Now that your personal New Year’s resolutions have been recorded, don’t forget that your business deserves some attention, too. One of the most important things to do at the beginning of a new year is to examine the core messages of your business: your purpose and mission, your marketing slogans, your PR boilerplate — all your statements about who you are, what business you’re in, what you stand for, and how you relate to your various publics.
Here are a few questions to which you should seek the answers:
• Has your market broadened or differentiated over the past year?
• Do the words — especially any jargon — you use in your messages still mean what they did when you first used them?
• Has your target customer changed or have the applications for your products shifted to new uses?
• Do your print materials look dated and out of style?
• Are the data in your boilerplate still accurate and complete?
• Have you re-read your “current” materials to be certain they still make sense and reflect your products in an appropriate light for today’s market?
• Do your print materials and your website look like they represent the same company?
• Is there a consistent thread or theme throughout the components of your public image.
• Would your customers recognize your company and products from your PR, advertising, packaging, and sales presentations? Would their reaction be positive?
• Do your employees know the company’s purpose, mission, etc.? Would they agree it is accurate?
• How might a disinterested third-party respond to your messages and presentation?
• Do industry analysts and media reporters have a mental image of your company that is coherent with your own?
And there are more relevant questions, as you might imagine.
While businesses should engage in this type of self-evaluation on an ongoing basis, there’s no better time than the beginning of the year to schedule such a review. Take what you learn and design a program to address the elements systematically. Your goal is not a consistent but deadly static message and image. It is rather a message and image that are fresh, dynamic, and reflective of your market and your position within it, and that honor the core values and purposes of your company.
Refresh this New Year’s resolution annually and you will maintain an accurate, exciting, and dynamic message and culture in your organization.