How to Inject Fresh Life Into Your Brand: Insights From Two Expert Brand Strategists
Every day, thousands of feeds, promotions, and ads compete for our time and attention. Yet amid this digital noise, creating an impactful brand is not just about who shouts the loudest. It’s about the cumulative experiences you create with customers at every interaction. From each marketing message to sales transaction to customer support ticket, you’re building an authentic, consistent narrative that seeks to resonate with customers at the right moment.
But that mandate raises a tricky, yet essential, question: How do you shape this narrative? How do you know if your brand is resonating? What are some signs that it isn’t?
In this post, seasoned brand strategists Harlan Kennedy and Krim Stephenson, with decades of experience between them shaping consumer and B2B brands, share their expertise on identifying brand fatigue and successfully building a brand strategy.
Recognizing the Need for Brand Work
A strong brand positively impacts nearly every business outcome: Faster movement through the pipeline, better organizational alignment, greater market awareness, you name it. But alternatively, without brand clarity, you might find competitors shaping your story, confusion about what you do, and your unique value getting lost in the noise.
Here are some signs that you might be facing these risks:
Customers aren’t converting: If leads aren't turning into committed customers, your brand may need some fine-tuning. As Stephenson puts it, "One good way to assess whether you need brand work is to look at it from the perspective of the end customer – is your brand offering something compelling enough to take that next step with you?”
The industry is changing around you: "There are some categories that get disrupted every two years, which can mean your positioning today becomes irrelevant tomorrow,” says Kennedy. If your industry is prone to this, you may find yourself in constant testing and evolution, which threatens your internal alignment and consistency.
Customers have inconsistent experiences: Your brand needs to represent itself consistently, from your website to your product and customer experience. Kennedy emphasizes, "Typically people think of brand positioning as ‘That's kind of a marketing thing.’ But, the reality is that it really needs to be aligned with product strategy, with recruiting new employees and with every functional area.”
Your audience is confused: If your target market doesn’t grasp the problem you solve, that’s a red flag. Stephenson cautions, "There's usually an audience that you're trying to reach who don't yet realize the problem. And you need to bring them in with clarity."
Charting Your Brand Strategy: Five Essential Principles
Refreshing your brand can feel like a daunting task. Yet, doing so is a critical path for any business looking to stay relevant. Take into consideration these five strategies:
1. Engage internal stakeholders: Make your brand refresh a team effort to gather diverse perspectives and ensure a smooth transition. “Don’t just go into a black box and come back with the hierarchy,” says Stephenson. “Bring people along on the journey so that they understand the story and feel bought into it.” Take note: This isn’t about building a consensus where everyone gets what they want, but about ensuring everyone feels heard and invested in the outcome.
2. Tailor your brand for your audience: “The better definition you can create around your user or your customer, the sharper the positioning will be,” says Kennedy. Understand your audience's unique needs and preferences. Resist the temptation to be all things to all people. Instead, concentrate on your highest-opportunity segments. Narrowing your focus will lead to more defined positioning and a brand that truly speaks to your audience.
3. Build a messaging hierarchy: Context is king when it comes to communicating your brand. As Stephenson advises, "We're trying to create the building blocks for success to enable these different contexts." This means tailoring your message to fit the situation and the audience, with different value propositions for different stakeholders. Just remember to keep it all under the umbrella of a unified brand narrative. For example, a product webpage might be more functional, with feature details, while an ad might present a more aspirational picture. Despite these differences, each is a piece of the same puzzle connecting back to the overarching brand story.
4. Bias toward action: During a brand refresh, big decisions are inevitable. Trust your instincts, make informed decisions, and be open to adjusting as needed. As Stephenson says, “Leaders want to be perfect with their message. Sometimes, you just need to move forward.” Effective branding requires tough calls, aligning stakeholders, and accepting that you will test and grow.
5. Let it breathe and iterate over time: “Refreshing your brand is just the starting point. Once you put your new messaging out there, keep a pulse on its reception,” says Kennedy. One strategy is to launch to a specific segment and continue to monitor and improve on it periodically.
Ready to breathe new life into your brand?
At 621 Consulting, our team of seasoned fractional marketers specializes in fractional CMO roles, brand positioning, go-to-market planning, demand generation, and more. Together, we can make your brand stronger and more impactful than ever.
To start at conversation, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked this blog post, then please visit the 621 blog to read more.