Using the 1% rule to strengthen your brand

It’s incredibly tempting to start the new year with a list of goals you want to accomplish in the next 12 months. But, while the intention is very good, executing on multiple goals may turn out to be more onerous than you thought. (And when we don’t meet our goals as quickly as we thought we would, despondency often sets in.)

That’s where the 1% improvement rule can really open our minds to a new way of achieving improvement in our professional (and personal) lives.

Your brand won’t be strengthened in a day

There’s no doubt that setting goals is a worthwhile activity. But too often with goal setting, we focus heavily on the outcome and don’t pay attention to the process.

When we take the 1% rule approach, we flip this around. Now, our focus is on the processes required to improve rather than on the end goal. While we still have our work cut out for us, this approach helps us build a momentum that sees us making improvements on a daily basis. Goals, that at first could look like Everest on the horizon, suddenly become entirely doable.

How?

Simply by focusing on how you can make a 1% improvement every 24 hours. We’ve all heard the old chestnut that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well, it’s true.

So how can you put this knowledge into practise for your brand?

Focus on daily improvements for your brand

In reflecting your relationship with your customers, your brand is really shorthand for the commitment you make to your customers; after all, your brand is way more than your logo.

Commitments, by their very nature, take a lot of time. When you think of commitment in a branding context, Barry’s and Lyons tea give us all a masterclass. Looking at these two giant Irish brands, it’s easy to understand that your brand is not going to be improved or strengthened in one go.

But commit to making daily improvements to your brand and there’s no limit to what you can achieve.  After all, 1% improvements add up quickly on a consecutive basis.

What can you do on a daily basis to strengthen your brand? The answer is a lot!

  • Recognise and reward customer loyalty – We hear a lot about delighting the customer. But if online forums, review sites and research reports are anything to go by, not many customers are feeling it. 

Delighting your customer really isn’t that difficult to do. Nor do delights have to take the form of a discount. Respond to emails and phone calls on time, resolve issues quickly, prevent problems from happening again the next time your customer buys from you, act on feedback etc. Improving how you and your team delivers all of these different experiences on a day by day basis will go a long way to building customer loyalty for your brand.

  • Create employee advocates – Word of mouth marketing is still the bullseye marketing channel to build for your business. However, we often overlook the number one resource right under our noses that can help us do this. Our team. 

Your staff can help you increase the reach your company has if you motivate them to become employee advocates. The way to do this is to make them proud of your company and empower them to promote your brand. Developing a simple common message that employees can take to heart and share with customers is a good start.

  • Build a strong internal culture – No matter what size your company is, building a strong internal culture is always a good idea. Not only does a robust company culture motivate employees to become brand ambassadors, it also helps you attract the top performers when you are recruiting. 

And that’s just one reason why company culture is becoming so important. It takes a few different ingredients to build a strong internal culture, but two of the most important are: identify your company’s purpose and communicate it clearly with your whole organisation.

  • Understand the link between your brand and pricing – A strong brand increases the desirability customers feel for it. Just think of Apple, Nike or Starbucks as some examples.

There’s no doubt that the product or service you provide is key to the success of your business. But it’s your brand that will make you stand out from other suppliers in your field.

Valuable branding conveys a message to your customers (and potential customers) of the type of quality and experience they can expect when they buy from you. In 2020, it’s a smart strategy to articulate exactly what your company does, and why you do it, to your customers in order to charge a fair premium for your products and services.

  • Invest in your marketing and advertising – You might not employ a whole team of marketing professionals, but investing thoughtfully in whatever marketing activities you run for your business is worthwhile. Investment also doesn’t have to mean spending money, but carving out a marketing budget, even a modest one, will pay dividends.

Your marketing channel is the conduit to communicating your brand to your customers. This could be social media, PR, sponsorship of local (or national) sports teams, advertising, networking or any other activity.

Take some time over the next 12 months to run a marketing audit, and develop marketing materials that can be put to good use by your entire organisation and others in your network.

Consistency delivers results

Whatever aspect of your brand you choose to pay attention to in 2020, remember that consistent commitment is the key to achieving what you want.

Keep at it, and don’t be disheartened by any challenges or obstacles that might arise. There’s gold to be found in the ongoing work of building and strengthening your brand.

Begin now, focus on one small improvement every day, and think about the huge wins your brand can enjoy when the end of this year comes into view.