Could your brand have seasonal mood disorder? It’s possible. Many of us find it challenging to stay motivated – and it can be particularly hard to jump-start our lives after the bustle of the holidays, and winter’s colder weather and shorter days are no help. It’s hard to focus on business-building when you’d rather hibernate. But we’ve got some sure-fire ways to bust your brand out of the winter blues.
Watch a replay of our webcast that will help you banish the brand blues “The Yin and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories” with BrandTwist Founder & CEO and former VP of Brand for Virgin Julie Cottineau and Head of Creative Planning at iStock Rebecca Swift.
Here are three “Brand Blues” symptoms to look for and ideas to get your business back on track:
1) You’re feeling the Brand Love, but not the Cash
You’ve got something special to offer, and you’re connecting with people that your product or service could help. They seem interested, but when it comes to the moment of truth they’re just not buying. This is the dating equivalent of being told “you’re nice but let’s just be friends”
This usually happens when you don’t really understand your ideal customer and what they need. What keeps them up at night? And what triggers are going to help them move from being a “Brand-friend” to a committed “Brand user and fan”?
We spend quite a bit of time on defining our Bull’s Eye target in our Brand School program for small businesses. The most important part of making sure you’ve got a vibrant brand is targeting the right people, understanding their motivations, and speaking directly to those feelings to get them to act.
Take a look at your website (or your primary marketing vehicles) and ask yourself honestly…is it clear who this product or service is for and why should they buy it?
Does it present a clear statement of a problem and a solution that’s going to shake people out of their own doldrums, get them to identify with what you are promising and take action?
Before you re-do your website, or any other marketing materials – stop and think about your target – who they are and what they need. Don’t worry about being too narrow. It’s better to connect with fewer people who actually buy your product or service, then have a lot of generic messaging that appeals to everyone, but converts no one.
2) You’re Bored with your own Brand
When you work day in and day out on the same business in the same category it’s hard to keep the fresh ideas flowing. But we need innovation to drive interest and keep our customers coming back.
While Brand Boredom is understandable, it can be harmful to your business. When you’re not excited about what you’re promoting – this comes across loud and clear to customers – in face to face meetings and even online.
So how do you keep it fresh? You need to TWIST it up. When you stay too focused on your competitors and your own category, you end up with “me too” brands.
We believe you need to look at old problems from new and different angles. This is where the TWIST in BrandTwist comes in.
Leverage this lateral thinking by imagining what a beloved brand (in a different category) would do if it took over your business. How would this brand use its DNA to innovate your market? Twist an inspirational brand (ex. Virgin, Zappos, Starbucks, Apple) with yours and see the impact it can have in creating fresh ideas for your business.
If you own a dry cleaning business you might want to TWIST it with Starbucks. We’re not suggesting you serve better coffee to waiting customers. We want you to dig deeper. Think about how Starbucks customizes each order – could you offer a new type of dry-cleaning service where you offer a menu of customized options? “I’ll take a ½ starch, ½ steam no hanger pressing please.”
Innovation is critical in creating strong brands. Our Brand School curriculum offers several specific lateral thinking exercises and teaches you how to apply the TWISTS of break through brands to your business.
3) You have too many ideas and no idea how to move forward
For some people, the source of brand blues is having too many ideas. Many business people have an idea a day (if not a minute) and this can be overwhelming. It can lead to a crippling condition we call “fear of the idea”. Every new idea brings up a whole new level of stress on how you’re going to execute it. This state can actually lead to a situation where nothing gets done.
Have no fear. The trick is in prioritizing which ideas to pursue and breaking down the steps to move them forward.
Look for ideas that have both high feasibility and high impact. By high feasibility we mean ideas that can be reasonably implemented. They may take some investment in resources or partners, but they don’t require inventing a completely new manufacturing process or any involvement from NASA. By high impact, we mean the ideas that would appeal strongly to your target and support your brand’s overall authority and distinctiveness.
Lastly, we recommend that you break down these ideas into small actionable steps. Instead of saying “I need to create a fresh, new killer website” we recommend breaking it into smaller steps that you will actually get done. For example, asking friends via Facebook and LinkedIn for web designer recommendations, investigating online resources like 99 Designs, creating a web design brief, and identifying 3 websites you admire (and pinpoint why) so you can share them as examples with your designer when you find them
We also recommend finding a Branding Buddy to keep you accountable and moving forward. Weekly check-ins (over Skype or coffee) will help you keep moving ahead. Program these into your calendar – pick a consistent day and time that works for you and your buddy and make these meetings a high priority.
In Brand School Master Class we have found that creating a private community of like-minded entrepreneurs to support one another and hold each other accountable is a very effective way to help everyone stay on track and bring their ideas to market.
We know its cold and your brand might be feeling the winter blues right now, but with a bit of ingenuity, discipline and the right kind of support your business can emerge into Spring stronger and more invigorated.
Interested in more brand building tips? Make sure you check out our Brand School Master Class site and join our mailing list. You will get a free e-book “Brand Like a Billionaire – 5 Tips I learned from Richard Branson”. You can also learn how to qualify for a FREE one-hour strategy Brand Health Check session with Julie (valued at $500).
AND don’t forget to watch “The Yin and Yang of Powerful Brand Stories” FREE webcast replay with BrandTwist Founder & CEO and former VP of Brand for Virgin Julie Cottineau and Head of Creative Planning at iStock Rebecca Swift – all about on Visual and Verbal Branding.
In just one hour you’ll bash your brand blues and learn:
- How to get your brand noticed by creating a compelling story using pictures and language.
- The three main tones that resonate with customers.
- How the verbal and visual balance helps your business succeed.
Watch it HERE.