New Year, new … everything?

2014_wishes_454031375Ah New Year, that festive time of regretting everything you ate and drank over the previous month. That time to set new targets and reinvent yourself as someone thinner, fitter, better at saving, in fact just generally better.

Cue the commercials showing slim people running and cycling.

But what about your brand and communications? Do they, too, have New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps they should, even if your planning cycle is long past.

Here are some suggestions:

Resolution number 1:

Brief everyone better. Whether you’re briefing your creative agency, your digital agency, your media agency, your research agency, your internal team, your packaging people, whomever: take the extra five or ten minutes to explain more. What are your hypotheses? Why do you like this and not that? Better briefs make better results. Invest the time up front and you’ll save yourself time at the end because you won’t be re-briefing. Again.

Resolution number 2:

Give long(er)-form content a try. 2013 saw some great entries in long-form content on YouTube and other video channels. Even if you only go to two-minutes, it gives you a better chance to tell a compelling story. Google Glass did it (as you might have seen me say before)

As did a number of Christmas campaigns. (I won’t bore you with them). It’s not new, but it can be exciting. Only, do make sure you’re engaging. Making a longer than normal 30-second spot isn’t going to do the trick.

Resolution number 3:

Have a purpose. Everyone needs a purpose in life and your brand and its communications are no different. If you have a purpose, then your consumers have more of a reason to buy. Don’t fall into the trap of just advertising for the sake of advertising. Communications need purpose too.  Tell me, what’s new, pussycat?

Resolution number 4:

That being said, try something you’ve never done before. It doesn’t have to be big, but give it a whirl. It might be a sponsorship or an event. Maybe you’re itching to try a new social media platform. Or, perhaps you’ve been pining periodically for the chance to do some guerrilla marketing but haven’t had the guerrilla gear. Get yourself some and get out there.

Resolution number 5:

Make the brand the hero. Your brand may not be defeating super-villains at every turn but it can be the star of its own show, whether it’s a one-off special or the twenty-fifth instalment of a long-running series. These heroics are easier if you’ve followed resolution number 3. Where would Batman be if he was just in it for the bats and the Batmobile? He would just be a weirdo with a freaky fetish and a cool car (although doubtful anyone would notice, as he’d be driving really fast through a cave full of bats).

This is a starter list. As you settle back down in front of your computer for 2014, take a few moments at least to reflect on one or two resolutions for your brand and communications in 2014. Just don’t forget them after you catch up on ten thousand emails.

Tara Beard-Knowland is a Director at Ipsos ASI. Follow Ipsos ASI on Twitter @IpsosASIUK.

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