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Keep Your Brand Mindful and Relevant with Customers and Practices

On top of everything else on your plate, you must now add a daily commitment to keep your brand mindful. Seven supporting practices can help.
On top of everything else on your plate, you must now add a daily commitment to keep your brand mindful. Seven supporting practices can help.

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On top of everything else you have on your plate, you must now add a daily commitment to keep your brand mindful. Many seasoned entrepreneurs resist this new responsibility. However, the steep costs of failing to do so are showing up in the headlines again and again.

Long-standing brand names have been picked off one by one for various reasons, some of which to most may have seemed innocuous at the time. Investors have grown increasingly skittish about putting their capital behind anything that seems even remotely edgy.

More than one intrepid entrepreneur has been scared off following through on their ideas by the rise of cancel culture online. What’s a rising brand name to do? What steps can be taken to ward off the possibility of being attacked…even when no offense is offered or intended?

Your first commitment, above all else, is to keep yourself aware of what’s happening at all levels. If you hope to stay relevant amid all the turmoil, you have to maintain awareness at the local, state, national, and international levels. More than one brand has been toppled by posting an ad to social media that gave it the appearance of being tone-deaf. Given that you want to keep your brand mindful, here are seven steps you can take to undergird that primary objective.

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1. Establish your core values early on.

If somehow your company achieved success without putting together a Core Values document, that’s all fine and well, but it’s time to plug that leak now, before the dam breaks. Knowing who you are and what your company stands for will be absolutely essential if (or rather, when) a social media grenade comes over the wall.

As a matter of fact, you will be well-served to construct both a Core Values document for yourself as an individual and another one for your brand. Anytime a decision needs to be made, you will find yourself referring to these precepts again and again. Who are you? What is your company all about? Write it down. Modify if needed, but you must start somewhere.

2. Mark out the hills you’re willing to die on.

Once you have your Core Values down pat, you are in a much more authoritative and relaxed position to decide when to engage and (perhaps more importantly) when not to engage. In the heat of a scathing review posted to Amazon or a Tweet that accurately points out a serious flaw with your brand, it’s dangerously simple to pull out the smartphone. We can respond with more emotion than thought and then watch helplessly as your official brand’s response gets ratioed into outer space.

“You should respond promptly, but you don’t need to respond right this second.” How many careers might have been salvaged had this simple piece of advice been top of mind? Similarly, there is wisdom in knowing when not to respond at all. If you know in advance which hills your brand is willing to die on, you are in a much better position to pick and choose your battles.

3. Set benchmarks for rebranding ahead of time.

Merely as a precaution, practice being canceled. Think of it as a Mindful Brand Fire Drill. Assume that someone in your company has made an innocent mistake that has been misconstrued or twisted. A growing number of customers are calling for your head. It’s unpleasant to think about, yes. However, being prepared in the face of a firestorm will help you keep your cool. You’ll be better able to gauge just how bad things have gotten.

Many companies have been forced to rebrand to stay relevant. At some point, their losses outweighed the costs associated with rebranding. Your losses may be financial, relational, or both. Only you can determine in advance at what point you’ll need to rebrand. Keep an estimate of how many dollars it will take to rebrand in mind at all times. Weigh it against the storm brewing out in the digital realm. Memorize the lyrics to “The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers.

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4. Develop a track record of doing good.

The very best publicity is the kind that other people generate on your behalf. Maybe your company didn’t start out by setting aside some margin for doing good in the local community. Well, make that adjustment on your spreadsheets before the New Year. You can’t make everyone in your city like you, of course. However, you can treat your employees well, pay them a living wage, and give back.

Whenever a company is attacked, it’s expected that a press release is forthcoming. These are necessary and can help reverse a tide of negativity. However, the better response tends to come from others willing to defend you. In particular, those who have greatly benefited from your products, services, and commitment to making a positive difference. Let others speak up on your behalf. The payoff is two-fold. You and your employees feel better about doing good things and others will defend your reputation.

5. Handle humor like it’s nitroglycerin.

For years now, the folks at Wendy’s have mastered the art of using their official Twitter account to hawk their hamburgers and good-naturedly poke fun at the competition. When you read through their messages, it can look deceptively simple to successfully do this. It isn’t.

The late actor Jack Lemmon is credited with popularizing the axiom, “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.”

Brands that are seriously considering using humor in their social media campaigns, take note! YOu would do well to print that on a large banner and post it in a prominent location. Jokes posted to the digital realm are not faring all that well these days. It takes a lot of talent and skill to use humor well. It’s hard to do it in a manner that cannot be misconstrued or restated in an offensive way.

6. Diversify.

One of the best ways to make sure your messages aren’t hitting a sour note is to engage in social listening. There’s any number of software platforms available these days to help you make that a reality. The point is to listen well and listen often. Even if you are listening to voices that almost certainly will never become customers, you can learn a lot by listening to people who are not at all like you, your employees, or your intended audience.

