For various reasons throughout your career or your company’s life cycle, you may decide to transform the way people look at you – to transform your brand image. It could be that you appear too out-of-date, your brand messaging doesn’t align with what you are actually doing, or maybe your audience just doesn’t “get” you. In some cases, you may decide to do a complete rebrand, and in others it’s just a matter of tweaking a few things to get the results you want.

What is brand image anyhow? Image is the general perception of who you are as a brand, company, person, etc., and is affected by your behaviour.

If you have made the decision to change, here are seven steps to get you to where you need to be:

  1. Decide how you want people to see your brand: You need to have a clear plan for how you would like to be perceived. This also means indicating what isn’t working for you that prompted your decision to change your brand image. This exercise will help you set goals for your brand.
  2. Determine how what you do affects your audience: You need to listen and observe how your audience reacts to your brand as it is currently. Why might your audience (or niches within) resist your transformation? If you can identify their concerns, you can address them in your transformational strategy.
  3. Associate positively with respected influencers: If you make the right decisions based on your brand image goals, your values will be aligned with your selected influencers. Your audience will see your values as the same as the influencers they already trust. We’ve discussed partnering to save your public image before, but it’s important to note that there are bad influencers out there. Influencers who have recently gone through a scandal may not be the best people to align your brand with when you are trying to change for the better.
  4. Change the narrative: If you have recently come into some bad press, change the focus to be on something more positive. It won’t go away, but you can balance it out, or drown it out with a different story. Kick of a brand-positive campaign focusing on your desired brand image that is authentic and not outwardly self-serving. If your audience feels you are being fake to counteract your negative press, it will only make it worse for you.
  5. Get your customers to talk about you – in a positive light: If your customers are happy, get them to tell others about their experience. Loyalty programs go a long way in defining your brand story because they create a larger group of brand ambassadors (your customers).
  6. Communicate clearly and often: If you are trying to change your brand image, then you need to talk about it! Communicate your refined brand message through various channels and generate content that will keep it interesting while remaining on brand. You should have a renewed communication strategy in place to help you successfully transform your brand image that includes channel strategy, content strategy, and ways to integrate it fully throughout your organization.
  7. Align internal operations with strategy: Your brand image is propelled by what you put out into the public eye, and that is controlled by your team. Once your strategy is drawn up, make sure that your team is fully on board with the transformation process.

The most important thing to remember throughout the brand image transformation process is to keep your strategy and actions as a brand authentic and believable. Don’t try to be something you aren’t, but really try to walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk. If you feel it’s time for a change, you have to be ready to challenge your own status quo and ask yourself tough questions about your brand and how your audience really perceives you.

Originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications Blog.