August 10, 2020
How to Judge the Success (or Failure) of Your Brand
You don’t live in a vacuum. Neither should your brand. Like you, it lives and breathes, moves and shifts. That said, how can you tell when you should rebrand? Or, if you’re already in the process of updating it, how can you tell you’re going in the right direction?
There are several components to what makes a successful brand, and many reasons to think about updating yours.
When you do make that decision, here are some tips to keep in mind when judging whether or not it’s successful.
Look to your competitors
A necessary part of any brand refresh is a competitive analysis. If you understand where your competitors stand and how they market themselves, you can identify how you want to position your own brand.
However, this tip comes with an important caveat: resist the urge to duplicate a favored competitor’s strategy.
Your goal is to clearly communicate what makes your brand different. We recommend a holistic comparison to get the full picture (hint, don’t look only at their logos). For example, if all your competitors are using the color blue, it’s probably not the best idea to also use blue as a primary color in your brand.
Get input from stakeholders (but not too many)
Stakeholders can be members of your internal team (executives, marketing team, board of directors, etc.) or people outside of the organization (current, former, and potential customers).
Most important about this input is that it comes from people with differing views. Forbes found that “72% of award-winning outcomes happen when people reach out and discuss their decisions with others who may have differing opinions—people outside their inner circle of associates.” Ask them what is working about the current brand, what isn’t, and what the new brand needs to solve that the current one fails to.
Choose these stakeholders wisely. Too many decision makers can stifle progress. Harvard Business Review wrote, “an organization struggling to innovate may try to gather more and more creative input—and end up getting too many people involved, thereby slowing the pace of decision making and stifling innovation.”
Just based on our own experience working with larger clients, we can confirm.
Align your goals with what your audience wants
By using surveys, interviews, analytics and other research methods, find out what your audiences want and hold that up against what your brand can provide.
Make certain you have clear goals and you’ve done your audience research before starting the creative process. Your shiny new brand is of little use if it doesn’t appeal to the people who will interact with it. And, most importantly, it will fail to deliver any tangible benefits to your business.
Acknowledge our inherent bias
We all have biases. The biases we hold reflect the fact that we only have a partial perspective on the world around us. We can be biased towards or against many things including ideas, political standpoints, colors, and even fonts.
Recognizing the potential biases of others in particular can help us evaluate the success of our brand by seeing it through a more objective lens. Forbes wrote that “we are far better at identifying the bias in another’s thinking than we are at finding our own.” When judging your brand—either as it stands today or while it’s in the process of being updated—outline a clear set of criteria for your team as a rubric. This could include questions like:
- Is this brand unique from our competitors?
- Is this brand authentic to our company?
- Does this brand resonate with our target audience?
- How does this brand align with any relevant cultural trends or movements?
At the end of the day, there will always be a level of subjectivity to evaluating the success of your brand. Sometimes, when it’s good — you just know it. And chances are, others will feel the same way.
Branding is a discipline that’s part art, and part science. Strike the right balance, and you just might end up with a brand that’s all excellence.