Of course, a commitment to appealing to a diverse audience assumes that you have already committed to diversity in your workplace. If your hiring practices or office environment don’t match up with the friendly, collegial tone you’ve chosen for your brand’s voice, people will be astonishingly quick to sniff out the hypocrisy.

7. Stay the course.

Maintaining the reputation of your mindful brand in the digital realm is not for the timid. As your success increases, you can count on the number of your detractors going up as well. Assuming you are confident as to who you are and what you stand for, many negative remarks can be ameliorated by reaching out and seeking to make things better. Not everyone is going to be satisfied, of course, and you need to be prepared to have some haters as your brand takes off.

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In today’s crowded and competitive marketplace, it’s crucial for brands to build strong connections with their customers. Mindful branding is an approach that goes beyond traditional branding practices by focusing on understanding a brand’s values, mission, and purpose, and how they impact people and society. It is about creating meaningful connections, fostering trust and loyalty, and making a positive impact on the world. In this article, we will explore the power of mindful branding and discuss strategies to build strong connections with customers.

Understanding Mindful Branding

Mindful branding is grounded in self-awareness and authenticity. It goes beyond creating a logo and catchy tagline, and instead focuses on understanding a business’ values, mission, and purpose. It involves creating a brand identity that resonates with customers on a deeper level. Mindful branding considers the impact of a brand’s actions on people and society, and aims to create a positive brand experience.

Implementing mindful branding has several benefits for businesses. First, it helps to create a strong and authentic brand identity that resonates with customers. Second, it builds trust and loyalty with customers, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth. Finally, mindful branding creates a positive brand experience that fosters customer loyalty and advocacy.

Building Strong Connections with Customers

To build strong connections with customers, it is essential to understand their needs and wants. This requires listening to customers, paying attention to their feedback, and gathering data on their preferences and behaviors. By understanding what customers want, businesses can create products and services that meet their needs and exceed expectations. It also enables businesses to create personalized marketing and communication that is relevant and resonates with customers.

Creating a personal connection with customers is crucial for building strong relationships. This goes beyond just selling products or services; it involves creating a sense of trust and understanding with customers. Personalized communication, exceptional customer service, and fostering a sense of community among customers are key elements of creating a personal connection.

Providing exceptional customer service is an important aspect of building strong connections with customers. This means responding to customer needs, providing helpful and knowledgeable support, and exceeding expectations. It also includes creating a seamless and convenient customer experience, such as providing multiple channels of support and user-friendly websites and apps.

Building trust and loyalty with customers is essential for creating long-term relationships. Trust is built by being transparent and consistent in interactions with customers. Businesses can also build trust by standing behind their products and services, and being responsible and accountable for their actions. Loyalty is built by consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations and creating a positive brand experience. Offering rewards and incentives to repeat customers can also foster loyalty.

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Implementing Mindful Branding Strategies

To implement mindful branding strategies, businesses need to identify and define their brand’s core values. These values should reflect the brand’s mission, purpose, and vision, and align with the needs and wants of customers. Communicating these values consistently throughout all branding and marketing efforts is crucial.

Integrating mindfulness into marketing means being present and intentional in all actions and decisions. It involves being mindful of the impact of actions and being authentic in messaging and branding. It also means responding to customer feedback and being open to change.

Consistency and authenticity are essential for building a strong and recognizable brand identity. This means being consistent in messaging and tone used in all branding and marketing efforts, and being authentic in all communication and interactions with the public.

Social media and other digital platforms provide excellent opportunities for brands to connect with customers in a personal and authentic way. By leveraging these platforms, businesses can share their brand story, engage with customers, and create a sense of community. These platforms also provide valuable data and insights into customer preferences and behaviors, which can be used to create engaging and informative content that resonates with customers.

Measuring Success

Setting measurable goals is essential for tracking the success of mindful branding efforts. These goals should align with overall business objectives and be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Examples of measurable goals for mindful branding efforts could include increasing customer satisfaction by a certain percentage or increasing brand awareness within a specific period of time.

Tracking and analyzing customer engagement and satisfaction is crucial to determine how well mindful branding efforts are working. This can be done through surveys, focus groups, social media monitoring, and analytics. By analyzing customer engagement and satisfaction, businesses can identify areas of success and areas that need improvement.

Based on analytics and customer feedback, it may be necessary to adjust mindful branding strategies. This could involve re-evaluating core values, messaging, and marketing efforts. It could also involve making necessary changes to products or services to better meet customer needs. By making adjustments as needed, brands can ensure that their branding efforts are resonating with their target market.

