Over the past few weeks, we have discussed the importance of preparing for the holiday season and the approaching fourth quarter, especially if you’re a retailer or in an industry that depends on a successful end of the year to carry your business into the new one, financially strong and on the right track.

Declutter Your Business

Any business or retailer with a physical space who wants to make a strong and favorable impression on their holiday shoppers or customers usually starts by cleaning, decluttering, and reducing excess inventory, all with the ultimate goal of having an inviting space with plenty of room for seasonal inventory, extra staff, and even holiday decorations. While this physical decluttering may be obvious to many businesses and retailers, few realize that their branding may also require a “decluttering” as well, which would allow them to refocus and refine their identity and core messaging to their target market well before the busy holiday season is in full swing.

Go Back To Basics

The first step to decluttering your brand is to make sure that your business hasn’t lost focus on the basic core tenants of your branding. What is your mission as a business? What sets you apart from your competitors, and what benefits do your products and/or services deliver to your target market? If you can’t quickly and easily answer these questions, it’s time to clarify exactly who you are as a business and what you do differently and better than your competitors and ensure that your employees clearly understand as well. Simply put, without a rock-solid foundation supporting your branding and marketing strategies during the holidays, you risk not connecting to your target market on a fundamental level and losing sales as a result. If you need professional guidance in establishing or re-establishing the basics of your branding, now is the time to reach out, as branding and marketing professionals are often in high demand once the holiday season is in full swing.

Learn From Your Mistakes

It’s possible that, over the course of the year, your small business made a branding or marketing mistake. This could have taken the form of a failed advertising or marketing campaign, a misguided and ultimately unsuccessful effort to introduce a new product or service, or even just an accidental or poorly planned branding error. No matter the form that these mistakes or errors took, or the extent to which you believe they may have damaged your brand or reputation in the eyes of the public, now is the time to recognize the mistakes you’ve made, learn from the experience, and ensure that you do not repeat them during the fourth quarter and holiday shopping season. If you believe that your brand has been tarnished or damaged in some way in the eyes of your target market, make an immediate effort to undo or repair the damage before the holidays. Introduce a brief but strong campaign to reintroduce your brand to consumers, and ensure that your branding is clear, concise, and properly aligned in any holiday marketing or advertising campaigns.

Remain Consistent

Once you have clarified and reestablished your brand, it is important to remain consistent throughout the fourth quarter and holiday season, even when presented with new marketing or advertising ideas or strategies that conflict with the core tenants of your brand. The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, for both personal and professional reasons, but when your small business is depending on a successful season, the stress can feel overwhelming. That being said, it is never a good idea to abandon the basics of your brand, even when it may be tempting to experiment with a radical new idea, plan, or strategy. Instead, stay focused on what makes your business the right choice for your target market.