In the beginning, you cherished the way it looked, you nurtured it, and over time you’ve built a special ‘something’. But recently you’ve noticed that it’s beginning to look a little run-down.
Where it used to speak fluently to your customers and employees, it’s now monosyllabic. Or, worse, rambling on madly without ever actually making a cohesive point.
It’s picked up some bad habits, it’s untidy, it’s strayed from the path a bit. It’s certainly not making the effort it used to. It just sits there stubbornly – looking like it did 5 years ago bragging about the ‘good old days’.
Your brand has gotten lazy
Brands, just like people, have personalities and values that give them character. And, also just like people, brands can be fit and full of energy or tired and unhealthy.
This usually happens due to a lack of brand management and an unhealthy brand can reflect in the performance of your business. And if you don’t care about your own brand, how can you expect your customers to care for it as well.
It’s fair to say brands have been going through a lot this year. They’re feeling the same sort of anxiety and confusion as we all are. Certainly the old rules don’t seem to apply anymore and brands are asking the same kind of questions as the rest of us.
Do they batten down the hatches, pull the plug on their spending and invest in a short-term solution, or do they carry on and try something different with an eye to the future? You can understand why they don’t feel motivated when the future looks so unpredictable. But that’s not a reason for brands to stagnate. In fact, it’s the perfect time to double down and innovate.
In 2008 Millward Brown revealed that 60% of the brands that went ‘dark’ (i.e. no advertising or marketing activity) during the economic downturn saw ‘brand use’ decrease by 24% and brand image decrease by 28%. The same evidence also revealed that the brands that cut their advertising and marketing budget at a higher rate than their competitors, were at a greater risk of losing their market share.
Don’t stop believing
According to Statista, during the Covid pandemic, 86% of marketing campaigns are delayed or under review. And new research from WARC reveals a 48% decline in traditional advertising spend (cinema, outdoor, press, TV and radio).
On the flip-side more people are working from home, and spending more time on their devices – which means more screen time, more adverts, more influence, more moments where inspiration is a welcome distraction from the world.
Some brands have caught on to this according to GlobalWebIndex’s Social Flagship Report for Q3 2020. With worldwide social advertising spend rising to 26.2% in Q2 compared to the end of Q1, plus the average number of hours spent on social media in 2020 is on track to total 863.8 hours – the equivalent of 36 days – per average user.
Now may not be the time to go hard on pushing sales, but equally it is not the time to excuse yourself from the conversation. In the wake of the financial crisis in 2008, brands such as Netflix and Amazon grew significantly by innovating in response to rapidly changing consumer needs and spending power.
According to an article in Forbes, Amazon sales grew by 28% in 2009. The company continued to innovate with new products during the slumping economy, most notably with their Kindle e-book which helped to grow market share. On Christmas Day 2009, Amazon customers bought more e-books than printed books. Amazon managed to reposition itself as a tech innovator by identifying a demand for books by its consumers who had significantly less disposable income to spend.
In these unprecedented times…
In an article in PR Week Ben Glanville, Head of Data Services UK, YouGov asked the British public about how they felt about the ways brands are currently communicating with them. The respondents were given a list of coronavirus-related words and phrases and asked them which they were tired of hearing/believed were overused. The phrase ‘all in this together’ topped the list with 42%, increasing to 45% for 18-25 year olds. This was closely followed by ‘the new normal’ and ‘unprecedented’.
43% of the British public also agreed that brands and companies’ current messaging and advertising is inauthentic. This research shows that consumers can see through the assurances that brands are here for their customers, when that seemingly isn’t always the case.
So on this basis it’s safe to say, the answer is not to follow the way other brands are speaking to their customers, just find your own voice and stick with it. Your messaging should be authentic and sincere. If your brand has nothing relevant to say about wellness… then now is not the time to crowbar it in.
Find what makes you, you
Research from Yieldify has found that retention has overtaken conversion and acquisition as the key goal for website personalisation across the UK and the US. Many brands are now focusing on how they can create great personalised experiences for existing customers instead of trying to acquire new ones.
So now might be the best time to rediscover what got people interested in your brand in the first place. Was it the way you looked and talked, or how you interacted with your customers? Where does your brand fit in the current landscape, is it able to offer anything different? Can you legitimately stand for something that matters to you – and matters to your audience? Remember, everybody needs a makeover now and again, including your brand.
Healthy brands have strong identities. They are consistent, effective and engaging communicators. They know their customers, and this knowledge is how they earn trust and confidence and loyalty (and ultimately sales).
The brands that are in good health are those who are always doing something fresh, without ever forgetting who they or their customers are. So, starting today, why don’t you put a stop to your brand just plodding along the same old tired road. Take a look at the short brand guide we’ve developed and hopefully these bite-sized nuggets of inspiration will help motivate your brand back into action and get it fit and healthy again for the future.