Six Resolutions to Help Your Brand Succeed in 2016

2016-01-07-1452196284-6508442-NewYearImagery.jpegAs 2016 begins, it's time to take stock and reevaluate, pushing ourselves forward into the surprising and exciting year to come. How do we do that?

With resolutions, of course.

These promises we make to ourselves -- drink less, exercise more, be nicer to people -- invariably get broken months, weeks or sometimes just days into the new year. Occasionally, however, they stick. And when they do, we grow, progress and maybe even become better versions of ourselves.

Resolutions don't have to be personal, though. The new year is the perfect time to set some resolutions for your brand, making sure you provide the care and maintenance to help it succeed in 2016.

At Landor, recent research from our Global Agile Brand Study illuminated a common behavior of successful brands: agility. We learned that agile brands are the strongest brands, with consumers remembering, discussing, and preferring them over their competitors. To help ring in the new year, here are six recommendations to help your brand master agility and thrive in 2016.

Resolution #1: Lose weight

If your brand has been around for a while, chances are it's gotten a little pudgy over the years and is starting to show its age. Perhaps those younger, more agile brands are getting all the attention, or maybe people have become a bit foggy on what your brand really stands for.

Don't fret -- it's never too late to slim down your brand and focus on your core principles. Get the team together and make sure everyone knows who and what your brand is: What does it represent and what should it deliver to its customers? Shake off old practices that are no longer effective. The more you can provide people with fresh ways to experience your brand, the better your brand will resonate with customers.

Resolution #2: Get in shape

How well does your brand adjust to changing circumstances? If it's stodgy and unwilling to keep up with the times, it's going to fall behind. You don't want millennials -- proven to be increasingly fickle when it comes to brand loyalty -- looking to innovative competitors instead of to you.

To stay fit, agile brands are adaptive -- ready, willing, and able to meet challenges, find new targets, and take on the competition. Rather than a deterrent, risk makes nimble brands work harder and better. Don't be outpaced and outmaneuvered: Look ahead and make strategic changes that set trends and keep your brand on the cutting edge.

Resolution #3: Communicate openly

If yours is an older brand -- or a younger one still determining its identity -- it likely relies on the old model of one-way communication. Less-agile brands speak at their audiences, not to them, forgetting that their consumers are real people who want personalized, timely interactions.

Agile brands look for transparent ways to communicate with current customers and new audiences. This year, resolve to immerse your brand in more open communication and you'll discover that as your brand reaches out, customers, partners, and even entire communities will reach back. They are hungry to establish a dialog with their favorite brands, looking to co-create and customize for more fulfilling experiences.

Resolution #4: Act responsibly

When you're focused on building your brand, finding your audience, and staying afloat, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Consumers expect brands to share their concerns about the world in which we all live and to give back to the community, employees, and the planet.

One of the unsung ways agile brands differentiate themselves is by being responsible, particularly with audiences, employees, communities, and products. Examine the places where your brand makes those crucial connections and take action with responsible, on-brand initiatives.

Resolution #5: Get organized

There are myriad ways for your brand to connect with its consumers, and for consumers to connect with your brand. However, knowing when, where, and how to successfully reach your customers is imperative.

The new year is a great time to rethink your multichannel strategy, ensuring that your brand is speaking to its customers in the right places and in the right ways. Be prepared to jettison those golden oldies -- the channels that no longer serve the needs of your brand or audience -- and move on to the platforms that fit your brand best in today's world.

Resolution #6: Travel the globe

The world has become noticeably more connected over the past 20 years, thanks to inventions like the Internet. Even the smallest businesses are now global in nature, with fans, competitors, and critics weighing in from anywhere at any time.

Agile brands understand that to be as strong as possible, they have to be global. Even if your brand has no intention of expanding globally, taking note of how similar brands work in other places can help your brand realize new opportunities. Also, be sure your brand thinks globally but acts locally. Agile brands don't assume that because a strategy worked in one place it will work in another -- they customize to each unique market while maintaining a global lens.

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Well, friends, it's time to get down to business. Resolve to take a fresh look at your brand and decide which of these behaviors can best help it become stronger and more successful in 2016.

With that, I wish you all the best for a happy, healthy, and agile new year.

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Marc Hershon is Senior Manager of Naming and Verbal Identity for the San Francisco office of Landor.