As a business or brand owner, your fiscal year-end is one of the most important times of the year for you. Not only is a time to review your past successes and failures, but the year end is also an opportunity to re-evaluate your direction, goals and methods for success.
Making a brand yearbook can help you find out if your branding efforts have remained consistent over the year. You'll want to include all pieces of branded material like social media posts, blogs, advertisements, merchandise and the like. Ideally you'll have made a Brand Yearbook at the end of your last year, but like making brand journals, there's no problem in starting now. Brand yearbooks can also act as playbooks, showing you how your brand has evolved, as well as the best marketing move to make next.
Conducting a competitor audit doesn't need to be discouraging, but is a great resource for observing approximately how well your competitors performed. This audit should include looking at the evolution of competitor logos, guidelines and brand voice, as well as their campaign and social media strategy. Social media is often the place where prospects will often pledge allegiance to a certain brand, so cultivating your own enticing pull will help convert prospects who are preparing to make a purchase. Pick your top three competitors according to best brand identity, best brand voice, and best customer loyalty/retention. Remember, you're not doing this audit to imitate your competitors, but rather to identify why they happened to succeed in certain areas.
On average, three to four brand campaigns can usually fit comfortably within a fiscal year - take time to compile in-depth information from each campaign. You'll want to include your campaign budget, initial projections, results, outcomes and hind sights. Make sure to record the summary of your campaigns in chronological order to measure how your efforts have progressed over the year. Looking at these campaign results may give insights on how to balance your books in the upcoming year if balancing this year won't be possible.
After reviewing the outcomes of your campaigns and bank books, you'll be able to readjust your goals to more realistic and attainable parameters. The closer you'll get to fulfilling a long term goal, you'll be able to consider whether the goal will be feasible and achievable in the remainder of time. At each year-end, you could find your brand farther, or even closer to the long terms goals you had set initially. It's important to readjust your goals as you go - making the smallest tweaks can be the difference between being encouraged or discouraged. Your short and long term goals may not have accounted for extraneous factors or outside influences like inflations or political unrest that may have stalled your campaign plans. Make sure to keep a balance between being lenient and forgiving of yourself, and having the grit to see your expectations through.
Year-ends usually happen at different times for each brand. While some year-ends may occur between February and April, other brands may opt for a year-end that matches up with the calendar year-end, in months like December and January. Remember that when you're gearing up for your year-end, your competitors may have just finished their first quarter. In branding, it's not enough to always watch what your competitors are doing - the strength of a brand will be apparent through a brands willingness to adapt, evolve and succeed. As your company begins to prepare for the year-end, make sure to keep a balance between constructive criticism and celebration. First and foremost, your brand year-end should be an opportunity for your company to reminisce, enjoy and pat yourselves on the back for all the great things you've achieved this year.