We often talk about brands in terms of human attributes and characteristics, but are you actually treating your brand as a person? The fact of the matter is that we don’t conduct health checkups on our brands nearly as much as we should.
Brand Health – And Why it Matters
For better or worse, every company has a brand. Some brands are purposefully formed and strategically executed, while others arise by accident. Either way, the health of your brand impacts every aspect of your business.
“A strong brand is not a luxury to be enjoyed only by companies like Nike or Coca-Cola. It is a key factor in the success and prosperity of all businesses and nonprofits, regardless of their revenues,” marketer Katie Lundin writes. “Your brand health is guaranteed to have a significant impact on the consumer awareness of your brand and your bottom line. It directly affects your ability to sell, to fundraise, to hire the best employees, and to grow. A healthy brand is the hallmark of a company or nonprofit that is prepared to prosper.”
Brand health can be identified as the measure of how well a company’s brand identity supports the business. It’s largely dependent on messaging, consistency, and the brand’s ability to connect and engage with the appropriate audience.
A healthy brand is a requirement for successful sales and marketing – which are necessary components if you want your business to grow and thrive. The question is, do you have a healthy brand?
How to Evaluate Your Brand’s Health
Most entrepreneurs have an idea of how their business is doing, but few take the time to actually investigate and understand the health of their brands. If you want to find success in sales and marketing, you need to do a little a digging. Here are a few suggestions:
- Are You Competent in These 3 Areas?
“Besides the more granular details, there are three main overarching elements to consider when evaluating brand health: awareness, positioning, and delivery,” LumenAd explains. “A healthy brand has a high level of competency in all of these fields. And they all feed into each other — without strength in one sector, the others will not survive.”
When evaluating your own brand’s health, begin by exploring each of these three areas:
- Brand awareness. This refers to the amount of awareness you have in the marketplace – particularly as it pertains to your niche. (If customers don’t know who you are, they can’t buy from you.)
- Brand positioning. Awareness alone doesn’t guarantee results. You need to position your brand in such a way that your target customer is repeatedly exposed to your messaging.
- Brand delivery. Ultimately, it all comes down to how well your brand delivers. In other words, do you live up to the hype that you’ve built? Are customers satisfied with what they get?
While you may be doing fine in one or two of these areas, you’ll inevitably find at least one element that needs further attention. By addressing it right away, you can ensure your brand has every chance to be successful moving forward.
- Do Customers Know Why You Exist?
There are hundreds of companies worldwide that sell shoes, yet one brand is widely regarded as the best in the industry – Zappos. How can all of these companies be selling the same products, yet one company is overwhelmingly seen as the best? It all comes down to the “why.”
Zappos’ success is rooted in its clearly defined mission statement: “To provide the best customer service possible. Deliver WOW through service.” Customers shop with Zappos because they understand why the company exists and they’ve seen proof that the brand follows through.
The question is, do your customers know why you exist? Better yet, do you know why you exist? You must be able to answer both of these questions with a solid affirmative in order to enjoy any degree of success.
- Do Your Employees Know and Believe in Your Vision?
Your employees are the ones who actually execute your mission, so it’s important that they know and believe in your vision.
When employees are engaged and fully committed to the vision, it shows. They move and execute with purpose. They’re happy – even excited – to advocate for your brand (both inside and outside of the office). They see their role as more than a paid employee.
Make it a point to periodically check the pulse of your employees. You can do this through surveys, anonymous questionnaires, exit interviews, and one-on-one feedback. The more purposeful you are about gathering honest feedback, the stronger your brand becomes.
- Is All of Your Branding Consistent?
Consistency isn’t just a buzzword worth that brand strategists throw around to sound sophisticated. If you want your business to have an impact in the marketplace, your branding must be consistent. This means consistency in three key areas:
- Visuals. Consistency starts with your brand’s visuals. Your logo needs to be consistent across all platforms. The same goes for your color scheme (down to the precise pantone or hex code), font, and style. The filters you use on Instagram photos should be the same as the filters you use on images that are published on your company’s blog.
- Voice. Next comes voice consistency. Tone of voice, word choice, grammar, and sentence structure all matter. Find a brand voice, embrace it, and don’t deviate.
- Interactions. When a customer contacts your business – whether via email, phone, or social media – they expect consistent interactions. Are your customer service reps funny and snarky? Are they professional and informative? Are they known for being friendly? Whatever the case may be, strive for consistency in the type of interactions you have with customers. Regardless of whom they’re interacting with, customers need to feel like it’s the same person every time.
If you can embrace and execute consistency in each of these three areas, you’ll find it far easier to connect with customers and move them from awareness to purchase. It’s all about being reliable and trustworthy.
- Are Your Customers Engaged?
Customer engagement is at the heart of any successful, sustainable brand. It’s the lifeblood of a thriving business (and always will be).
“The more engaged your customers are, the more emotionally invested they are in your brand,” marketing expert Alex McEachern writes. “It’s this emotional investment that makes them less likely to shop with a competitor and what so strongly connects customer engagement to customer loyalty.”
Ask yourself this one simple question: Are my customers engaged? You can measure engagement in a number of ways, but start by looking at metrics like guest checkout rates, purchase frequency, average order value, and repeat purchase rate. These numbers will tell you a lot about how your customers feel about the brand.
Give Your Brand a Health Boost
There’s a difference between having a brand and having a healthy brand. Every company has the former – only a small percentage of businesses can truly say they have the latter.
Brand health is one of the most important, yet least frequently discussed investments a company can make. Make 2020 the year that you finally conduct a health checkup on your brand so that you can take strides towards improving both your sales and marketing. It’ll require time, capital, and energy, but the end results will overwhelmingly justify the meager inputs.