Image: Matteo Photography

We’re almost in the third month of the year. Chances are you refreshed yourself for the new year and started out strong, but now you’re beginning to lose momentum and are falling back in the same patterns of last year. Sound familiar?

The reality is that even if you’re learning from last year’s lessons and putting them to good use, it may not be enough to get your brand where it needs to go this year.

This year is going to be your year – we can feel it – but first there a few things that need to be done to make sure you get to that end goal. If you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, read on. We’ve got a few ideas.

01 | Learn Your Lessons
Review your past successes and your past failures. Even though it can be uncomfortable to think about what’s not working, it’s also a necessary step on the path to growth and success. Make sure you find the real issue, the root of the problem. For example, if your website is underperforming, your first instinct might be to rethink the design. But don’t stop there. Dig deeper – it might be the design, but it could also be an issue with communication. Maybe your business has changed and you’re not communicating all of the incredible things you do in the clearest way.

And while you’re rethinking the past, don’t forget about your successes. There’s a lot of talk about “learning from your mistakes,” but what about learning from your successes? Think about what works for you and try to find a way to bring that to the areas of your brand that need improvement.

Learn your lessons; then move on.

02 | Prioritize Goals and See Them Through
It’s the big question that we all dread: What do you do first? After we get to know our DesignGood Studio clients (including where their company is and where they would like it to be), the first thing we help them do is establish a strong tone and message. That’s something every brand needs to connect with its audience and ultimately succeed. You need to authentically tell the story of your brand while showing your customers what you can do to help them. And let’s not forget about design – the important thing to note is that it’s the combination of strong messaging and visuals that will get your brand noticed.

As you build your foundation, know that you can’t do it alone. You need an agency that truly understands you, your brand and your vision. If you get this early step right, it can shave years off the time it takes your business to get from point A to B. (Wondering how to find the right agency? Try these tips).

03 | Marketing Ideas to Advance Your Business
You’ve learned your lessons and successfully identified strengths and weaknesses. Your priorities are in line – you know what you want to accomplish, and you even know where you want to start. Now’s the time for some creative marketing. When it comes to marketing and promoting our businesses, it can be easy to get stuck in the same routine – offering the same types of partnerships, performing the same types of promotions.

If you’re stuck, put yourself in the shoes of your potential clients – where would they be? What needs do they have? How can you get their attention and, more importantly, how can you really, truly connect with them? This goes above and beyond spending more on Twitter advertisements – we’re talking getting creative. We recommend our clients have an arsenal of email marketing templates ready to deploy so that they remain in constant contact with their audience.

You also want to think about third third-party platforms to integrate your business, like MailChimp and their lead-generation services, Piqora or Tapshop, to name a few. And don’t forget about good ol’-fashioned outreach! You should be connecting with three or four brands, platforms or publications that you’d like to work with each quarter. Make sure you’re doing this, or have someone who can assist you.

Now: Put in some time, think of a few solid ideas and introduce them to the world. We’re waiting.

Feeling overwhelmed? Need some guidance? We’re here to help. At DesignGood Studio, we love to help brands reach their goals – in fact, it’s what do best. Find more here.

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Editorial Collaborator: DesignGood Founder, Kristin Moses, who is an award-winning designer with 16 years of marketing and branding experience, joins Conscious with a monthly column to explore how design has to do something that matters.  Read our interview with Kristin Moses here and follow the monthly column here.