The start of the year brings a fresh, clean slate, a chance to get fit, get organised and pursue new goals. For business owners also, the New Year is a great time to review the last 12 months with a clear head, and articulate your business goals for the year ahead.
Here are my 4 essential New Year’s resolutions that could help make 2016 the best year yet for your brand. In the examples given I focus on food and drink brands (my specialism) but the marketing principles apply to all.
1. Get Healthy
Just as you may resolve to exercise more and eat better yourself, consider the behaviours that will make your brand fitter in 2016.
For exercise substitute action and make sure you brand has a focus for this year. This could be a promotional campaign of your own creation, or involvement with a local community or charity project. Either way, your brand is participating, interacting with your audience and actively demonstrating your brand values.
For losing weight, plan an objective review of your entire product range. Identify those lines which don’t pay their way due to slow sales, poor gross margin, production issues etc. If you don’t have a specific plan to fix the problem – be ruthless. Fit brands don’t carry extra weight!
The key to making healthy decisions for your brand is the same as for your body. Choose investments that will make your brand stronger and resist temptation for quick-fixes that will undermine your brand over time. Examples of ‘sugar-rushes’ to avoid include me-too flavours, or rash price discounting. In contrast, a good ‘healthy choice’ to prioritise for your brand is strong brand identity; develop and then stick to, a distinctive brand-style across pack, website, print materials and all communications.
2. Quality Time
One of the most important New Year’s resolutions is that of spending more time with friends and family.
For your brand this means ‘quality time’ with your customers and consumers. Make 2016 the year that you really get to know who buys and consumes your product, when, how and why. What do they love? What developments do they crave? Make the most of chatting to consumers at festivals, and events with open questions such as ‘how will you use that at home?’ or ‘how did you choose the food and drink you’ve bought today?’ Use surveys to gather more quantifiable information for new product development or any dilemmas facing your brand.
To maintain any kind of relationship, you need to keep communicating. So in 2016 commit to post regularly on your social media sites, and get those email newsletters scheduled!
3. Learn Something New.
New Year’s resolutions often reflect the desire to learn a language or take up a hobby. In a similar vein for your brand, resolve to upgrade your marketing skills. Try a new promotional activity you haven’t used before – perhaps recording some home-made video clips for social media and your website.
4. Get Organised
Most of us start the year with the best intentions to be more organised and in control of our lives. For your brand marketing this means taking the time to set realistic marketing goals, and writing a structured plan of how you are going to achieve them. Make clear strategic choices. Your goals represent the destination you are aiming for, but it is the route you choose to take, that will define your brand in consumers’ minds. Consult your map (the marketing plan) regularly and review your progress.
Have a fantastic and successful 2016!
Jennie Hermolle is a marketing coach and consultant at Authentic Brand Marketing who help artisan food and drink producers access top-notch marketing to release their brands’ potential. She has 15 years brand marketing experience (ranging from blue-chip to SME) and is passionate about authentic food and drink brands. Jennie can be found on Twitter @jenniehermolle.
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