Many catalog managers have an idea of what they want their brand to be, only to learn through trial and error that what they want it to be may not be what it is.
Likewise, in an effort to deliver something exciting to a catalog client, many creative agencies suggest remaking a brand to become more appealing to a different audience (e.g., younger, hipper, wealthier).
Certainly, there may be legitimate reasons to redo your brand, but understand that it’s a difficult and complex process requiring thought and expertise to execute. Making an abrupt change and unveiling a new creative or merchandising concept could devastate your sales.
If response is suffering on the acquisition side, carefully evaluate your current offerings, branding efforts or creative concepts. And if response from your housefile is suffering, or average order values are declining, you may need to refocus your brand, merchandise or creative efforts. But rather than do a wholesale re-branding effort, you simply may need to bring your catalog back to its roots.
However, if the problem is more severe, and you think it demands a total brand makeover—or even retirement of the brand all together—take a few steps back and study the situation. What are your current customers’ perceptions and expectations of your brand? Can you deliver them?
Customer Surveys Can Help
A good first step in answering that question is to survey your current customers and let them help you define your current key brand elements. Listening to what they think you are is more helpful than simply stating what you want to be. If you do find a disconnect, decide if you want to change your view on the brand or try to the change customers’ views.
When conducting customer surveys, try to get them to reveal their perceptions of your brand, of what you stand for in their minds. One effective way to do this is to give them words—say, 20 to 30—to choose from in a survey. Then ask them to select seven to nine words that most represent what your company is to them. Include words you hope they’ll choose, as well as words you hope they won’t. Use several words that mean something similar, as this could help you understand subtle nuances in the perceptions.