For a couple of years now, I’ve used the Duolingo app to improve my Spanish. It lets me know when I’m not practicing enough to keep my skills fresh, like sending me warnings that I’m about to lose a “streak” (a streak is several days or weeks of unbroken practice).
But the indicator that always causes me to take action is the “broken lesson” icon:
Each circle in the interface above represents a lesson unit. When you get to level 5, you move on. See those two broken-looking circles? That’s Duolingo letting me know I’m in danger of losing some skills. To “fix” the broken, I have to go back and practice an old skill set.
Neglect is the enemy of progress
The longer I go without practice and review, the more things break. Nothing annoys me more than spending 15 minutes of my day “fixing” broken skills instead of being able to learn NEW things — to level UP.
Most humans thrive on the feeling of progress. Neglect impedes our ability to do that. The Duolingo “broken” symbol works because it reminds the student of just that.
Brands need regular attention
Brands, websites, and other branding materials work in a similar way. The longer they go without being reviewed, nourished, updated, tended to, and stewarded, the more “fixing” they need down the road.
Organizations that don’t have a dedicated marketing or brand management often “launch and forget” a new brand, website, or campaign. It may be years or decades before they come back to refocus on that effort, and by then it’s likely that crusty old messaging, positioning, platforms, and technology need to be scraped off and completely rebuilt. It can be unnecessarily overwhelming, costly, and disruptive.
Schedule brand check-ins
I’d rather keep clients and brands moving forward than playing catch-up to fix the ravages of neglect, so my team and I offer Brand Check-Ins on quarterly, bi-annual, or annual schedules.
If you’ve got an in-house brand manager, please ensure they have the time and the mandate to perform regular, high-level reviews of how the brand is being used, received, and performing — and take heed when they recommend incremental updates and improvements.
A regular brand check-in proactively reviews use of the brand, provides course corrections, coaching, and support as required.
If you don’t have that luxury, please talk to me!