Originally posted at SheSpeaks

Thanks to the continual evolution of social media, we have a growing set of useful tools for gathering feedback about our brand reputation.   Online branded communities, for example, are becoming increasingly valuable meeting spaces where community members and brand marketers can easily engage in meaningful conversation around specific products and services, and even the brands themselves.

This increase in brand–consumer conversation is beginning to change consumer expectations. They see that we marketers are part of their communities, and assume that we are listening, hearing, and planning product and service changes accordingly.

The problem here is that sometimes we marketers are so committed to our own brand experience that we may be resistant to change and have trouble actually hearing when our consumers are trying to ask us to change components of our brand.  In order to work around our own (natural and understandable) resistance to change, we need to take a step back from our fierce attachment to what we believe makes our brand successful.

Our brand assessment methodologies need to move away from a mindset of confirmation to a mindset of discovery so we can get out of our own way, remove our biases and preconceived notions and be more open to real innovation.

Consider the following brand assessment and improvement tactics:

  1. Gather feedback about your product, service, or brand as though it were in the very earliest stages of development, or as if you were your own competition, trying to build a powerful product, service, or brand based completely on consumer feedback.
  2. Create a complete description of the finished product, service, or ideal brand experience based completely on consumer feedback.
  3. Compare the “new” description with your current product, service, or brand, noting any areas where your existing offering falls short of the “new” description.
  4. Create an action plan to address specific changes needed in your current product, service, or brand.
  5. Implement change, innovate, and delight your consumers!

Send your ego to the back seat and bring your consumers to the front… it’s much easier to hear them from there.

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