Fine Tuning Your Brand

You’ve built your brand. Another year has come and gone and it’s time for a little TLC. Of course your brand’s maintenance schedule is a function of the type of brand you’ve built - generic, luxury or any variant in between - as well as your brand's life-stage. However, there are a few exercises that all brand types, at any life-stage, can benefit from - at least annually.

Review Marketing Materials
All official communications should be clear and concise. Electronic and print materials must convey exactly who you are, what you do, and how you can help the customer. Accurate portrayal is especially crucial with these mediums, as you may not be present to provide conversation and environmental cues such as tone and body language, as well as the ability to immediately correct a misstatement. 

SEE: 5 Branding Mistakes to Avoid

Approximately 90% of successful communication is based on the communication experience, not just words therefore, it is often helpful to revisit written verbiage, so that the correct tone can be inferred. If you are able to distance yourself and view your materials from a fresh perspective and with objectivity, you can complete this exercise yourself. Otherwise implore a friend, a colleague, or a professional.

Design Your Space
Be “matchy-matchy” online and offline; matching sets and insane quantities of repetition are always a must for brand recognition and a sense of brand enthusiasm. Your electronic and print media mirror the color scheme of your logo. Posters, cups, t-shirts, pens, etc. fill a space to the extent that you, as the owner, think that it may be slightly overdone; then you add a few more items for good measure. Remember, you see this stuff all of the time; however, it may be new to your audience. Your audience should feel immersed in the experience that is uniquely your brand.

If you have an eye for design, a once per year revisit of your electronic media, your brick and mortar layout, or your tradeshow plan is certainly in order. If you do not have an artistic bone in your body please do not try this at home - hire a professional.

SEE: Social Media: Aiming To Create an Experience

Embrace Inevitable Difference
You have done the research, you’ve identified your target market, and you know the demographics inside and out. However, don’t be a know-it-all as there is always a segment that does not fit neatly into a preconceived category. Also, there are always unforeseen interrelationships. Be open to this segment and phenomenon. When possible, fine tune your approach and find out what draws this “unknown” contingent to your brand. Embracing the difference can help you learn more about your brand’s reception and enable you to capitalize on the not-previously-identified strengths and opportunities.

SEO Still Matters
When you have an online presence, like it or not, Search Engine Optimization matters. So, take a few minutes to check your keywords against current ratings and your actual site message; tweak and update as necessary. Boring, yes; however, your customers will love you for it!

About the Author

Maisha Smart, MBA founded Finance and Marketing to help small businesses excel, by bridging the gap between finance and marketing processes. Some of her favorite activities include fine arts, a good debate, and social engagement.

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  1. Just been through a mini-branding exercise on my main site. As you say, consistency is the key - 90% of communication being based on the experience itself is an interesting stat in this respect. Can you say where it came from?

    Will :)

  2. Hi Will, forgive me for not posting a reference; I definitely took this notion for granted as I wrote about this topic. More than likely, my original reference is buried in a text book somewhere so I'm attaching an electronic reference. The study of human communications remains a controversial area with research results stating that anywhere from 50% to 93% of communication relies on non-verbal cues. When I was learning about this area the prevailing research stated 87%. Thanks for commenting! :)