For the busy small business owner, it's a huge relief when the company logo design, website, and perhaps a few promotional videos are finally complete. The problem is that these things are never really done. Your brand must remain alive and evolve with trends and technology; branding is simply not an evergreen asset.
When Amy Newmark, former Wall Street analyst and author of Simply Happy: A Crash Course in Chicken Soup for the Soul Advice and Wisdom, took the reins at Chicken Soup for the Soul, her primary challenge was to revitalize the 23-year-old brand. Below, I've expanded on the five rules she used to do the job.
1. Embrace change.
Technology is transforming the way we consume information; it's imperative to jump on-board of the new ways to share your brand. Today we see product-driven companies taking an omni-channel approach in their marketing for an integrated shopping experience. The customer can be shopping online, from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a brick and mortar store and the experience is seamless. Use multiple platforms for advertising and relationship-building.
I enjoyed this list of digital platforms that Scott Gerber over at Mashable pulled together to help you improve your advertising strategy. Check it out.
2. Stay relevant.
To remain to today's consumer, it is key to read the press, follow current events, and understand what's important to your customer. Take what you learn and put it into action.
For example, Chicken Soup for the Soul consistently publishes books on topics that are gaining more and more of the public's interest. These include topics like Alzheimer's, autism, and traumatic brain injuries. They've also been very successful with books that tap into the growing interest in spirituality not associated with a specific religion.
3. Update your look often.
It is important not to allow your visual brand to become stagnant, tired, or dated. Updating the look of your brand is a great way to maintain energy. But it is important to strike a balance when doing so, retaining the brand familiarity and core audience, while injecting new life.
Take a look at the evolution of the Coca Cola brand spanning over one-hundred-and-one years. Notice how they have kept the integrity and familiarity of the brand while refreshing the packaging and messaging to meet changing trends over the years.
4. Get involved.
Be part of the big picture, doing things that benefit the community. This can be something grand on a national or global level, or something more localized. Look for ways to use your resources to help.
The co-founders of sock company, Bombas, learned that socks are the most requested item at homeless shelters, since used socks cannot be recycled. As a result, they developed their brand around the promise that "one pair purchased = one pair donated." These co-founders anticipated it would take about ten years to reach their first-tier goal of one million pair donated; instead it took a little over two years.
5. Affiliate with other strong brands.
By working with other brands or like-minded partners, you can help each other spread the word on your latest projects. "We love working with other brands, whether they are celebrities, such as Deborah Norville, or non-profits like, American Humane and the Alzheimer's Association," says Newmark. The brands support Chicken Soup for the Soul and they, in turn, use their reputation as the world's favorite storyteller to spread the word on whatever our brand partners are working on.
What's worked for you? How have you kept your brand alive? Share your insights here.