How a brand intersects with all these communications channells

Is It Time to Refresh Your Brand?

Companies evolve and change over time. When was the last time you refreshed your brand promise? Does your brand represent your company now or who you were? If you haven’t thought about this lately, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is our brand still relevant?
  • Are we retaining customers and attracting new ones? If not, why not?
  • Do our customers understand and buy into our brand promise?
  • Does our visual brand create excitement and interest?
  • Does our brand represent who we are now or who we were? 

My colleague Carol Smith, president and creative director of Creative Source, and I discussed branding and addressed these questions yesterday in a presentation to the New York Society of Association Executives. (See our presentation below).

Today, there are an ever-increasing number of competitors going after your prospects and customers. A strong brand, however, can enhance your ability to attract and retain them.

Too many brands in the marketplace are simply knock-offs of other brands. If you wish you stand out, you need to be unique. You have to be clear about who your organization is, what makes it special, and why prospective customers should care.

What is your brand? A brand is what an organizations wishes to be known for. It is a pro-active strategic process to establish the direction, leadership, clarity of purpose, and inspiration for the organization’s mission.

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your consumer—whether it’s a member, donor, business, buyer, or voter—that will inspire them to choose your offerings over a competitor.

What is your visual brand? Your visual brand is the visual expression of the organization’s name, logo, and tagline. It is the image your company projects in your marketing materials, social media communications, public relations and advertising.

When was the last time you updated your brand?

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  1. Hi Jeannette. Thx is a very timely post for me, as I have been taking time off to rejuvenate my spirit, and hope to come back next month with renewed energy to continue building my brand. It takes such energy to keep up the momentum!

    • Doreen — yes, it does take a lot of energy. I’m glad you’ve taken time off to recharge. When you have your own business, it’s 24/7 and that can be so draining.

  2. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on branding when the brand is you:) Like most authors, this is a challenge:) I do notice brand tweaking all the time with major consumer products…Coca Cola comes to mind.

    • Jacquie — I write and speak a lot about personal branding. It’s just as important and difficult as it is for corporations. Remember quite a few years back when Coke changed the formulation of its Coke calling it “New Coke”? Consumers revolted and the company had to quickly revert too the old Coke and renamed it “Classic Coke.” So even the biggest companies can get it wrong!

  3. I struggle with this one Jeannette, when I started in coaching I was one of maybe 2 coaches specializing in introverts. Seven years later and there must be (at least from my online findings) over 50! So saying I’m “America’s #1 Coach for Introverts” doesn’t work anymore. While your presentation is focused on associations, it gives me LOTS of questions to ask myself about what to do now.

    Thanks for posting this one!

    • Pat — that’s the problem. You come up with something different and immediately there are copycats. Your big advantage is that you’ve built a reputation over time which other coaches can’t claim. That’s part of your brand. You’ve been there, done that, with a deep reservoir of knowledge about introverts, plus there is your new book.

  4. Jeannette, the one important thing that stood out for me was “What’s in it for me”. That is what everyone wants to know and if the brand can clearly show that, it would be successful. The hard part is knowing how to incorporate the answer to it within the Company’s visual brand (logo).

    • Lenie — I agree that picking a log and tagline is a challenge. Even the biggest companies don’t do it right. The next time I see a tagline with the word “we offer solutions” I’ll scream. What is a solution? Doesn’t have any meaning.

  5. I guess I am a little bit out of the demographic with this post as I write for the enjoyment as opposed to finding clients; I have nothing to sell. I do hope in the future for that to change however. That said, my reader base continues to grow and as such find myself more and more obligated to deliver quality articles on time and with frequency. I am pleased with the brand I have developed to this point.

    • Tim — I love your brand as the “world traveler.” That is my perception. I thoroughly enjoy your stories and images.

  6. Hi Jeannette, I am I the midst of a huge overhaul of my visual brand with the redesign of my website, which has been a big undertaking, mush bigger than I anticipated and taking a bit longer than I thought. But isn’t that the way things like this always go? I am hoping the changes will better reflect me, my brand, what it is I am trying to accomplish and be more user friendly. Fingers are crossed for big unveiling in a few weeks. 🙂

  7. Brand has got to be the preoccupation or our time and personal band sits at the centre of it. We are always talking about it, managing it, tweaking it and wondering what people who ignore their brand are thinking. Or maybe that’s just those of us who live in the world of public relations, but I doubt it. I wonder if my children will worry about their brand when they are my age or if their personal avatars will bear any resemblance to them.

    • Debra — branding is the hot topic of the day. I think that’s because there is so much more competition now. The internet has opened up opportunities for even the smallest companies. So how are all these small-to-large companies going to distinguish themselves? No easy answers.

  8. For the past couple years I was focused on promoting the books I’ve written, the first book in particular, but now that I have a new skill set as a life coach, my first book has become a product that adds to my coaching service, and what I have to offer. That being said, my emphasis has changed somewhat and I am still trying to figure out what this looks like, to some extent, with regard to my branding. Thank you for your post.

    • Michele — sounds like you’re in transition. Maybe it will help if you can identify where you will make money and tailor your brand to the people who will buy your services.

  9. Agree with you completely about the importance of constantly updating our brand, both personal and business brands. Both brands are continously developing and the changes hence have to be updated with the changes. Personally refresh on a contiuous basis and feel it’s both fun and rewarding.

    • Catarina — sometimes our business changes under our feet and we don’t even recognize it. I didn’t start out to become a blogger and social media advisor. But then I was and had to rebrand myself.

  10. Thank you for this reminder.

    You are absolutely right. From my perspective this does not only apply to the brand. With everything I focus on for a longer time, I need to step back once in a while and reassess: Am I still working towards the right goal, can I find a better route to take, can I optimize what I a doing with knowledge I gathered,…

    It can be dangerous to be over focused: Everything changes: The surroundings, my knowledge, my customers, …


    • Susanna — you’re so right. Everything does change. With the internet as the great interrupter, you constantly need to evaluate your brand and ask if it’s meeting your needs and the needs of you clients.