Its Springtime! – Time to dust off that Brand.

With spring time comes spring cleaning. Dusting off the shelves, cleaning out the garage (still need to do that!…), and just a general wash down and clean up – it’s work, but it really feels good when you are all done!

Spring is a great time of year. Finally, FINALLY, the color green returns, flowers sprout, and everyone has a little more spring in their step as the sun gradually warms up the world.

So how about spring cleaning your brand? In the winter of 09, (actually all last year) many companies “hunkered down” just to make it through the recession. Amidst the layoffs and reduced sales, marketing and promotional activities also took a hit. Even though studies have shown that those who kept up their marketing activities in bad times come out of recessionary periods earlier and faster than those who didn’t –many companies just couldn’t do what they needed to do in regards to Brand building and marketing.

Now’s the time to get started.

Your brand is you life blood, it’s who you are—the soul of your company. EVERY marketing tactic, whether it’s a web site, a business card, or how you answer the phone is part of your brand.

Dusting off your Brand-

Let’s look at some basics to get you started this spring. We ask the question of our clients—Who are you, What do you do, and Why does it matter? These questions seem simple enough—but sometimes hard to answer—especially that last one.

You’ve heard the phrase “elevator speech”. That’s when someone says “Tell me about your company” when at a party, a trade show, or at lunch—or yeah, on the elevator. Do you have a concise statement that can answer all three questions? Do some work this spring on your elevator speech. The process of thinking through this is invaluable. After the elevator speech, you might be asked—“Wow, tell me more…” That’s when you might want to tell your back story…

Back Story-

I really like this concept. Every Brand should have a Back Story. Basically, the premise is that every brand has a story—a story of how they got started, why they do what they do…. Brands don’t start at launch, they’ve been around awhile, and they have a story. And though a brand’s franchise is an important statement that tells us who the brand is, it doesn’t tell how the brand was born, or why it came to be. That’s why every brand needs a back story. Or else, why should anyone trust that brand? After analyzing a few brands’ websites and history, it was easy to see the ingredients in a great brand story: information delivered straight from the source and authentic. With authenticity comes transparency and credibility. The voice of the back story – whether that’s the company president or the employees also lends itself to credibility.

Look at these Stories:

One of my favorite companies is Kashi. Great marketing. Their story is told from both their marketing team and their product developers, inviting consumers to “meet us” on their website. Did you know they only have 70 employees?

Another one is Ocean Spray. Their story is told by a collective of three cranberry growers, citing their history as well as the history of cranberries and grapefruit.

And the back story isn’t just a timeline and history of when Grandpa started the company, it’s the story of why.

What our brand samples are doing is a key example of a brand connecting with consumers on their level—a personal level. They’re not talking down to consumers – they’re talking with consumers. And with that approach, it opens up dialogue between the brand and the consumer.

So, as part of your spring cleaning, do you have a concise elevator speech and brand back story? Sit out on the porch, watch the season come alive, and dust off your brand. Happy Spring from Force 5!