Every spring, I get an itch to go through my closets and rid myself of clothes that no longer seem to suit me. What begins as a sartorial purging usually expands into a clearing out and cleaning up of my desk drawers, computer desktop and office files. Over the last few years, I've expanded this list to include an annual spring-cleaning of my brand.
Brands are organic -- they grow and change over time. Without a regular review, they can become stale. To give your brand a good dusting off this season, consider the following:
1. Re-evaluate your audience.
This past week I was doing a brand renewal session with one of my clients, an executive coach who works with solopreneurs and small group practices in the health care field. We looked at her current ideal client profile and realized that she needed to adjust her target audience to include the larger health care system as well. Taking a fresh look at your audience at least once a year gives you the opportunity to trim the fat, get rid of the deadwood and plan to go after markets that can become a source of new business.
Is it time to adjust the clients and customers I serve by either starting or stopping work with a particular audience?
2. Update your offerings.
In today's world, business climates and customer needs shift on an ongoing basis. Spring is a great time to step back and take a closer look at current industry trends, significant changes in the markets you serve, and what your competitors are doing -- all balanced, of course, by the financial impact of what you offer. For example, if you have services that cost you more than they generate in the long-term, consider dropping them from your offering. Likewise, there may be services or products you either aren't providing or aren't promoting sufficiently that have the potential to be highly profitable.
What services and products do I need to start promoting, offering or retire to better serve my customer base and improve my profitability?
3. Spruce up your social media profiles.
Recently I went to the LinkedIn page of one of my new clients. Not only was his profile light on content (no recommendations and sketchy bio details), but much of it was obsolete as well. I wish I could say this was just a freak anomaly -- but I can't. Outdated social media profiles are the most common (and easily fixed) branding mistake I run across when I begin working with a new client.
Refresh all your social media profiles this time of year by making sure you have added a current photo, website URL, company name and position. Include new projects, publications or other relevant achievements. In addition, if you have a branded visual look for your website, carry it through to your Twitter and Facebook backgrounds.
Are the profiles I have up on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as complete as I can make them and do they reflect who I am today?
4. Take stock of what's being said. Enter your personal and business name into a Google search and see what comes up. What articles, blog posts and other content are determining how you are being branded on the Internet? For an even deeper look, set up a Google Alert for yourself and your company so that anytime you get mentioned in cyberspace, you're notified. It's surprising how infrequently people do this. While you can't control what comes up on a Google search, you can take actions via SEO, link building and other activities to bring certain items higher up or lower down on the search results.Ask yourself: Do I have any out-of-date or undesirable information coming up in searches that's within my power to remove or update?Related: How to Do an SEO Audit of Your Website