As we approach the end of a rather tumultuous financial year, the FY21/22 planning cycle provides a valuable opportunity for marketers to assess the current strength of their brand and determine which investments could be made to better prepare their organisation for what lies ahead.
As marketing teams begin to solidify their strategic planning for FY21/22, they should look for ways to support their brand and brand strategy, to underpin the efforts of the past 12 months and drive an effective and more sustainable return for marketing investment going forward.
So, with this in mind, we’ve explored the opportunities for investments that marketers should consider as they continue to strengthen their brand and bring it further into focus amongst key stakeholders.
It is important to conduct a review of your brands; to do this we recommend a combination of internal desk research and an external brand audit.
An internal desk review process is a cost-effective way to review the data and information that already sits within your organisation. Many organisations view this an overwhelming task, and often find it difficult to review this information with an objective eye. BrandMatters can help by reviewing the data and providing an external perspective on the most important outputs relevant to your brand(s). An internal desk review often gives a good starting point to a more extensive research project – by establishing a comprehensive understanding of where your brands are today – we know where the gaps are and what questions to ask if we were to conduct qualitative or quantitative research.
An external brand audit looks to ensure the representation of your brand identity is consistently accurate, and that it reflects an instantly recognisable brand. A brand audit can provide valuable insights into inconsistencies in your brand presentation and how to improve or realign your brand with your brand positioning. An external brand audit can demonstrate how widely your brand is understood and valued by your organisation. A brand that is continually being compromised visually could be a sign of a brand that is not universally embraced inside your organisation. Conducting an audit prior to the end of the financial year means that you have the opportunity to allocate budget to address any particular problem areas.
For more information about what a typical desk research review and brand audit involves, download our comprehensive Guide to Brand Research.
Despite a more optimistic budget outlook, uncertainty remains. Customer needs have inevitably changed over the past 12 months, as have their expectations and requirements of brands.
The ongoing turbulence and rapidly changing marketplace have seen new and different competitors and technologies rise to the fore, just as quickly as customers themselves have evolved. The way customers previously interacted with brands may have changed, their personal priorities may have altered, and even their attitudes to value for money won’t necessarily be consistent with a year or two ago.
It is vital to invest in keeping your knowledge of your customers up to date.
Many organisations believe brand research should only really be conducted when there is a problem that needs solving – but this is a very small part of the larger and more important role that research should play.
In this ever changing landscape, smaller, more focussed ‘check-ins’ with your customers will ensure your brand continues to remain relevant and will act as a solid foundation upon which you can continue to strengthen your brand.
Every role within your organisation becomes easier with a clear brand positioning and customer value proposition. Everything from strategic decision making, product development, marketing communications, customer service right down to closing the sale.
For your sales team, an understanding of the clear and unique offering that your business presents, as well as how this turns up for each customer segment, can help ensure the sales process is smoother and delivered with complete clarity every time.
Equipping your team with a customer value proposition for each target audience will empower them to outline the exact benefits of your product and service in a way that strengthens your brand and allows them to deliver a better experience for your customers.
If you would like to read more about crafting a compelling customer value proposition, especially in the context of financial services organisations, click here.
A strong brand is brought to life through its people. Every employee within the organisation needs to live and breathe the brand on an ongoing basis if they are to deliver the brand experience daily to your customers.
An effective employee value proposition (EVP) is the cornerstone of any employee engagement strategy – it gives your team a ‘reason to believe’. It helps your employees understand who you are, where you are all going, and what role they play in the future of your organisation.
A well-articulated EVP will help you both attract and then retain employees who are a good cultural match for your organisation.
Building a strong employee brand offers an incredible opportunity to extend your brand’s reach, reduce recruitment spend, attract the brightest and best, build relationships with clients, and drive business growth. If you would like to read more about developing a strong employee value proposition for your organisation, click here.
The measures outlined in this article are designed to ensure your brand is positioned optimally for the next financial year and beyond. By ensuring brand plays an important role in any planning cycle, you can achieve more sustainable, ongoing brand health.
A well-evidenced internal strategy, a consistently applied identity, a deep understanding of your customers, a strong brand positioning and a workforce that is armed with the tools to be brand advocates for your business will help drive tangible sales outcomes, improve recruitment and retention and drive overall business growth.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a position of budget surplus as we wrap up FY20/21, you should consider reaching out to BrandMatters and explore these measures which will help position your brand optimally for the next period of economic growth.