Guest post by Julie Cottineau, CEO of BrandTwist
Could your brand have seasonal mood disorder?
Many of us find it challenging to get back to business after the bustle of the holidays – and winter’s frigid weather is no help. If you feel like crawling under the covers until spring, here are three “Brand Blues” symptoms to look out for and ideas to get your business back on track:
1) You’re feeling the Brand Love, but not the Cash
You’ve got something special to offer and are actually meeting people that could really benefit from your product or service. The problem? They’re interested, but at the end of the day they’re just not buying. The cause? You don’t understand your ideal customer well enough and what they need.
The most important part of making sure you’ve got a vibrant brand is targeting the right people, understanding their motivations, and speaking directly to those feelings to get them to act.
Take a look at your website and ask yourself…is it clear who this product or service is for and why should they buy it? Before changing anything – stop and think about your target – who they are and what they need. Be specific, it’s better to connect with fewer people who actually buy your product or service, then to have generic messaging that appeals to everyone, but converts no one.
2) You’re Bored with your own Brand
Brand Boredom is understandable, but when you’re not excited about what you’re promoting – this comes across loud and clear to customers.
So how do you keep it fresh? You need to TWIST it up. When you stay too focused on your competitors and your own category, you end up with “me too” branding.
We believe you need to look at old problems from new and different angles. This is where the TWIST in BrandTwist comes in.
Imagine what a beloved brand (in a different category) would do if it took over your business. How would this brand use its DNA to innovate your business? Twist an inspirational brand (ex. Virgin, Zappos, Starbucks, Apple) with yours and create fresh ideas for your business.
3) You have too many ideas and no idea how to move forward
Many entrepreneurs have an idea a day (if not a minute) and this can be overwhelming. It can lead to a crippling condition we call “fear of the idea”. The trick is prioritizing which ideas to pursue and breaking down the steps to move them forward.
Look for ideas that have both high feasibility and high impact. By high feasibility we mean ideas that can be reasonably implemented (some investment may be required but it doesn’t involve a contract with NASA). By high impact, we mean the ideas that would appeal strongly to your target and support your brand’s overall authority and distinctiveness.
Prioritize these win/win ideas and then break down these ideas into small steps. Instead of saying “I need to create a new killer website” create smaller, specific steps that you will actually get done. Ask friends or colleagues for designer recommendations, investigate online resources like 99 Designs, create a design brief, and identify 3 websites you admire (and pinpoint why) so you can share them as examples with your designer when you find them.
There is a cure for the “Brand Blues”, you just need to climb out from under the covers and take some action.
We’ll provide you with insight, practical advice and tools to boost your brand like:
- Creating a plan to grow your brand
- Reaching your most valuable customers
- Generating fresh ideas – with a twist!
Julie Cottineau is the Founder and CEO of BrandTwist, a brand consultancy that helps entrepreneurs and corporations build their brands and leverage them as actionable business assets. Julie was the VP of Brand at Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, overseeing branding strategy for new and established Virgin companies in North America. Prior to joining Virgin, Julie served as Executive Director of Consumer Branding at Interbrand, as well as a VP Management Supervisor at Grey Worldwide in both the U.S. and France.
She has been an Adjunct Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications at Columbia and Cornell universities and a frequent commentator on brand strategy and innovation through her blog at BrandTwist.com, and in top business media such as Forbes.com, Entrepreneur Magazine, CNN, and American Express OPEN Forum. She is also the creator of the Brand School Master Class, a unique and impactful online branding class for entrepreneurs. Julie lives in Westchester NY with her French husband and two wonderful children.
Follow her on Twitter @jcottin