New Year resolutions don't just have to be for individuals. The idea of improving, quitting bad habits and enjoying a more productive, successful year can be just as valid for business and teams.
Here are some resolutions you may want to consider for your brand to avoid the pitfalls others experienced in 2017.
1. I will test my products rigorously with my audience before I launch them.
Were you to ask any product developer, they would assure you they test products before launch. However the record books suggest some tests are not as thorough as others, with 2017 seeing the arrival of a few poorly received product developments.
This can easily become an issue for your brand. A poorly received product update can alienate your customers, as we saw with reactions to Dove's new bottle shapes in early May 2017. Dove made the move to highlight differences in body shapes amongst their customers, through creating different shaped shampoo bottles. The premise being, customers can find the right shaped bottole to match their body.
The bottle shapes were a miss-step for Dove, and were quickly discontinued. The launch shifted brand perceptions in their customer base. This is best described by the Drum which commented:
"By translating their great campaigns into a physical manifestation, they’ve taken the brand from being a silent ally in-store to a very in-your-face cheerleader."
The lesson here for others is that increased rigor in product testing to gauge market reaction more accurately should decrease the chance of this happening to you in 2018.
2. I will take great care when associating my brand with current events
The last thing most brands want is to appear out-of-touch, or not in-step with the sensitivities of their audience. However, care must be taken when looking to make populist statements or attach your brand to politically sensitive issues. Serious analysis of consumer sentiment should go into any campaigns that plan to link your brand to politically sensitive issues that could backfire.
There were some good examples of positive brand association when Prince passed away in 2016:
In 2017 Pepsi tried to take things a bit too far, through using a peace and hope themed advert featuring Kendall Jenner set against the backdrop of protests against police brutality. The advert was not well received.
Pepsi stood accused of undermining the Black Lives Matter movement, and there were calls for a boycott of the product on social media. Pepsi acted swiftly and the advert was quickly withdrawn, but not before the brand had taken some serious damage. A special mention should also go to Nivea and their quickly discontinued "white is purity" ad also launched in April 2017.
The lesson for other brands is to assess the mood of consumers, and understand how the message you're planning to lead with will be translated by your target audience before rolling out the campaign. If they don't see it as authentic (or worse, they interpret it as distasteful), then you'll have the necessary data to avoid any wide fallout.
3. I will be careful when engaging with influencers.
YouTube stars and influencers have huge reach with billions of daily views on YouTube, meaning they can place your brand in front of difficult to reach demographics in a cost-effective manner. However, associating your brand with one of these influencers can seriously backfire if the judgment of your influencer is called into question.
This has recently occurred with an internet storm engulfing Logan Paul as he shared and publicised a video of him and some friends making fun of the body of a suicide victim. Logan Paul further incurred the wrath of the internet with an insincere and self aggrandising apology video, to the extent that he recorded another more trite version. Paul has worked with brands such as Walmart and Dunkin Donuts, among others.
Even when your influencer is on message, a campaign can still go badly wrong as we saw with Katie Price's 'You're not you when you're hungry' campaign for Snickers. Katie tweeted detailed economical analysis under the guise that this was out of charachter, hence you're not you when you're hungry.
The big reveal came after several tweets had been posted, with Katie Price posing next to a Snickers bar and all the relevent hashtags. Unfortunatley, as the reveal was at the end of a series of tweets, many of Katie's followers thought she had been hacked and were confused. The campaign was later cleared of any wrong-doing by the UK's Advertising Standards Agency, in the agency's first investigation into influencer marketing.
The lesson here is to be very confident your chosen influencers, and their own personal styles, will work with your brand and be embraded by your customers.
4. I will work closely with my Paid search and SEO team
Whilst not the most glamorous of resultions, getting to know and working closely with your search team or agency could be the best decision you make this year. Branded search volume, the number of searches on Google for your brand, along with direct traffic are all indicators of the impact of your branded campaigns.
Working with your search team to analyse the data available around who is searching for your brand, which device they are using and when they are most likely to search can be very useful when planning branded activity.
This data will be readily available to any search team and can help you gather customer intelligence. Branded search data provides an excellent way to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns as well as planning the optimal times to execute brand campaigns.
Multiple studies have revealed that search results for more recognisable brands get clicked on more, and can rank higher under new algorithm updates from Google. So your search team may well become very interested in what you are doing too.
It's also likely your performance marketing teams will want to speak with you more in 2018, with plenty of evidence emerging that brand significantly impacts their results.
5. I will conduct regular brand audits and gather the brand intelligence I need for growth
Regularly auditing perceptions of your brand amongst consumers is the best way to understand the impact your brand campaigns are having. We recommend running a brand audit at least once a quarter to generate enough intelligence for valuable comparison.
When running a brand audit, it is key to speak to both customers and potential customers as this will give you a holostic view of your market, which will lead to better decision making. Speaking to only your customer base, or listening too intently to those that shout loudest on social media can often lead to poor decision making.
Running a survey with a series of questions on awareness, sentiment and purchase intent comparing your brand and those of your competitor's can provide valuable intelligence that when acted on can be a key driver for growth.
Here at Attest, we think we have the answer and everything you need to gather brand intelligence for a successful 2018. But don't take our word for it, here's what some of our customers have to say about our brand intelligence products.
Thanks for reading and here's to a successful 2018!