An effective brand strategy helps you cultivate a strong brand. It defines who you are as a business, as a person and focuses on your short-term and yourlong-term goals. Without a brand strategy, you have no way to judge whether your brand is moving in the right direction or not. Having an effective brand strategy will helpyou stay on track with the goals you’ve set out for your organization.
Branding is more complex in the way we do business now. We used to think ofit as just a logo or slogan, but truly, it’s the ingredients of who you andyour company are. Creating a brand allows your client understand what you believe in, and how you would like to present yourself to them.
When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience…everything from your logo, to your website, your values, your mission, social media experiences, and the way you communicate personally with your customers.
Laura Lake is a marketing professional and author of "Consumer Behavior for Dummies." Her practical guide gives you the tools to identify the influences that affect consumer purchasing behavior. It teaches you how to apply that knowledge as you develop a marketing strategy that speaks directly to your client needs. You can learn how to grasp consumer attention, motivate them to purchase your products and services, and earn their loyalty. All of these strategies tie into your brand strategy.
Without a plan, it’s much more difficult to measure and prepare for successful evidence-based outcomes.
What else does branding do?
- Promotes recognition
- Helps set you apart from the competition
- Tells people about your business DNA
- Provides motivation and direction for your staff
- Generates referrals
- Helps customres know what to expect
- Represents you and your mission to your customers
- Helps you create clarity and stay focused
- Helps you connect with your clients emotionally
- Provides your business strong value
- Establishes trust
“Trust from your audience is one of the most important things youcan have as a business, but this isn’t always easy to gain. A business that’smissing key elements of branding will have an even harder time getting peopleto trust them.”
When you look at your branding, how does it translate to trust and authenticity? It can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand. In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you. A good brand doesn’t just happen overnight. It has to be well thought out and implemented strategically.
Think about the brands that you purchase from (Coca-Cola,Wrangler, Apple, Ford, Chick-Fil-A, Tory Burch)… are these companies really worth their equipment, their products, their warehouses, or factories?
No, these companies are worth much more than their physical assets…their brand has created a value that far exceeds their physical value.
Start out by asking yourself these 6 key questions:
1. Where are you now? What is your current situation? If your business was in trouble and you hired an outside consulting firm to come in to help, the first thing the consultants would do would be to determine your exact levels of sales in every product/service area, the relative profitability of each of your products and services, the trends in each area, the amount of money you have and will have in the foreseeable future, and your position relative to your competition. These are all pieces of information that you can and must generate foryourself.
2. How did you getto where you are today? What were the factors and decisions that led to your current situation? Be your own management consultant. Be prepared toface “the brutal truth,” as Jim Collins calls it, about how you got to whereyou are today. Refuse to flinch or exaggerate, especially when you have problems with sales and profitability.
You cannot resolve a problem or resolve a difficult situation unless you have the courage to face the current facts squarely whatever they are. Reevaluate all your business activities. Is everything you are doing necessary to win and keep customers? What savings could you generate by partnering with other companies to do work or carry overhead? What activities would you outsource without reducing quality or service to your customers?
3. Where do you want to go from here? What do you want to accomplish? Clearly describe the ideal desired outcome for your business. Project forward three and five years and imagine that your business was perfect. The greater clarity you have about where you want to be at a specific time in the future, the easier it will be for you to create a great business plan, or blueprint, that will enable youto get from where you are today to where you want to go. Be specific about your future goals and desired outcome.
- How much would you be earning (gross and net), and how does that compare with your competitors?
- How much product would you be selling five years from now?
- How many people would be working in your business?
- Who would your customers be and where would they be located?
4. How do you get from where you are today to where you want to be in the future? What are the steps that you will have to take to create your ideal future business? Makea list. Write down every single thing that you can possibly think of that you would have to do to achieve your goals in the future.
5. What obstacles will you have to overcome? What problems will you have to solve? Of all the problems or obstacles standing between you and your desired future outcomes, what are the biggest or most important? If you weren’t alreadya fast-growing, highly profitable company, why not? What is holding you back? What are the critical constraints or limiting factors for growth? Sometimes, just identifying and removing one critical block or obstacle can turn your company into a more profitable enterprise.
6. What additional knowledge, skills, or resources will you require to achieve your strategic objectives? What additional competencies or capabilities will you need if you want to lead your field in the years ahead? Every business begins and grows around a set of core competencies, but there are almost always additional core competencies that you’ll need to acquire or develop over time. If your company is already the market leader, then explore what new areas you can excel in.
What can I do, starting today, to begin to achieve those core competencies to create my business of the future?