Ruts. We all get into them. The goal is to get out of them, quickly – and for a brand this can be especially challenging and often saddled with cost implications.
A common knee-jerk reaction is to do something big and drastically change things up. While this may be warranted in some cases, brand managers also need the green light from those who will foot the bill for shifts in marketing strategy. Having strong rationale in place to validate a change in approach can be the difference between an ill-advised leap and calculated risk.
Taking a calculated risk doesn’t require relying on gut intuition. It’s about recognizing performance realities and probing the depths of creativity within the proper context. Consider the following as you push the brand envelope:
ACKNOWLEDGE THE SIGNS. Knowing when it’s time to part ways with a business as usual or we’ve always done it this way approach is critical. Few branding strategies are developed with the goal of maintaining the status quo. Examine your brand and determine if your content marketing is static. Are you sharing real insights or uninspiring information? Do events offer anything new or do they come off as old activities that have been recycled for a new calendar year? If you’re seeing diminishing returns, then it’s time to rethink your engagement strategy.
EXPLORE YOUR BRAND CHARACTER. This doesn’t suggest you do something out of character. Every well-conceived brand should have a brand roadmap that also reveals brand characteristics. And, much like people you’re trying to reach, you’ll recognize that brands are equally multifaceted. But chances are several facets of the brand personality have been overlooked for those that have taken priority. If your brand is in a rut, explore its character traits as they may offer ways to present the brand and its offerings in a fresh light and meaningful ways to your audience.
KEEP IT IN CONTEXT. A calculated risk doesn’t mean ignoring strategy, data or your values. It’s also not about shock and awe. It simply means taking a different approach to reaching the same desired outcome. Keep focused on the main thing as you explore and test new ways of getting there.
GIVE IT AMPLE TIME & RESOURCES. This is true for existing strategies as well as new marketing approaches. While you may feel compelled to abandon a campaign that is lacking traction, first confirm you’ve devoted the right talent for the job, given it the proper time to work, and the opportunity to tweak or perform the necessary triage to salvage good ideas that haven’t fully come to life yet. In a world that craves instant gratification, be patient. Your marketing budget just may thank you.
We’ve heard it before: no risk, no reward. Just make sure those risks are calculated. You’ll likely earn the opportunity to take more of them, especially when performance reaps the reward.