5 Simple(-ish) steps that cut through the clutter
Marie Kondo is changing our lives. Or, at the very least, she’s inspiring people to make social media posts about potentially changing their lives (same diff, right?) with her KonMari Method™ of decluttering. Propelled onto pop culture radar on January 1 by her Netflix show – Tidying Up With Marie Kondo – the world renowned tidying guru has taken her magical blend of Japanese minimalism, quirky spirituality, camera-friendly charm and actual brilliance and transformed herself into a cultural phenomenon seemingly overnight. Of course, true fans know Kondo is a New York Times best-selling author who exploded onto the (American) lifestyle scene five years ago when her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was first published in English. She has also published two subsequent books and has been listed as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people.
Yeah, but now that she’s viral, we’re listening!
Until Kondo was was on Netflix and became an internet sensation (oh, the memes!), who really cared, right? Hoarders gonna hoard. Well, they sure care now with Kondo gaining 84,700 Instagram followers and nearly 50,000 Facebook followers in the first week of January. In that same week, people spent more than 700,000 engaged minutes online reading articles about Marie Kondo. For a little perspective, that’s up from 57,432 minutes prior to the Netflix trailer’s December release.
All this buzz got me thinking… isn’t cutting through the clutter one of the primary goals of marketing? What if we could Marie Kondo a brand? (Yep, she’s a big enough deal to be a verb now.) So, purely for research purposes you understand, I settled into a good Netflix binge and, with no further adieu, here’s how some of the primary tenets of the KonMari Method can help you get your brand in order:
1. Commit to the process
The KonMari Method is a very “all in” approach to tidying. There’s no “little by little.” Kondo outlines a strict process and her clients follow it. Period. In terms of branding, tidying up is about taking a close, critical look at your voice and tone, visuals, digital properties, social channels, marketing strategies – the whole shebang. What’s working? What isn’t working? What feels true to your mission? What aspects has the brand outgrown? In order to conduct a successful brand audit, you need to be methodical and pragmatic, and your team must commit to completing the work in a reasonable timeframe.
2. Visualize your ideal
Kondo is motivated by the desire to help people live better, happier lives through tidying up. She asks clients to visualize the lifestyle they want and then helps create a space where that’s possible. With a brand audit, it’s essential that you begin with a tangible goal in mind. Before you put (hours and hours of) time into analyzing every tool in your brand’s box, sit down with your team and document a list of desired outcomes. Do you want to save X amount of marketing dollars by creating a leaner, more effective plan? Do you want to develop a refreshed voice and logo? What – or even, who – do you want your brand to be in a year’s time?
3. Tidy by category
One of the KonMari Method’s most intriguing guidelines is that it asks people to sort through and eliminate items by category rather than room. For example, sort through all clothing first, then all books, etc. When you’re auditing, it’s important to maintain your focus and really analyze each brand element and marketing tactic one at a time. Audit all your collateral. Then your website. Then your social properties. Ad campaigns. Direct mail pieces. And so on and so forth. No jumping around!
4. Keep only what sparks joy
Ah, yes, this is the KonMari rule that has gotten the most attention. Kondo, delightfully optimistic and enviably mindful, advocates that we focus not on what we eliminate but rather on what we keep. And we are to keep only those things that spark joy. Ok… what? Yeah, that was my reaction, too, but she suggests holding each item in your hands and listening to your body’s response to it. Do you feel the way you feel when you hold a puppy? (Actual explanation from Kondo, by the way). That’s joy. Keep the item!
I’m guessing none of your marketing materials make you feel like you’re holding a puppy, but that doesn’t mean you should ditch your brand. If you’re looking at strategy and tactics, interpret joy as ROI, engagement, lead generation, etc. If you’re auditing the creative aspects, did your team get excited by these concepts? Can you remember the energy in the room the first time you saw the sketches or heard the lines? Yeah… that’s joy.
5. Follow the right order
Kondo’s process follows a certain order for a reason. Clothes, followed by books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items) and, finally, sentimental items. She takes her clients from the easy tasks to the most challenging. Order will be important for your brand audit as well, although not necessarily the order of the categories you’re looking at. Here are steps you won’t want to take out of sequence:
- Set your goals
- Communicate to the staff at large
- Audit piece by piece
- Analyze big picture findings
- Formulate a revised plan based on your audit
- Develop new creative to meet objectives
- Present to the staff
See? Easy-peasy, right? Your brand will be living its best life in no time! Now let me get back to Netflix. I have more… research to do, yeah.
Interested in conducting a brand audit but need a little help? Let’s get started!
Check out these related blog posts: