The Most Important Audit You Can Do.
by Shane O’Neill, VP
Retailers often review various aspects of their business. Whether it’s their website, POS software, accounting, etc. Yet, few ever audit their most important asset; their brand.
Auditing your brand is important because it allows your business to adapt and adjust to the changing times, and times are changing more than ever. The fact is, seasons change, people change, and your brand should also change. Your brand goes much further than your logo, it defines what you represent, your message, and of course, your identity. These all come together in the form of internal actions, customer interaction, and visual communication.
Let’s start with your logo. For some reason, some businesses get hung up on their logo. Maybe they have a personal connection with whoever designed it, or it’s been in use for so long that they feel it’s part of their history and serves as an iconic, recognizable mark. While that may be true, logos rarely stand the test of time. The truth is logos should be evaluated every five years or so. Is it still current? Does it provide an adequate function for the types of marketing you do? Social and digital marketing is a great example of how logos, and potentially adding a brand mark, need to be considered for this disruptive shift. However, other things like font and color styles change over time. These are important in keeping your brand fresh and not dated, especially if you’re trying to reach the younger bridal generation.
Reputations are made by the consistency of actions. If you don’t have a “mission plan” or your mission plan is “to sell more jewelry”, you’re missing the point. Actually, the term mission plan is rather antiquated in itself. Let’s call this your Value Proposition, which is to say the promises you make to your customers. What does your brand represent and support, and what will you consistently deliver to your customers 24/7?
Of course, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That first impression, today, usually comes by way of your marketing. People “shop” online first in today’s e-commerce economy. Visual communication is super important. If your logo, font usage, design, and message come off as dated and stodgy, well, that’s an uphill battle with bridal customers. Marketing is also key in defining your Value Proposition. Finally, let’s not forget the store itself. The look, feel, and yes, the smell of retail stores need to make the customer feel welcome and reinforce everything else you do to brand/position your business.
All of these things help develop your identity over time. It requires consistent thought and evaluation. Remember, your brand is your business’s style. You’re not still wearing your clothes from the ‘80s and driving a Conquest TSI are you? Well, neither should your brand. So take a good hard look. Maybe it’s time to take your business shopping for new clothes, new style, and a new focus. If you’ve never gone through this process before, now is the time. I guarantee it can do nothing but improve your business, so no excuses.
Remember, there ain’t nothing to it, but to do it.