Brand management these days is an awful lot like raising a teenager. You pay bills, provide clothes, food, medicine, and the latest gadgets to keep them happy, safe, full, looking their best, and financially secure. Yet at the end of the day, you have almost no control over what that teenager will choose to become in a world with so many influencers.

Any great parent will tell you that raising a child becomes easier when you stop trying to force them to achieve what you want, and start working to help them achieve their goals. That can only happen when you are listening to what they want – and helping them get there.

When it comes to your brand, the same idea applies.  Rather than focusing all of your energy on forcing it to be what you want it to be, you must take the time to understand who your brand is and what it wants.

We all know you can be the reason your brand grows up to be a hot mess! Can you ensure your brand grows up to be all it can be?  Here are a few tips:

1. Listen to what your target audience and customers are saying

If you aren’t using tools to gain visibility into your social channels, you may not be really listening to everything the internet has to offer you.  In fact, you may not be using one of the best outlets to truly understand your audience.  They are the ones that help shape your brand.

“Sales organizations must find new methods to determine how much a prospect knows, how interested or engaged they are, and where they are in the buying process. And all of it must happen in real-time. If businesses can’t find a way to recognize these buying signals and adapt their selling processes accordingly, they risk losing their competitive edge and becoming obsolete.”

 

– LiveHive

2. Don’t Expect Overnight Change

Both changing a culture and promoting an already healthy culture present many challenges. It’s important to understand changing anything regarding your brand will take effort and monitoring to find the right tweaks. Maybe it’s promoting your Taco Tuesday on social channels more. Maybe it’s finding better ways to enable your human capital to grow into thought leaders. What’s right for you needs to stem from inside first. Set realistic timelines for change and figure out the best ways to keep everyone motivated towards achieving milestones. Time flies when you are having fun, so make it easier on your whole organization and reduce deadline related stress.

“Getting paid, owned and earned media to work in tandem, enhancing the effect of each, is the ultimate goal, but it requires a fully integrated marketing structure.”

 

– Alistair Green, head of strategy, Mindshare

3. Finding the Most Important Thing

It’s hard for adults, let alone teenagers, to understand what is going to keep them happy through life. Tapping into the core belief and values of a company will take nothing short of a ton of work. There may be some hard feelings and awkwardness, but that is your company growing up! It will come out the other side stronger, more focused, and capable of generating the type of life it has always wanted… the one that makes you the happiest parent in town, no PTA politicking required!

“The first step out of the gate has to be knowing where you want to end up. What do you really want from your company?” 

 

– Stan Slap

4. The Right Mix of Tough Love

We can’t very well let the teenagers of the world go out and just do anything they determine is right in the moment. Setting up guidelines and rules that keep the culture healthy but most importantly respected are critical. Employees need to know exactly what is (and isn’t) part of the culture. Defining the principles and values they are expected to uphold are really the only ways to be certain you’re being listened to.

“Every product and facility detail — and every employee act — must exemplify the brand promise.”

 

-Robin William

Bonus Tip

Make your employees knowledgeable of what is, and is not, part of your brand. The best way to manage a brand is to manage the people behind it. Let the internet guide you. For more help, talk to some of the parents in your company. I bet they could tell you a thing or two about changing a stubborn mind!

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