I’ve heard it all before. Countless business owners have told me they don’t need branding to grow their business. One group of people will argue they just need to make more sales. Another group will tout they just need better marketing. My counter-argument is you need ALL three, branding along side sales and marketing.

But, where entrepreneurs get it wrong is they have the wrong context for branding. What I mean by this is some people see branding as something to do after they make sales or after they dial in their marketing.

That’s certainly one school of thought. And, it has worked for many business owners in the past. But that doesn’t mean it will continue to work today or in the very near future.

I’d like to broaden your context for branding and relate it to business growth. And, I presume that’s one of the things you want.

If so, then I’d argue there are three ways to grow your business (broadly speaking):

Option 01: Create a “sales-led” company.

In this approach, the CEO treats salespeople as the leaders who get all of the glory, fame, and recognition.

After all, they’re the ones knocking down doors, dealing with rejection, and tirelessly chasing down prospects in order to convert them into clients or customers.

The CEOs underlying philosophy is to “sell, sell, sell” — and therefore, the business will grow. Historically, this approach has worked for many companies, but at its core exists an old school mindset.

Option 02: Create a “marketing-led” company.

In this approach, it’s not just the salespeople who are responsible for the success or revenue of the company. In fact, it’s now the marketing team who has all the purse strings.

For small businesses without an in-house marketing team, they turn to their marketing agencies. The hands over thousands of dollars to help them better qualify, target and secure quality leads. In doing so, they help fill the pipeline for salespeople, supplying them with incoming leads for them to follow-up and close.

As you can imagine, this already seems to be a smarter way to grow your business, because you’re leveraging your time to focus your sales only on qualified leads. This approach works and it’s why it’s considered new school.

Option 03: Create a “brand-led” company.

Unlike the previous two approaches, a “brand-led” company is neither old school or new school. Instead, this is the future for entrepreneurs and business owners. In this approach, it’s not just the sales or marketing teams with the burden and responsibility of growing the business. Rather, the entire company, from the CEO to the receptionist, is unified and empowered around a singular Brand Purpose and Brand Promise. In addition, the company’s brand culture is now guided by a set of Brand Values that guide every behavior and actions that are “on-brand”. In my view, this is the future for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

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