If you want to create deeper connections with your audience, here's where to start
Whether we perceive it or not, we as organizations (and leaders) are almost always at a crossroads. A need for growth, a need to respond to changes in the market, or a need to remain relevant. Underlying the crossroads can be a range of business challenges: a website or product launch the market didn’t seem to care about, investments in digital marketing that haven’t moved the needle, or an increase in website traffic without the desired increase in conversions. The question is: what do we need to learn to navigate these challenges?
Organizations at a crossroads get stuck when they start casting about for solutions. What I have discovered is that often the best solution begins with a careful reflection and reapplication of what is essential to that organization. This process involves the recovery of a brand or simply Brand Discovery.
Table of Contents: Four benefits to brand discovery
Brand discovery is a process that all organizations should undergo periodically, it doesn’t require a crisis. It provides a rare opportunity to pause and consider your mission - the 'who' and 'why' - through the lens of your experience and the current context. Or to put it another way, “what is the heart of the organization?’ The space you create to explore opens up new possibilities and provides an opportunity to listen perhaps in new ways. It opens the door to deeper connections between your customers and employees - creating a more authentic experience both inside and outside your four walls. When you take the time to refresh, expand, and explore your understanding of your brand, and your audience, it opens the range of what you can learn in the process, creates opportunities, and empowers you to fulfill your mission in entirely new ways. Often, this is the spark of innovation that organizations long to find.
Like any journey, brand discovery requires effort and commitment to the process - but the rewards are great. Through brand discovery, you can gain renewed clarity and perspective on who you are, who you serve, what you do, how you see yourself, and how others see you. Often, this can be summarized as the ‘brand experience’ - all the ways someone may encounter and ‘experience’ your organization’s values, culture, products and people. Sustaining a consistent brand experience that truly reflects your values can be an effective marketing tool to cultivate a loyal following.
Four benefits to Brand Discovery
There are many benefits to brand discovery – here are four to consider:
1. You can learn more about yourself.
In the process of exploring your brand, you will likely uncover new things about your business, your team, your customers that you didn’t know before. This can be anything from the history of your company to the motivations behind why you do what you do. Collecting feedback on the perceived value of what you do from those you serve can deepen your awareness and context for the work you do. And understanding new opportunities in the light of a reinvigorated sense of purpose. Opening this dialogue with team members, we can understand better how they interpret our brand and see things as leaders we may have missed.
2. You can create deeper connections between your people and your brand.
When you take the time to understand what makes your brand and your people thrive, you can better communicate that to your employees and stakeholders. This will in turn help them feel more connected to each other, the company, and its mission. This can lead to a stronger sense of loyalty and pride in what they do.
3. You can build a more authentic brand.
Recent data indicate that 85% of GenX and 90% of Millennial consumers place a high value on authenticity when deciding which brands to support. By understanding your audience and what they want from your brand, you can create a more genuine experience that will resonate with your customers and partners on a deeper level. Extend this to your internal teams, do they feel they can be their authentic selves at work? If we can cultivate curiosity around what’s going on internally then our branding has a more consistent and authentic connection externally.
4. You can create continuity by embracing the 'both-and.'
The way we often think about our work is split into 'either-or' - external vs. internal, individual vs. corporate, brand vs. customer. We must navigate these binary mindsets to build 'both-and' connections that create pathways for honest feedback, sustainable growth and innovation.
If you’re ready to embark on the journey of brand rediscovery, there are a few key things to keep in mind:
-Start with why. What do you want to rediscover about your brand? What are your goals for the process? What would it look like if our mission became true and fully realized? Keep these in mind as you move forward so that you can stay focused on what’s important.
-Be open-minded. Be willing to let go of preconceived notions of what your brand is and be open to what it could be. Be honest, too, about concerns, fears, and hopes for the process at the outset.
-Be patient. The process of brand rediscovery can take time, so it’s important to be patient and let it unfold naturally. It requires structure and focus but brand growth and development is a marathon, not a sprint.
-Be inclusive. Seek input from all stakeholders. A well-rounded view of your brand requires candid input from employees, customers (both happy and unhappy ones), partners, and anyone else who has a vested interest in your company.
-Be open to taking risks. Creating a brand that stands out, and continues to increase its value while staying true to its values will require risks. Be bold and open to experiments that allow you to test new ideas or messages to meet prospects or generate outcomes.
-Be strategic (and tactical). The process of brand discovery can be overwhelming, so it’s important to be strategic in your approach. Set priorities and focus on the areas that will have the biggest impact on your business like revenue, leads, and growth opportunities. Get into the weeds and don’t forget the details. While ROI on brand discovery is not always a straight line, connecting the dots between what we learn and how we operate often taps hidden growth potential.
By taking the time to rediscover your brand, you can build deeper connections with your customers and employees – creating a more authentic and successful business in the process.
Next step: Take a Selfie service
If you're interested in exploring the brand depth process for your organization, we offer a Take a Selfie service that can help you get started. Take a Selfie is a novel approach to brand growth that creates a snapshot of who you are and where you are as an organization -- your identity, mission, history, and goals. As we like to say, 'we'll take a step back to make a leap forward.'
Our team of brand & performance marketing experts will work with you to uncover the potential within your brand's story and develop a plan for infusing it into every aspect of your business, including storytelling.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us to start exploring all that your brand can achieve today.