By any stretch of the imagination, 2017 has been an eventful year. But as we dig the ice scrapers from our gloveboxes, many of us are already looking ahead to 2018 and what it might bring.

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There can be a lot of cynicism about the idea of fresh starts and new plans of action, especially when it comes to diets, exercise or the latest wellbeing trend. The recurring phrase ‘New Year, new you’, which can be found on the cover of every lifestyle magazine around the country, is treated less like a commitment and more like lip-service to the idea of self-improvement.

On a personal level, that’s not necessarily an issue – after all, will cancelling that Zumba membership come February really prove disastrous? In the business world, however, companies are always changing. To eschew the chance of a renewed focus and a revised strategy is to risk being outpaced by more savvy competitors.

That’s why focusing on getting ‘business ready’ for the New Year is so important. Many companies find that due to growth or shifting markets, missions and values can change. It’s therefore critical to reassess your offering and goals as you evolve, to make sure you’re not out of step with yourself.

Articulating your brand is one way of doing this. Through the process, you give your whole organisation tangible messaging and talking points, which they can use as a platform to build your business throughout the year. It’s not about seizing on the latest buzzword – it’s about defining the very essence of your company and making sure everything you do still aligns with it.

Of course, nobody embraces the ‘New Year, new you’ philosophy without the promise of tangible results. If you’re going to be eating an avocado every day for the foreseeable future, you need assurances it’s going to be a boon to your health. So how does articulating your brand benefit your business?

The answer is threefold. First, it’ll make sure you stand out from your competitors. Second, it’ll enable your customers to understand why they should commit to and trust you. And third, but equally important, it’ll do the same for your employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. They’ll all understand what your core values and promises are and, ultimately, why they should invest in you.

Do you know what your proposition is and the messaging behind it, or has it always just been implicit in your work? Have you considered your story in the past, but now think it might be time to review, realign and rebrand?

Like all the best experts, we don’t just tell others about these sorts of things – we live them ourselves. In a recent ‘away day’ exercise, we asked everyone in the agency to articulate their own personal brand. What are our core values, why do our colleagues trust us, and what do we want our impact to be? What is our personal vision, what are our goals, and what makes us different?

The answers were sometimes challenging, sometimes surprising, but always enlightening. And the result was a more clear-eyed view of where the agency was at internally, and how we could make things even better moving forward.

2017 has shown how noisy, how complicated and how fragile the world can sometimes be. Brand articulation can show how to cut through it. So when it comes to making your New Year’s resolution, make sure you focus on the business goals as well as the personal ones. The future is almost upon us – it’s time to get ready for it!

Find out more about our Brand Articulation Workshops here.