New year’s resolutions have become the clichés of the holiday world: we’ve heard some of them so many times they’ve lost all meaning. Sometimes we make the goal too broad (‘Get in shape’ is a lot trickier to actually stick to than ‘Walk 6000 steps five times a week’), but sometimes we simply lose sight of what the resolution can actually mean for us in different areas of our lives. Turns out many resolutions that have become cliches in our personal lives are highly applicable for marketers, brand builders, and video producers when viewed through the right lens. So strap on your mask, don your thinking cap, and put on your enthusiasm pants to check out these 6 resolutions to help you build a better brand in 2021.
(Side note: we do not sell enthusiasm pants.)
1) Be more compassionate
2020 was a unique year in modern history, though most of us didn’t know going into it. 2021 on the other hand grants us the gift of preparation: we know full well that global uncertainties lie ahead and that now is the time to be kinder than ever to yourself and to others around you. Projecting a competitive business image is one thing, but becoming the type of brand that people want to support the values of is priceless.
While many smaller businesses have closed their doors during the pandemic, others have survived with their core customer base rallying around them. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as many consumers have shown a strong willingness to continue supporting the smaller local businesses they love. Showing true compassion and humanity in both your business practices and in your marketing makes you the kind of brand people want to be associated with through thick and thin.
2) Get involved with the community
The shift from advertising at your customers to collaborating with your customers is strong in the brand-building world of today. Social media is one of the biggest culprits of this phenomenon, promoting a world where forums, message boards and meme culture all promote discussion and reinterpretation of branded materials. Interaction with big brands and celebrities is just a 280 character message away, and the wall between the provider and the consumer is thinner than ever before, removing the ‘untouchable royalty’ image from brands in favour of being an equal member of the cultural community.
So how can you begin building a community around your brand in the new year? Start by looking internally and promoting a strong vision amongst your team – clear, engaging training videos and on-boarding explainer videos can help create a stronger sense of purpose for new (and existing employees) with the added benefit of reinforcing your visual brand. Support causes that will have bold social impact on your core customer base. Create value for your customers to create community around you – think beyond basic chance contests and gear your mind toward interaction: create or sponsor active pages on social media that provide share-based user content like recipes, memes, videos, fitness groups, meet up groups; feature your customers in your brand videos where possible; provide interesting educational content about your wider field and things that will help customers use your services – for example, if you’re a sporting outlet or shoe store create a series of short animated explainer videos covering proper running technique tips, how to warm up, are you an overpronator or a supinator, different training ideas, etc. The list for short video content ideas is nearly endless, and all of it can be used to promote discussion and sharing amongst your brand’s customer base.
3) Practice being a better listener
As you build your brand community, aim to constantly understand your audience on a deeper and deeper level. What are their actual needs right now – not 10 years ago, not when you entered the business world, but now? If you manage a startup with emerging technologies, how can you demonstrate your new product meeting those core needs?
4) Do one thing every day that scares you
In other words, welcome new technologies with open arms. The constantly evolving world of technology can feel intimidating, discouraging, or even pointless for a business that’s trying to stay relevant. But ignoring new trends and techniques in the digital marketing world is a quick way to get left behind and severely damage your audience reach. Think about the days when social media was first emerging, or when the internet began to usurp television, or when television began to usurp radio. Those who refused to adapt their marketing to the new platforms now seem wildly out of touch in hindsight.
If a new digital trend or technology feels overwhelming to learn about all at once, take baby steps by checking out some explainer videos on the topic (eg. What is TikTok? https://youtu.be/diIj8-fdTS4), then take a few more steps in depth (eg. Why is TikTok so popular? https://youtu.be/b72HkiH0N4o) before diving in to try the technology for yourself.
5) Learn a new skill
While some of these resolutions talk more broadly about what you can do for brand-building, this one is speaking to you, the individual. Why should you learn new skills if you’re already happy with your position, your brand, or your career trajectory? Because whether you’re a business owner, a marketer, an agent, or a creative professional, learning the ropes outside your existing skills helps to understand and communicate with those around you better.
Take some time to think about what skills would help connect you with your workers, your collaborators, or your audience. Are you an agency who outsources all your video and design work? Look at a basic design skills course so you can more effectively convey your needs and wants with your content producers. Are you a business owner wanting to target a demographic younger than you? Research the most trending websites for that age group and dive into the community (lurk if you have to to learn the ways of your target audience. Online etiquette is a skill in itself on many bigger websites like Reddit or TikTok, each with their own unique communication styles and unwritten rules. Learning about this etiquette can reveal a lot about the way your market behaves and how they like to be communicated with).
6) Practice self-love
If you don’t believe in your own products, services, or brand values, nobody else will. When you’re developing explainer videos and marketing content for your brand, make that love clear to your audience. Value should be the hero in all your brand building: both the values of the company and the value that can be provided to your customer.
Written by Maree Railton.