All brands start out full of youthful optimism, with big hopes and dreams and full of enthusiastic energy. They grow and customer bases expand, and before they know it their brand is established, mature.
But then comes the tricky midlife period. Often without realising it, brands get comfy, they lose their momentum, leaving them vulnerable to threats. There will always be a bright, shiny young start-up waiting in the wings, ready to steal all the attention. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Michon turned 40 last year. And while the 40s can be the years some hit a midlife crisis, as a brand we’ve never been stronger.
To stay relevant, you have to constantly re-evaluate who you are and what you’re doing. To hone your unique offering and keep the edge over your competition.
As we turn 40, we’re celebrating our long-lasting relationships, our hard-earned experience and we’re looking to the future. Here are just a few of the tips we’ve learned to avoid the dreaded midlife crisis and retain our youthful vigour.
Helping brands navigate the tricky midlife period
Here are some of the first signs of a brand crisis, and what you can do to combat it.
Many brands are in denial that they have become outdated or out of touch. They strive to be like the new market contenders, copying their style and youthful way of communicating, but consumers quickly see through this inauthenticity. So before you jump on the bandwagon and try to emulate what they have, it’s worth taking stock to avoid making any costly brand decisions. Focus instead on your brand’s strengths and play to those; can you tell your story in a new way?
91% of customers value honesty in the companies from which they buy products and services and 63% of customers choose authentic brands over those that aren’t as transparent.https://www.ubermetrics-technologies.com
Apathy can lead to a lack of awareness. That’s when research is your friend. Go back to basics, know your tribe. What do your consumers really want and need? Are your customers the same demographic that they were when you started out? If so, show them some love and invest in existing relationships. You could keep in touch with useful content or update your storytelling. If your audience’s expectations have changed or your target demographic has shifted over time, then you could revive your brand to boost your appeal for this new audience.
Why not conduct a competitive market analysis? It will help you to understand what the new contenders are doing so well.
Many brands do what they’ve always done, relying on tried and tested ways of working, but investing in new technology and training will future-proof your business and inject some much needed vigour.
Don’t let complacency stop you taking new opportunities, it may be time to employ a targeted campaign. Mix up your marketing with apps, videos and social posts that engage your audience or offer an improved user experience. Or, look back at what made you tick when your brand was young and bring it back if it’s still relevant.
An outdated image
When competitors start taking market share, it’s tempting to react by rebranding. But making rash decisions to regain the fountain of youth comes with risky stakes, similar to getting a drastic haircut or too many facial fillers.
GAP’s logo relaunch in 2010 was so badly received that after consumer backlash they conceded and reverted to the original.
A new logo won’t solve what’s going on beneath the surface, it can help if it’s just your brand identity that has become tired, but you need to look at your brand’s DNA. Get under the skin of today’s markets and really get to know your target customer, to assess how well you are responding to their needs. Be specific, find out the details about your current or target consumers’ behaviours and lifestyles.
What’s working and what genuinely needs work? You don’t just want to keep up appearances, you want to deliver value. It may be time to reevaluate your products, services and brand strategy, or undergo a full company makeover before addressing your image.
It’s the worst feeling in the world when you realise your brand is no longer getting noticed, perhaps your communications are no longer gaining the traction they once did in a noisy market place.
But if you attempt to mimic what new or disruptive brands are doing, people won’t have a compelling reason to choose you instead of that brand. You’ll never stand out if you look and sound like everyone else.
You need to be different.
People will pay up to 40% more for brands that they perceive as meaningfully different.http://www.mandmglobal.com
Look at what makes your brand unique; what do you do better than the rest? Find your special something. Your brand is unique, you just need to show how you are different.
But what if your offering is similar to the competition? How do you stand out then? That’s when brand assets are worth their weight in gold.
First, evaluate what you have. Is there equity in your existing assets? You may have a logo or colour that is instantly recognisable. If so consider keeping or evolve these assets.
Next consider new assets. The aim is to be instantly recognisable, unique and emotionally appealing. That may mean a new logo, introducing a bold colour or finding people, graphics, or a voice that resonates with YOUR customers, so that you are perceived as being stronger in the areas they engage with most.
Standing out doesn’t have to mean you are fundamentally unique in the market. Take Compare the Market, they are instantly recognisable thanks to their distinctive meerkat ambassadors!
Trends come and go, and can often lead to challenger brands all looking the same. Don’t follow trends for trends sake – but do look at what they are doing and ask why. For instance flat colours have become a trend partly because they are quick to load online. Consumers don’t hang around waiting for ads to load.
Which leads us to visibility. Once you have a look that’s unique and memorable you need to get your message seen by the right people. That means using relevant channels – consistently, always promote your message with a colour or style that’s instantly recognisable as yours. Remember relevance is key, jumping on the latest Tik-Tok trend will only work if that’s where your audience is.
Struggling to find meaning
Is what you do still meaningful? What need in the world are you meeting? Having a clear conviction or purpose will help you set a clear vision of the future with priorities and goals to aspire to. A clear brand strategy will help you tackle employee fatigue and should inform your marketing plan.
Hitting midlife and embracing change
Finally, celebrate your wins and plan for the future. Your brand has plenty to look forward to, there’s still time to grow and new opportunities to be had. So, whether you trade on your heritage and share your experience and industry knowledge, or are embracing new technology and ways to communicate, play to your strengths and show the world that the old ones can still be the best!
And if you’re still feeling the crisis – get in touch. We have brand development strategies that can get your brand feeling full of life again.