Have you ever stood amidst the popping champagne corks and the falling confetti and wondered, “Why do people get so worked up about the New Year, anyway?” It’s because the New Year brings new opportunities. It’s a time of fresh starts. It’s a time when many make resolutions to do better or to turn over new and exciting leafs in their personal and work lives.
As many organizations struggle to build strong, powerful, and consistent brands, why not make 2012 ‘the year of your brand’? To help you start anew, here are 12 of the most creative ways to reinvent your brand in the new year.
While this may not take the cake as the most creative option, definitely the most drastic brand-driven move in the new year is to literally start anew with your brand. Take note, the easy way out is to take a blank piece of paper and start making stuff up. Pull your team together and start answering — more clearly and concisely than ever before — what makes up your brand’s DNA.
2. Refocus your team
Far too often the focus of our branding efforts is external rather than internal. Don’t forget that your team members are often critical brand touchpoints themselves. Do they know how to talk about your brand? What words are important? Have they ever been given a brand brief? Why not change that in the New Year?
3. Customer survey
Switching gears from internal to external, how often do you ask your customers what they think about your brand? Tools like SurveyMonkey have taken the cost barriers out of market research for even the smallest businesses. There’s literally no reason not to do it.
4. Utilize some new touchpoints
This could be a fun internal/external activity. Ask your team and maybe even your customers to identify or vote on an underutilized touchpoint (think boxes, receipts, etc.) for you to give an ‘Extreme Brand Makeover’ to.
5. Plant the flag on a new social platform
Find a new megaphone to get the word out. Why wouldn’t your business launch an Instagram account? Even if your product isn’t visually engaging, their easy-to-apply effects can make your wares into works of art.
6. Read Primal Branding
I’m not on Patrick Hanlon’s payroll. For real! But his book, Primal Branding, is simply the sharpest, most focused read on the abstract topic of brand-building.
7. Steal something from the big boys
The Internet has broken down many cost barriers from quick and easy printing to online video. If you see an idea you like by a national brand, keep an open mind and ask yourself why something similar wouldn’t work for you.
8. Create and share valuable content
You’ve heard it before but the social web has made all of us potential publishers. What are you producing? Chances are your brand is really great at something — you may even be an expert. What are you publishing online to tell the world? Are you creating how-to videos? Are your writing an eBook? For your brand’s sake, you should be.
9. Take a deeper dive into your web analytics
By now even the least technically savvy execs like the idea of all of the stuff they can measure online but how much of that are you actually doing anything with? Why not pull your web analytics from the last year and come up with three actionable changes you can implement as a result of this intel to better your brand.
10. Find your voice
Have you ever noticed that the best brands have a distinct voice? Volkswagen has always been playful, from Lemon to Little Vader. Ford trucks are tough. Do you have a voice? Or do your committees sand out the rough edges before you make it to market? Chances are your brand has an attitude. Work on finding it in the New Year.
11. Do something unexpected
I was going to say, “do something fun” or “do something crazy” but to the last point about finding your voice, not every brand is particularly fun or crazy. But you can be unexpected. Find something outrageous to blow your customers away, like an unexpected touchpoint or event.
12. Branding isn’t always a big thing
Sometimes it’s simply a state of mind. In some organizations, remembering you have a brand can be a step in the right direction. Boiling down your company’s ethos into a touchstone that can inform everything from big promotions to how your front line team members talk about your brand is critical. Remember, everyone on your team is a potential brand builder.
What’s your resolution for the ‘brand’ new year? Is this the year your brand grows even bigger? Do you have a new social initiative planned? Or is this simply a time to get back to basics with some consistency across your brand touchpoints?
Whatever your resolution, best of luck in 2012!
Note: This post originally ran on 12Most.com