4 Steps to a New Year, New Brand.

 In Tips
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Happy new year!! 😄 🎉

Just like every year before, this January I’m taking a bit of time to reflect on my own life, seeing the ups and downs and making plans to try and correct the flaws that plague it; same as everyone else. I’ve begun to journal, settle into a new productive routine, go on a diet, start a new gym plan and top it all off with go meat free veganuary (oh, and throw no sugar in the mix too). Hardly an easy one to stick too! But either way, we put these promises down and sometimes, just sometimes, we manage to stick to them.

Every new year sees this tradition of ‘new year, new me’ and the following host of self improvement regimes, diets, gym routines and all the paraphernalia of books, TV shows articles and holiday ads. But, what we may not notice is that in a very smooth, almost seamless transition, consumerism moves from selling us the delights and treats of Christmas and the overindulgence of boxing day and the January sales, only to then hammer us with guilt and then sell us a remedy to undo all that exuberance. Without even noticing the transition we’re encouraged us to buy into the latest health food trends, buy all the gym subscriptions and spend a fortune on health gadgets.

But just as every other year, we all start with the grit and determination of recovering from a post-christmas food coma and the hope of continuing them throughout the year; at least until the Creme Eggs appear on shelves and we’re told to indulge once again! To then be followed by the fitness gurus questioning  “Are you beach body ready?” We’re told to over consume then told to backtrack and fix what we’ve done in a vicious cycle that repeats throughout the year and we fall for it everytime.

I know what you’re thinking, “How can a brand consultant slant consumerism, when his work goes hand in hand with it. Isn’t it your job encouraging all this spending?”

Well, the difference lies in what we can change. We have far more influence to make positive change from the inside than we do from the outside. If we can push businesses to move towards cleaner, quality over quantity, sustainable products and away from unethical, processed goods then all the better.

So although the new year resolution as turned into yet another consumerist fad that demands that we spend spend spend like every other season we celebrate, maybe, just maybe, this is actually a good one. What if we used this tradition on ourselves AND on our brands?

So, let’s start a new tradition. Let’s have a go at looking at our businesses and our brands, not just ourselves. Use it as a time to reflect on whether our businesses are doing the right thing or the wrong thing. A brand is like a person wouldn’t you agree? A brand has a voice, a personality and values much like us; so wouldn’t he or she choose to reflect on their life? Maybe they would wonder if they’ve made the right choices in the past year or celebrate something they’ve achieved or maybe plan a strategy to correct any wrong doings!

A bit like a pet dog or a new born baby, they can’t do that for themselves; they need us to look after them and go on this journey with them. We should make it a time of brand improvement as well as self improvement. Our brands can have far more influence over culture and society then just one person, so while we’re at it let’s use that power to do something good. If we’re going to encourage people to spend, let’s make sure they’re spending on the right thing.

So let’s put a plan into action and start with a few things you can do straight away that will make sure your business begins the year with a bang! While heading in the right direction.

1. Reflect on last year

How was 2017 for you? What worked, what didn’t? A lot can happen in a year, some good some bad but both we can learn an awful lot from. How can you improve your reputation, the impact your business has on your local community and global community? That’s why it’s always important to look back at your wins and fails to see what can be taken from them and used this year perhaps. Has your business helped people in anyway or has it done the opposite? Sometimes it’s hard to get a clear perspective on your business, so ask a friend or even ask an employee how they thought it went; perhaps you might find an insight that will pleasantly surprise you, or shock you!

Your Task:

Write two lists, one for the good and one for the bad. Be honest and dig deep. Once you’ve done that figure out why the good happened and what can you do this time to not let the bad happen again.

2. Trends for 2018

What trends are predicted to come in 2018? What’s new out there? Is there an opportunity there to use? Are your customers behaviours changing? Dive into some research and ask your customers what they think. Is there a new threat on the horizon you should be aware of? Or is there a new idea that could improve your product or offering and improve your reputation in your industry. Is there a new sustainable option to use? For example 2018 is predicted to see a huge growth in the demand for locally sourced produce, it being an increasingly important factor when selecting food for consumers, is your business making the necessary adjustments to it’s supply line to cater and deliver for that change?

Your Task:

Take an hour tomorrow morning and do some googling. Research trends, make a list and highlight one your business could use to tap into and highlight one that could be a threat to you.

3. Re-evaluate your values

Take a long look at what your brand stands for, is it still relevant? Are you reflecting them well enough? Is it what people still want to connect with? What are you looking to achieve, what impact should your business be having?

Your Task:

What does your business truly believe in? Write your values out, highlight which are relevant to today’s trends and cross out the ones that aren’t and compare them against your target audience. Are you fully communicating those values to them?

4. Reassess your Strategy

Is your strategy still relevant, what needs to be changed? What have you learnt from the previous tasks? Is there some major realignment needed or are you still on track?

Your Task:

Pull out 5 things you’ve discovered from the previous tasks and make an action plan on how you’re going to tackle or implement them this year.

If you don’t take time to reflect, how will you know that you’re on the right path.

Take January as an opportunity to become the leader in your market, in your industry. Start something, change your market and others will follow. Don’t forget, if you don’t do it, maybe your competitors will. Will your business be remembered as the one who changed your market.

Could you be making your community stronger, your employees lives better, perhaps you could shame your competitors because you actually care. By the way, customers certainly notice this. Recent studies show that a happier motivated workforce can 12% more productive than a bitter, need driven workforce and that also shows, beyond figures, on how your they interact with your customers. Remember that today, people are looking for honesty, authenticity and the more good you can do to help others, the better your business will be perceived.

January is mine and Kiss’ time of reflection and I hope it will be for you too!