Posted in: Opinion

Keep up with the upkeep: give your brand a health check

As the New Year gets under way, there’s no better time to evaluate your business by taking a brand health check. Here’s four steps to keep your brand on track.

10th January 2022

James Bolton

James Bolton

James Bolton

Written by James Bolton,
Brand Strategist & Creative Copywriter

Brands are like any living organism. They change and evolve over time, but they also need regular upkeep and nurturing to make sure they grow in the right direction. Just as sunlight and water is essential for healthy plants, a well maintained brand is key to a healthy business.

As well as keeping a watchful eye over your brand, that means taking a step back from time to time and completing some form of health check.

While there’s major benefits of hiring an agency to take an impartial, no holds barred look at your brand, a quick yet effective check can also be completed internally. As we head into the New Year, we’ve come up with four key questions that will assess your brand and give you a grounded overview of what’s working and what can be improved over the next 12 months. Think of this as a short checklist to keep your brand lean, mean and effective.

WHO is your business here for?

First things first, to build a relevant and resilient brand you need to know your audience. For most people this should be obvious — it’s who your customers or users are. But rather than their age and demographics, think about their attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. If your audience has changed over time, has your brand moved with those changes?

Take into consideration your full offering. Whether it’s products, services or a destination, there’s sure to be certain reasons as to why your customers need you now. Think about what they expect from you too. What resonates and ultimately what drives those key buying decisions?

Before we move onto the HOW and WHY of your business, make sure your brand is aligned to your key audience.

People sat on stairs

HOW is your business different from your competition?

Unless you’re incredibly unique or lucky, you’ll inevitably have competitors. Some of them you’ll dislike, some of them you’ll be indifferent too, some of them you’ll begrudgingly admire. But whoever they are, what’s different about you? How are the things you do inherently different to the rest?

It could be technology, R&D, service, a social promise or something entirely different. There’s a number of things that can set you apart, but think about something you’re already known for; something you can own and that really matters to your customers and their beliefs.

Think long and hard about the qualities that make you unique and the things you can admirably defend and translate to your audience.

WHY do you exist?

Everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it, but few people know why they do it. Your WHY should inform everything your business and brand does. When we think of Apple, we think innovation. When we think of Nike, we think action. When we think of Disney, we think magic. That’s all because of their purposes — Apple’s to ‘Think Different’ and challenge convention; Nike’s to empower people to ‘Just do it’; and Disney’s to inspire imagination.

And that’s why it’s so important to find a true purpose behind your brand. Think about what the cause is at the heart of your business. What’s the one thing that both pulls your audience towards you and gets your team out of bed in the morning? What’s the change you want to make to the world? These might seem like big philosophical questions, but find the answer and you’ll hold something that no competitors can replicate or repeat. It ensures you have — and always will have — a unique, authentic and defendable point of difference.

The greatest leaders and organisations are so successful because they know their WHY, and they’ve built their businesses on it. Now it’s time to find yours.

People Protesting

BELIEFS that really mean something

Beliefs are a big and often misunderstood subject. They can regularly get mixed up with the mundanity of low-value terms like customer service, professionalism and punctuality. These are run of the mill, cost of entry qualities that should be second nature for any successful organisation. Try and delve a little deeper. If your customer service really is something that sets you apart, think why that is. Is it because of a 24/7 promise? Is it because you instinctively know your customers better than anyone else?

You can make the task easier by framing the statements as “we will never…” or “we will always…” This will help you commit and live by beliefs that go way beyond basic manners and expected levels of service.

To round up your health check, list three things your organisation believes in based on the above.

How do you stack up?

By this stage you should have a gut feeling of how your brand is performing. For many there’ll be room for improvement, for others it’ll be a case of tweaking here and there. It’s important to note that there’s no definitive guidebook revealing how your brand should perform against the health check. And while some of the statements hold more weight than others, we’d say that accurately answering all four questions will go a long way to building a brand that’s relevant as well as remarkable.

Keep the checklist in mind, and you’ll be on track to ensuring your brand is a unique and well-oiled machine that makes a difference to your bottom line and wider company culture in equal measure.

If you need a little helping hand to give your business a brand health check, drop us an email or give us a call.

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