For my first post, I want to write about something I just don’t see enough marketers taking seriously. It has to do with health—the health of their brand.

Major public health issues have cropped up in the news lately, everything ranging from summer flu outbreaks to the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. But, as far as I can tell, health officials always seem to respond with some version of the same instruction: semper vigilans, Latin for stay vigilant! If you take care of your health, it will take care of you. Wise advice, of course—but is it enough?

I don’t know about you, but it inspires me for regular checkups with my doctor. After all, only a qualified physician can scan you for conditions and diseases that you might not even know exist. They can even check you for the likelihood that you’ll come down with something much later in life and help you to take preventative measures for better wellness. What a blessing! Because of this, and despite disease outbreaks, we can all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

What’s my point? It’s that we can, nay must, apply these same principles to marketing and outbound campaigns that we do to our own bodies. Your brand, too, can catch unexpected bugs, risk open exposure to disease, and diminish in strength or health as time goes on. In fact, looking around at some of the marketing I see going on these days, I’d say there’s a bad case of marketing sickness going around as we speak.

Just as doctors and specialists intone semper vigilans, so too do I encourage you to take a long, hard look at your marketing and answer this one question honestly: Is my marketing plan doing all I expected and wanted it to do for my brand?

An Annual Marketing Physical? Absolutely!

Getting my annual physical is not something I enjoy. But it’s tripled my quality of life.

As a kid, I was a natural athlete, but as I got older—as we all tend to do—my health got put on the back burner. My weight and cholesterol shot up; my energy level was low. For the first time, my health metrics were headed in the wrong direction and I needed a course correction.

Today, my health is great—but that’s no accident. It was a function of getting the right instruction from a trained professional and undergoing regular checkups with my doc (a.k.a. accountability coach). Now, I have better habits and a disciplined strategy for the future.

Be honest, do you think this way about your marketing? If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say the answer is no. But in truth, your brand actually requires more attention than even your physical health, since the pop cultural, technological, and demographic landscape is constantly—almost daily—shifting before our eyes. In fact, that’s what marketing sickness is and why so many companies come down with it: when that brilliant marketing campaign you put together last quarter is no longer relevant and you don’t even know it yet is when the condition is most acute.

Somebody call a doctor!

I now schedule my annual physical around my birthday, then do quarterly health checks to monitor my heart and help keep me physically fit. And I always do the same for my marketing plan.

I believe that a regular health check is a critical step that can absolutely accelerate your brand’s success. Taking such a step includes identifying your symptoms, properly diagnosing the problem, prescribing a solution, and then acting so that you achieve your desired outcomes. Having a process in place helps me make better business decisions on a daily, weekly, even yearly basis so that my brand can maintain as sustained a high quality as my vitals. Healthy living has become a lifestyle not just for me, but for my business life.

So how does this translate to marketing? Well, the approach is almost exactly the same, but what you are evaluating is very different. With marketing, you focus on:

  • evaluating your marketing by taking an assessment your story, strategy, and systems.
  • instituting a system of quarterly health checks during which you monitor performance against goals.
  • monthly steering meetings to prioritize your efforts.
  • weekly or even daily goals to help guide your brand’s journey.

Importantly, having a brand health check is remarkably easy to do. If you call or contact me, I can tell you all about how to proceed, and even let you in on some secrets on how to keep your brand and marketing efforts clean, lean, and healthy as a horse. Don’t wait to hear it from some social media influencer, when it’s already too late, call up the marketing professionals you trust.

And always remember: success is not an accident, it comes from a simple story, aligned strategy and aligned systems managed by wise leadership, effective accountability coaches, and execution with ruthless consistency.

Semper vigilans my friends!