercise, we’ve taken some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions (sadly often honored in the breach) and applied them to brands. Are you promising yourself that you’ll exercise more? Your brand should, too! Trying to read a book a month? It wouldn’t hurt for your brand to learn something new, as well. We hope these tips will provide food for thought in the twelve months to come, and wish you tremendous success in 2020 and the decade to come!
Go out there and flex those muscles – to grow! Growth hacking, guerilla marketing, whatever you want to call it, this means attacking a market to achieve outsized recognition and share beyond basic organic growth. Make a concerted effort to impress consumers, new clients, the press and anybody and everybody else who will help boost your brand. We don’t advise diving in without stretching first – all exercise in moderation, of course – but take the time to analyze how to really push your brand this year.
As brand experts we absorb influence and suggestions from many diverse channels, some more qualified than others. We like to follow the 80/20 rule, where 80% of our impact comes from 20% of our activity, and that applies to content we absorb, as well. Seek out the best sources in your industry for branding and marketing inspiration and avoid wasting time on clickbait and other junk that doesn’t provide any actionable insight or inspiration you to bring your brand to the next level. One of our colleagues took the admonition to avoid digital drivel so seriously that he abandoned LinkedIn to free up time to focus on what matters.
For brands, this means shedding unnecessary or unproductive marketing material or activities. Have you really crunched the ROI from attending that annual conference you assume is du rigeur to put in an appearance? Maybe that money is better deployed elsewhere. If no one’s listening to your webinar and it’s time-consuming and expensive to produce, but your target audience seems to love your podcast, by all means invest in the latter! Here analytics are key – only by tracking and measuring results from your marketing activities can you glean critical insights into what actions best support your brand.
Spend More Time With the People You Love
Everyone needs heroes, even brand strategists. Spend time searching for influential marketing thought leaders in your sector and start a conversation. Try to schedule a meal or coffee with someone you admire in your industry, or even just reach out via LinkedIn (if you have not fled the forum as well) or an industry trade group. Better yet, write a personal note. Even the most senior leaders still need thought partners.
Look out beyond your sector to learn what others are doing. Lessons from other verticals may just be the ticket to bring innovation to your industry, even if the connection isn’t immediately obvious. We’ve seen some of our insurance clients, for example, learn some great lessons from the branding playbooks of our healthcare and even hospitality clients… and vice versa.
Learn a New Skill or Hobby
Many brands, especially those that are well-established, waste too much energy focusing on reputation management and avoid bold changes – it’s all too easy to stick to standard formulae. Even the most conservative brands need to try new things. This may mean exploring a new marketing channel, freshening up a tired logo or slogan, focusing on your Shared Purpose and deliberately focusing on fostering and sustaining a strong culture for the organization.
Go out there and network! Do people know what your brand identity signifies and what it stands for? Sometimes it’s not even clear to those on the inside of the organization, let alone to people on the outside. Seize the opportunity to be an articulate ambassador for your brand. That may literally mean boarding a plane to speak at an industry conference in another city or actively participating in professional groups at home. One thing’s certain: evangelizing and helping people understand what your brand is and does is a long-term investment that can bring unexpected, outsized returns.