Building a Mindful Future

Mindful branding has the power to create strong connections with customers and make a positive impact on the world. By understanding and meeting the needs of customers, businesses can create a positive brand experience that fosters loyalty and advocacy. By incorporating mindfulness into branding strategies, brands can move away from a product-focused mentality and prioritize the best interests of their customers. Mindful branding is not just about selling products or services; it is about building meaningful connections and creating a sense of community and belonging among customers.

As brands strive to keep their brands mindful and relevant, it is crucial to continuously evaluate and adapt branding strategies to meet the changing needs and expectations of customers. By staying true to core values, being authentic in communication, and fostering strong connections with customers, brands can create a mindful future that benefits both their customers and the world around them.

Summing Up

Establish your personal and professional Core Values, what you might think of as your “non-negotiables.” Decide in advance, without emotion, which battles you must enter, and why. While cooler heads are available, mark out what the benchmarks are for considering a rebrand. Help out where you can. Do so in a way that the people in your community would be deeply saddened to see your mindful brand fold up shop. Be extra careful with humor, especially written forms that do not benefit from inflection or body language. Listen to a lot of different voices and be sure to hire people who don’t look or think like you. Don’t sweat the occasional wave of bad publicity, but seek to be on good terms with all, if possible.


Q&A Section

Q1: What is the significance of establishing core values for a brand?

A1: Establishing core values for a brand is crucial for providing a clear understanding of who the brand is and what it stands for. Core values serve as guiding principles that help in decision-making and communication. When faced with challenges or controversies, having established core values allows a brand to stay true to its identity and respond consistently.

Q2: Why is it important for a brand to identify the hills it’s willing to die on?

A2: Identifying the hills a brand is willing to die on helps in navigating controversies and negative situations effectively. It allows the brand to decide when to engage and when to abstain from responding, preventing emotional reactions. This strategic approach helps in maintaining a consistent brand image and preventing unnecessary damage during public scrutiny.

Q3: How can setting benchmarks for rebranding in advance benefit a brand?

A3: Setting benchmarks for rebranding in advance acts as a proactive measure, preparing a brand for potential crises. By practicing a mindful brand fire drill and assuming scenarios where rebranding might be necessary, a brand can better assess the severity of a situation. This foresight allows for a more composed response and helps in estimating the potential financial and reputational costs of rebranding.

Q4: How does developing a track record of doing good contribute to a brand’s reputation?

A4: Creating a track record of doing good, such as contributing to the local community or treating employees well, enhances a brand’s reputation. Positive actions generate goodwill, and when a brand faces criticism, having a history of positive contributions makes it more likely for others to come to its defense. It builds a positive perception among customers and stakeholders.

Q5: Why should brands handle humor cautiously, especially on digital platforms?

A5: Handling humor cautiously is essential because written forms lack inflection and body language, making it easy for messages to be misconstrued. In the digital realm, jokes can be easily taken out of context, leading to unintended consequences. Brands need to be mindful of potential sensitivities and cultural nuances to avoid offensive interpretations and negative reactions.

Q6: How does diversifying and engaging in social listening contribute to mindful branding?

A6: Diversifying and engaging in social listening allow brands to understand a broader range of perspectives and opinions. By listening to diverse voices, including those that may not be part of the brand’s target audience, businesses can gain valuable insights. This information helps in creating more inclusive and resonant messaging, aligning with the principles of mindful branding.

Q7: Why is consistency and authenticity crucial for building a strong brand identity?

A7: Consistency and authenticity are vital for building a strong brand identity because they create trust and recognition. Consistent messaging and tone across all interactions with the public reinforce the brand’s identity, making it easily recognizable. Authenticity builds trust by ensuring that the brand’s actions align with its stated values, fostering a positive and trustworthy image.

Q8: How can businesses use social media and digital platforms for mindful branding?

A8: Businesses can leverage social media and digital platforms for mindful branding by sharing their brand story, engaging with customers authentically, and creating a sense of community. These platforms provide opportunities to communicate the brand’s values and mission, while also offering valuable insights into customer preferences. Social media enables businesses to foster a more personal connection with their audience and respond to feedback effectively.

Q9: Why is staying the course important for maintaining a brand’s reputation in the digital realm?

A9: Staying the course is crucial for maintaining a brand’s reputation in the digital realm because success often attracts detractors. Confidence in the brand’s identity and commitment to its values helps weather negative remarks. While addressing legitimate concerns is essential, brands should stay true to their core values and not be swayed by every wave of bad publicity, ultimately ensuring a consistent and reliable brand image.

Q10: How can businesses measure the success of mindful branding efforts?

A10: Businesses can measure the success of mindful branding efforts by setting specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. Tracking customer engagement, satisfaction through surveys, focus groups, and social media monitoring provides valuable insights. Analytics and customer feedback help in identifying areas of success and improvement, allowing for adjustments to branding strategies as needed.


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