We all roll our eyes when, the day after Labor Day, Halloween decorations appear in stores. Retailers have become increasingly annoying in their zeal to look ahead to the next holiday and opportunity to take our money. Whereas we do not condone the practice, we have to admit that retailers do an incredible job when it comes to looking ahead—something from which we can all learn.

We have to admit that retailers do an incredible job when it comes to looking ahead—something from which we can all learn.

It is November and although it’s not time to think about coloring eggs and filling Easter baskets, it is time to start thinking about 2020. Seriously, it’s now or never, because January has an exasperating habit of turning into June seemingly overnight. Plus, there is always a squeakier wheel screaming for your attention. Put in those earplugs for a couple of days between now and the end of the year to decide how you are going to help your brand help you build your business in the new year.

That process can seem overwhelming. We know. That’s why we suggest asking yourself these three questions to prioritize your branding efforts for 2020.

  1. What is your brand doing well right now? Does your brand help you connect with customers in a way that is relevant and competitively differentiated? Perhaps it is helping you keep sales cycles short. Or, perhaps it is keeping your employees engaged and working hard. Whatever it’s doing well, document what, how, and why — then move on.
  2. What isn’t your branding doing as well as it could? Now that you know what’s working, look at what could work better. Does everyone understand the brand? Do you have all the governance procedures in place? Is it helping your management team make decisions that align with how you help your customers?
  3. What’s coming up that the brand will need to support? What changes do you know or suspect are heading your way? Will you sunset a product or launch an upgrade to an existing one? Perhaps you are worried that a recession is coming (see our next story). Whatever is on your horizon, take a minute to assess what your brand will need to do to support that effort.

To be fair, these aren’t just three questions, they all lead to new ones, but that’s fine. After all, as the Chinese proverb goes, “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.”