When was the last time you took your brand’s pulse? Running a business no matter its size is all-consuming. Believe me, I know. I live and breathe my work too. Keeping pace with the speed that is necessary to keep a company chugging along with all its pieces and parts certainly has me in marathon mode.
With that stated, it is really easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to monitor your brand’s heartbeat more often. It is more difficult than ever with our 24/7, always “on” world to channel creativity and continually innovate to ensure your brand is growing and evolving. Trends come and go like waves in the ocean. They are here and then they are gone almost seemingly overnight. Change has become the norm rather than just an occasional occurrence.
Since change is inevitable to fear it is a recipe for disaster. It isn’t an option not to embrace it. Pivoting, disrupting, taking risks, whatever you call it, change isn’t always a popular concept for us. Yet as an entrepreneur or small business owner it’s at the core of long-term success, you cannot move forward by standing still.
Keeping your finger on the pulse of all things related to your brand is essential. Even more so is knowing where and what sandbox your consumers are playing in as it can provide you steady insights and intel around what (and who) is making them raving fans.
Routinely looking through your client’s eyes and spending time where they frequent (social media channels, events, conferences et al) and checking the box that your brand is still relevant to your demographic is as vital for your brand as having a great product suite or communicating distinct positioning. All roads should point to reassure you that your brand is engaging consumers in a way that matters to them. It’s about speaking their language, sharing their joys, understanding their fears and providing solutions for their pain points.
However, that language, those fears and their pain points are in a constant state of flux, that is just the reality. In a world where words and images reach millions of people in a matter of seconds, the rate of change is dizzying. If you don’t check-in with your customer’s culture consistently, you might miss something and the unfortunate news here is, that if you lose your consumer base’s attention (or admiration), it can be a quick spiral downward. If you can maintain your brand’s ability to strike a chord with its demographic, the impact can powerful and rewarding.
Do you know how your brand is currently perceived in the market? Tangible elements to consider would be your product or service menu, your brand’s aesthetic, website, pricing and packaging. Every brand needs to evaluate these items every few years simply because consumer’s demands shift and morph. What once was a need or desire might have evolved to a different place, are you offerings keeping up with the market or your demographic? Have you checked out what your competition is doing?
Keeping track of your brand’s audience and the trends that inspire them requires due diligence which needs to be an integral part of your brand management. It’s crucial to know the social narrative by talking to your customers and adapting your brand personas accordingly. You need to be a whiz at spotting emerging themes in your industry (or follow people on social media who do just that).
It’s a challenge for sure to stay ahead of the curve but it’s also an opportunity. Brands who can regularly tap into their niche market’s trends have a better chance to survive. As I’m known to say, routine is the enemy of creativity. If you own your own small business or start-up, I’ll go out on a limb and say you embarked on this endeavor because you wanted something OTHER than routine or the status quo. You did it for a love or passion, to get creative juices flowing, or to follow your dream of doing what YOU wanted to do. In my opinion, putting up your own shingle not only allows us the option to shatter the routine but encourages it.
So after all your hard work and dedication in getting your biz up and running be sure to be mindful not to let your brand get too comfortable and rest on its laurels. Your brand needs you to help foster and stimulate its continued growth.