April 16, 2014

Clean out your brand closet

Like your wardrobe, brands can accumulate many layers over the years.

Like your wardrobe, brands can accumulate many layers over the years.

Some fashion trends stick around for way, way too long. And some stuff just stays in your closet way, way too long. You know what I’m talking about: that loud pair of platforms and that mohair turtleneck sweater you just had to have when you were 17. But somewhere in all that mess, you have a look that is true to you. That’s why, at least once a year, it’s a great idea to purge. And what better time than spring?

Dive into your closet with ruthless fervor. Try everything on and ask yourself the following about each piece: Have you worn it in the past 12 months? Does putting it on make you feel fabulous? Is it stained or ripped? Does it look like seven other shirts you own in the same color? Does it reflect who you are? Does it fit? This will help you figure out what you absolutely must keep.

Now make three piles:

Donate. It’s cute and all, but you can’t picture yourself wearing it ever again.

Sell. It was an investment piece gone awry and someone else will love it.

Discard. It’s not worthy of the two other piles.

You’ll be amazed at how cutting the clutter in your closet can help you define your style. And, if this process is too tough, bring in a friend who can persuade you to part with that ratty high school sweatshirt. Plus, you’ll have someone to help you drink wine.

You can also apply the same approach to the daunting task of assessing your company’s brand. Take inventory of what’s out there. Talk to the people who have the greatest impact on your business. Do your employees love working there or are they disgruntled? Do customers truly understand your core messaging and what your product or service is all about? Will people find the same version of your logo when they look at your website, newsletter and business cards?

Just as when you clean out your closet, you’ll probably find there are pieces of the brand worth holding on to. Maybe it’s the mission statement or the tagline that still rings true. On the flip side, there are bound to be elements that detract from the main message of your brand. Put them out of their misery (along with that high school sweatshirt). You want your brand to be simple, straightforward and poised to withstand the test of time.

Overwhelmed? Your drinking buddy probably isn’t the best choice for this spring cleaning. You need creative and tactical minds to help you build on your company’s equity and point you in the direction you need to head. That’s why you hire an agency. You’ll wind up with a rejuvenated brand that will engage and persuade your audience for years to come.

Like your wardrobe, brands can accumulate many layers over the years, and it’s more likely than not you’ll need to weed through a lot of clutter to get back to the basics. In the future, choose wisely and always put quality over quantity — it’s better to work towards that one investment piece rather than picking up three poorly made pieces on sale. Because nobody wants a brand with hologram-sparkly platform shoes.