In the most recent segment of our 3-part program on aligning your brand for growth, I outlined how to build a brand toolkit. Let’s dig a little deeper into how to use the brand toolkit evangelize your brand.
First, identify the different groups you want to reach at your organization. Your message will likely vary slightly depending on their relationship with your club. A few ideas to get you started:
- Internal team members: after you’ve done all the legwork, it can be tempting to rush to share your new brand externally. I get it– you’re excited to share. However, make sure you take the time to educate and train your team first. Your staff are THE most important advocates for your brand and their actions will bring it to life. Ensure they are well-versed in terms of what your brand stands for…and what it does not.
- Influencers: After your staff is up to speed, next up is educate external influencers. Who are they? Think of individuals with a wide sphere of influence—such a members who are well-connected, board members, even members of the media. Your message will spread faster when these stakeholders are in the know. A bonus? Giving this group information ahead of everyone else as a sneak peek will make them feel special and show your recognition of their importance to your organization.
- Members: Next up is to educate your members. From our earlier post, you already have a good understanding of their current perception. Now it’s time to educate them on what you learned and how you’re changing.
- Previous members: Members leave your organization for a variety of reasons. They move away, they can’t afford or aren’t using the membership anymore, or worse, they had a negative experience. Let them know how you’re changing and it may just nudge them to re-engage with you.
- Your broader service area: The final area of focus will be on community members who are in your target demographic but not yet members. They may have some familiarity with your club or medical wellness center, or be completely new to you. What do they need to know?
Second, execute your communication plans. Remember, it will take multiple repetitions across various media for your message to begin sinking in. While advertising, email, social media, and direct mail campaigns may be your most obvious choices for communicating, here are some hidden gems for extending your brand:
- Phone greeting: When people call in, do you have a pre-recorded greeting mentioning your hours of operation or elevator music for when they are put on hold? This is a perfect spot to incorporate “the new you”.
- Email footers: For your staff that are regularly emailing, make sure your new brand and messaging is represented in the email footer. A simple way to get a brand touchpoint in!
- Branded swag: Sometimes a tangible touchpoint is the most effective. Is there new swag that you can give members when they join or renew to reiterate who you are?
This concludes our 3-part series on quickly assessing and aligning your brand for growth. In part one, we outlined a guide to help you assess market perceptions about your organizations brand and in part two, we covered the importance of building a brand toolkit. Be sure to download this quick Brand Audit Checklist and prepare to take your brand to the next level in 2018.
In the first segment of our 3-part program on aligning your brand for growth, we outlined the process we used to understand market perceptions about the Daxko brand.
You now have clear understanding of your current brand perception post-evaluation. And you’re pleased with what you found (yay!). What’s next?
(Disappointed by what you learned? We’ll cover some ideas for shifting perceptions in another post.)
Build a brand toolkit. Let’s look inside at the different tools that will enable you and your team to articulate, reinforce, and amplify your brand.
- Your differentiator. You’re competing in a crowded market. Why do customers choose—and stay with you—instead of the club down the street? Is it your friendly and knowledgeable staff? The innovative programming you offer? State of the art equipment? A combination?
- Your key message(s). Using your differentiator above, what are the key messages that articulate who you uniquely are? At Daxko, we call these our core truths. For example, one of our four core truths is that we are the member-based health & wellness leader. No other company is able to provide a wider variety of technology solutions to more types of organizations than Daxko. What simple messages reinforce your clubs brand? Typically these relate to what you provide, how you provide it, and to whom.
- Personality. Your brand has its own personality which is expressed linguistically, visually, and experientially.
- Language & tone: What words, phrases, and tone express your brand? Are you friendly or authoritative? What do you call your customers? Are they clients, customers, or partners? What about your team? Are they staff, associates, team members?
- Visual: Your brand expression transcends more than simply your logo or mark. What colors and fonts are part of your branding toolkit. When choosing photos and images, do you rely on stock photography or images of actual members in your facility?
- Experiences: Your club likely has an online and a physical presence. Does the experience you provide across the board reflect who you are or work against you? For instance, is your brand welcoming yet front-desk staff don’t greet members with a smile as they check in? Or are online interactions with your club frustrating and confusing? Those are experiences you’ll want to realign with your brand.
After you’ve stocked your toolkit, document it all for your team. This toolkit will help each person to understand what types of words and interactions reinforce your brand, and also what detracts from it.
Join me next week for Part III in this program where I’ll share how to evangelize your brand, starting with the most important stakeholders—your team.
In just two short months, individuals in your community will once again recommit to the pursuit of health. Your preparations are probably already underway to ensure that people choose your club vs. a nearby competitor.
State of the art equipment? Check.
Well-trained, friendly staff? Check.
Enticing programs? Check.
Powerful, relevant brand? Hmmm…
While not always top of the checklist, your brand can play a powerful role in enticing new members to join AND keeping them committed even as their new year’s wellness enthusiasm fizzles. On the flip side, your brand can work just as hard against your success.
In this 3-part series, I’ll share insights gained from Daxko’s own recent brand strategy initiative. My hope is that you’ll come away inspired and armed with a framework to evaluate—and if needed—evolve your club’s brand for a more prosperous future.
PART I: Evaluate
At Daxko, we intentionally took stock of our brand earlier this year. With our acquisition of CSI Software in late 2015, we had expanded to serve many more member-based health & wellness organizations. Daxko’s software now powers health clubs, medical wellness, and campus recreation facilities in addition to our long-time YMCA and JCC customers.
We set out to understand current perceptions of Daxko. What did customers think about us? The market? Our own team members? And how did the perception of our brand compare to other providers in the space?
Here’s how we approached understanding Daxko’s brand equity, guided by the experts at our brand strategy firm, R2i.
- Identify a cross-section stakeholders to interview. Prospective members. Current members. Terminated members. Boomers. Millenials. Engaged staff. Disgruntled staff. Pro-tip: Avoid the temptation to only talk to people who love your club. While the picture they paint will be rosy, it won’t be the whole picture.
- Draft a brand perception interview guide. Build an interview guide of questions that you’ll ask to each stakeholder. A few to get you started:
- How do you initially hear about our club?
- Has your experience with us compared to what you expected when you joined?
- If you had to describe our club in one word, what would it be?
Pro tip: Keep questions as open-ended as possible to get as much information. Asking around 15 questions or less will keep the interview to a manageable length of 45 minutes.
- Invite them to share their perceptions. Listen, listen, and listen some more to what they have to say about you. Pro tip: Guarantee their anonymity when sharing results of the interviews to ensure there are no barriers to sharing. Having a neutral third-party conducting the interview makes this even easier.
- Compile and look for commonalities. After you’ve finished all of the interviews, what seems to be repeated over and over again? Is it that your staff are friendly and knowledgeable and make starting a routine less intimidating? Or perhaps that your group exercise programs are cutting edge? Pro tip: Compare how those common perceptions compare to what your competitors say to position themselves. Where do you stand out?