With January upon us, many people are of the mindset “out with the old, in with the new.” Whether something as simple as new clothes or as life changing as a new career route, the beginning of a new year is a time that often inspires change in many people. It can be completely scrapping an idea that seemed like a good idea at the time, or starting from scratch on a project that just isn’t moving in the right direction. In both of these situations, there are likely quality ideas and time spent working on them, and it can be a waste to trash the whole.

Rather than a complete overhaul, it may be worth considering sticking to the old approach, only with a new perspective. You know what works, and you know what doesn’t work. For example, if you primarily focus your marketing plan around email, but everyone else is focusing on social media as the heart of their marketing, it may seem like the natural progression for you to also do that. But you know email, you know how it works for you, and it may be a major risk to entirely change direction from email based to social media based. So it would make sense rather than starting new to take a new approach to how you send you emails, or your content, or your design. But how?

Revitalize without Undergoing an Entire Rebranding
One thing that many companies do is decide that they need a rebranding, either as a way to get new publicity, freshen up their appearance, or spend a lot of money to end up in the same place in a year or two. Sure some companies are in serious need of rebranding, a full on overhaul, but what the ones in the middle often don’t realize is that it is possible to simply revitalize you brand without entirely starting from scratch. Some companies make revitalization an annual event, that allows people to recognize them but also know that they keep things fresh.

Consider new photos on your website and in collateral you regularly print anyway. Clean up clutter on your statements to make the vital information obvious. You can even consider rearranging the office to give people a new flow and to freshen things up. Revitalizing can be simple, it lets people know that you’re actively involved in your company and its appearance. Companies with uniforms can introduce a new color or style, or you can consider answering the phone in a different way. Revitalization can be as subtle or as extreme as you’d like it to be, but it can be simple.

Determine Various Variables and Target One At a Time
If you feel like you need a change from something you already do as the new year gets rolling, rather than completely up and starting something new, look at the variables in your current approach and consider changing one at a time to see if you get the results you desire. That will give you a measurable way to see what works and what doesn’t. If your normal email marketing used to get more hits than it does, that doesn’t mean that you need to scrap email marketing completely in favor of something else. Maybe your target demographic has evolved, so you need to target new peoples. Maybe your email design is looking tired, and could use a refresh.

This doesn’t apply simply to marketing, it can be any part of what you do and what you have to offer. If you can’t isolate a single item or two that is adversely affecting the effectiveness of your campaign, you’re going to have a hard time coming up with the best approach. Maybe you’ve sent annual appeal letters so often that people just throw them away. If you switch that entirely from a paper campaign to online, you’re changing every variable thus making it harder to compare apples to apples. On the other hand, if you change from a standard mailed letter to a brightly colored brochure and remit, and see larger results, then those results are easier to measure.

Trends are Cyclical-Consider Ideas of the Past
Chances are the way you’ve done things has evolved over the years, and you used plenty of ideas at one point that have fallen by the wayside. But just because they weren’t effective five or ten years ago, doesn’t mean that they won’t be affective now. People like different, people like nostalgia. Between those two things alone, revisiting a trend of the past could just give you the change you need. If something stands out among all of the branding and companies out there that seemingly do the same thing, that is likely going to be successful, even if it is a recycled idea from years ago.

Trends are cyclical, look at clothing and cars. Trends come back, and get freshened up for the new decade. There was a time that getting a letter in the mail was ordinary, but if you got an email from someone, that was awesome. But now people are so inundated with emails and texts and social media, that a letter in the mail is once again an exciting thing. Look for trends with such cycles and chances are you can take a new approach to something that was once a success, and make it success again in the new year.

So just because an idea has been done before, or was a trend of the past, it doesn’t mean that idea no longer holds value. There is value to be found in what you already know works, as long as you’re willing to look at it from a different perspective, thus allowing it to be freshened up and ready for use in the new year. Complete overhauls are sometimes necessary, but before making the plunge it only makes sense to look at old ideas with a new set of eyes in the new year.

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