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How do you future-proof a brand against challenging times?

Whether it’s a pandemic or a recession, we live in incredibly fast-paced and turbulent times. Which means it’s more important than ever to ensure your brand is fit for purpose and ready for what’s around the corner.

And this is all well and good – but how on earth do you make this happen. Whilst there’s no silver bullet, from many years spent helping clients do just this, we’ve three top tips to how to future-proof your brand to succeed, whatever comes your way:

1. Understand. Understand. Understand.

We use what we call our ABC model – which helps us look at every angle of the problem to find the right solution. This means looking at your Audience, Brand and Context with a magnifying glass to make sure you truly understand each facet – what drives your audience, what makes your brand stand out, what’s happening culturally that you need to be aware of and what your competition are up to that you need to compete against. And it’s really worth saying – whatever audience insight you did five years ago will be irrelevant by now. So with change coming, the first thing to do is reassess and reappraise who your customers are – are you still going after the same people? Do they still behave the same (probably not)? Have attitudes changed (probably)? So make sure you scrutinise every piece of insight you have, and don’t be afraid to throw out and recommission where necessary.

2. Develop, Deliver and Do.

Once you’ve really understood the situation, you need a plan to bring it to life. Developing a compelling strategy is one thing – but it’s got to be actionable. So think ‘delivery’ and ‘doing’ from the start. Don’t build a plan or strategy that looks great on paper but won’t work practically because it’s cost prohibitive or logistically impossible. Don’t build a brilliant strategy in silo, and forget about the stakeholders (including shareholders, colleagues and customers) who may need to approve it – bring them on the journey! And don’t ignore your employees who have to bring whatever you decide to life.

3. Refine. And Refine again.

The best laid plans don’t always come to fruition, as we all found out during Covid. Which is why no matter how brilliant your strategy is, it’s critical to test and assess performance against your original KPIs to ensure that your new brand strategy is really delivering the impact you need it to. Set up measurement metrics upfront, and check against these on a regular basis so you can move the needle early if needed!

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