Your brand has a life of its own.

Your brand is a promise to your customer. A promise that you will deliver the same high quality product or service every time that customer does business with you, in every marketing channel. We all know that is hard enough to do, but add in the changing needs and desires of today's consumer and your work is never done. Keep in mind that your brand evolves over time and is influenced by more than your internal company directives.

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As our choices and purchases become more online driven, social networking and online communities are giving consumers the power to shape your brand. By sharing their experiences with your products and services they have more influence over your potential customers than you do. Consumers are turning to each other for information they can trust. It is important that your brand is authentic and encourages consumer engagement.

We all know that consumers are spending less. They are looking for greater meaning from their relationships – their work and business relationships, the non-profits they support, their neighborhoods and their communities. If they are going to "spend" their time, their attention, their emotional and physical energy, they want to be sure they will receive a return (tangible, spiritual or experiential) on their investment. Note that in today's internet-based world, some of those important relationships and communities may be online.

When it comes to marketing your products and services, you need to be listening and looking for how this shift in values is changing the needs and wants of your customers. At the same time, your customers are receiving information about your brand from sources outside your company. Now is the time evaluate your brand and determine if it is evolving to meet your customer's needs. It is your customers and their conversations that are defining your brand.

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