Review, refresh and renew your brand by using this simple list.

Arthur Germain

January 10, 2024

7 Min Read
7 tips to boost brand performance in 2024
wacomka/Shutterstock

It’s January 2024 and time to make all your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, eat better, exercise more, be a better employer, employee, mother, father, sister – oh, brother. Forget all of that. Let’s talk about your brand and a simple seven-point checklist for making sure it’s performing at its best for the new year.

Why Should You Use a Brand Checklist?

You closed out the prior year (depending on how you clock your fiscal year) and now you’re making plans for the new year. Perhaps you’re getting ready for your annual sales meeting, where you plan to rally the troops to new heights and encourage them to innovate and build new customer relationships. You have a lot on your plate – I get it! That’s why I am providing you with a simple, straightforward checklist that you can use to evaluate and make meaningful changes that will improve your brand for the year to come.

Here's why I recommend a checklist for your brand: I drive a Honda Accord. It’s my second, and the fourth Honda we’ve owned as a family. It’s a good, solid car. It drives well and gets me where I need to go without problems. So far, that’s not a glowing reference. Here’s why I love the car – the service that I get at my local Honda Center in Huntington Long Island is the absolute best. Our cars feel like they are brand-new every time we get them back from even the smallest service appointment. The service team is smart, honest and always able to take care of any problems my family and I have encountered. I won’t take our cars anywhere else for service.

Related:9 Secrets to Building Your Killer Personal Brand Story

Here is their secret: They use checklists whenever they assess our cars. They check multiple aspects of the car, not just the things that I tell them might not be working. Sometimes they spot something that can become a big problem down the road – like pulling to the left that turned out to be a loose − and almost broken − tie rod end that could have become a steering danger on the highway.

7-Point Brand Checklist to Improve Your Brand’s Performance

I don’t think your brand is in danger of a collision on the highway, but it’s still a good idea to review the following checklist from time to time to ensure that your brand is performing at its best when you’re taking it out for a spin with prospects and customers. Many of these points have to do with maintaining a baseline of consistency and performance for your brand.

  1. Has your brand story changed? Everything changes over time and your brand story isn’t any different. Have you added new services or practice areas? Have you removed older service areas? Has your office become more of a “hands-on demo center” for client visits? I began my agency providing “technology public relations,” then began focusing on “content marketing,” and later I changed the focus and name to reflect my services around “brand storytelling.” It’s important to review how you’re describing your brand from the perspective of your customers. Speaking of customers

  2. Have your customers changed? Many companies find that over time, as they change their services focus, they are also serving new customers. You may find yourself serving specific vertical industries or working with different titles within the companies that you already serve. This is important to note, because your brand messages and stories need to be tailored to the specific people you want to reach. Generic views of “the customer” will not serve you as you grow.

  3. Does your brand name still fit? As you’re growing and perhaps moving into new geographies or offering new services, does your current brand name reflect these changes? If you’ve acquired another firm or changed the focus of your services, for example, it might be time to consider a new brand name that better signifies your new achievements.

  4. Do your logo, typeface and color palette still work? I recently was asked to review a corporate visual identity for a company that wanted to appear fresh and innovative. I had to gently tell them that the typeface they had selected was designed in the 1920s and while it is a usable and clean font, it is not “new” or “cutting edge.” Similarly, you should determine whether your logo, colors and typeface still work for you and convey the voice and tone that you want to represent your firm.

  5. Does your website work? I am going to get a lot of mail for this one, but I think that most MSP and SP websites are difficult to navigate and contain too many laundry lists of products, services and solutions. It’s often difficult to tell the difference between a service and a solution. And it can be difficult to tell the difference between one MSP and another based purely on the website. Your website must be built to allow your customers to easily navigate and determine the information and direction that you are providing. If they have to hunt through endless pages – or use broken links and plug-ins that are no longer supported – they are going to bounce pretty quickly.

  6. Are your presentations performing on brand? This sounds like a typical marketing concern, “How well is your X performing?” But I want you to consider whether your sales presentations are still on brand. Have your salespeople changed the nice decks your marketing team or expensive outside agency developed? I’ve seen older logos, different typefaces and color palettes, and completely different messaging because a sales person thought it looked better that way. The challenge is reining in these changes once they are 10 or more iterations away from your original design.

  7. How do your blogs, podcasts and videos sound? It’s always good practice to review and refresh your blog articles, podcasts and videos. Use your Brand Storybook to guide you as you audit your content and make necessary changes. Read or listen through articles and podcasts to see whether they are still on message. If not, update them with current content and information or remove them. Don’t forget to double-check your call-to-action statements and links as well.

Related:Are You Building Thought Leadership for Your Brand or Just Following the Crowd?

Bonus Item: What has happened to your collateral (including business cards)? Finally, take a good look at your collateral, stationery and business cards. Often these get changed on the fly – some of the team are building them in InDesign, some are using Canva and some are updating Word documents. Also check the downloadable collateral on your website – are these the correct, most recent and best versions of your brochures, e-books and white papers? If you have updated your look and feel (logo, typeface, colors) are the changes reflected in all your collateral and business cards?

Related:Are You Building Thought Leadership for Your Brand or Just Following the Crowd?

I attended a tradeshow once where I wandered into a large booth and exchanged cards with a few people. I noticed that one of the cards I received didn’t match the logo on the booth and the person who handed me his card explained, “Oh, yeah. Those are my old cards. I have 500 of them I thought I would get rid of at this show.” Quick, someone call the corporate brand police!

Some of the items on this list may feel like housekeeping tasks – and that is perfectly fine. You are conducting a brand performance audit across your brand’s marketing toolset and some things will require greater amounts of strategy, while other items are more tactics-based. Use the checklist to keep yourself on task and on goal to deliver stronger brand performance this year or whenever you conduct your brand audit.

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About the Author(s)

Arthur Germain

Brandtelling

Arthur Germain is the principal and chief brandteller at Brandtelling. He has recently authored a book called "The Art of Brandtelling: Brand Storytelling for Business Success," available in paperback, Kindle and e-book formats. Visit TheArtofBrandtelling.com for information.

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