Make Your Brand a Superhero: Reboot the Franchise!

Posted by Sarah Chew on September 20, 2011  |   No Comments »

As the year 2011 concludes, this is the ideal time to take a good look at your company’s brand identity to make sure it’s positioned for success in 2012. While doing so, you may find that you’re due to reboot the franchise – that is, update and refurbish your branding to keep your brand fresh to your target market.

In this context, “franchise” doesn’t literally apply to a business franchise. The term “reboot the franchise” comes from pop culture to refer to the updating of a popular series of movies, comic books, etc., featuring an iconic character – such as Superman or Batman.

The idea behind rebooting the franchise recognizes that people will always be interested in classic superheroes, but that their stories occasionally need to be reinvented to be relevant to today’s audience. In a movie reboot, for example, special effects are state-of-the-art, the hero uses the latest technology and there may be a new storyline that expands his or her personal mythos.

Brands need to reboot for the same reasons. No matter what the demographic group of your product or business, the background, experiences and expectations of each generation changes. Even if your target market is males ages 18 to 24, today’s generation is different from males in that age group in the year 2000 – with different points of historical/cultural/social reference and different experiences with technology. Does your branding take these changes into account, or are you still talking to a long-gone 64-bit audience in an HD 3D world?

Because the ability of your brand to evolve and renew is essential in growing market share, look at the following components of your branding to see if it needs rebooting:

Advertising – Do all elements of your advertising work together to deliver a consistent, cohesive brand message? Is graphic design both attractive and impactful? Unless your brand identity is deliberately retro, make sure graphic design, colors and messaging aren’t stuck in a time warp. Hint: nothing screams “Miami Vice ‘80s” like mauve and teal.

Marketing Materials – Consider the same elements as advertising, as well as the quality of such printed materials as brochures, pocket folders, direct mail pieces, etc. The importance you place on the appearance of these pieces is also part of your branding. And make sure you’re keeping up with innovative ways of targeting your market, such as QR codes, variable data printing and personal URLs (PURLs), which provide exciting new ways to reach your audience and improve response rates.

Interactive – Your website can make or break your brand. Consumers don’t respond positively to a website that is difficult to navigate, confusing or poorly designed – nor to one that has obviously not been kept up-to-date (for example, the last press release posted two years ago). Optimum functionality is also essential. Does your website give visitors a user-friendly experience, a sense of involvement and an opportunity to provide feedback in some manner? If applicable, can they place orders easily and contact someone who can answer their questions? Unfortunately, too many businesses place their website last on the list of priorities when it should be one of the first.

Packaging – If your product is sold on the retail shelf, it needs to grab the consumer’s attention over competing brands. Does your packaging’s graphic design and messaging convey your brand identity? Is copy concise, with easy-to-understand descriptions? Is the packaging design optimized for the retail space it occupies, and to discourage product loss (that’s shoplifting, in plain English)? Is the packaging itself well-made, sturdy and of high quality?

So how does your brand shape up? Reevaluate, rethink and reboot the franchise, and your brand can be super in 2012!

Communications with Progressive: Which brand do you think needs rebooting, and why? Weigh in on our Facebook page!


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