The biggest mistake when it comes to branding, is not having a Brand Strategy.
It’s important as a business owner that you understand the importance of having a Brand Strategy before you implement your Marketing Strategy.
Let’s start with the term strategy. Simply put, strategy is a clear plan of action for achieving a desired outcome. You have a Business Strategy. You have a Marketing Strategy. But what sits in between your Business Strategy and your Marketing Strategy is your Brand Strategy.
Before you go to market and implement your marketing strategies and tactics, you need to get crystal clear on:
- Who are you marketing to?
- What’s the problem that you’re solving for them?
- Why should they listen to you?
A Brand Strategy is simply this:
How do you need to be perceived in the marketplace in order to not only attract your ideal clients and customers, but to create raving, loyal fans.
So what does a Brand Strategy do? It does three things.
- It informs all of your visual creative decisions from the design, the look and feel, the color palette, to the kinds of fonts and imagery that you use for your brand.
- It defines the verbal expression of your brand. The language, the words, the tone and the voice in which your brand communicates.
- It allows you to define and create the desired brand experience that you want to have with your ideal customers.
Now most businesses start out with a CEO, or a founder with a brilliant idea for a product or a service that solves a problem in the marketplace. And they were so great at sales and business development that they were able to build a successful business and it got them to a certain point. But inevitably, it will only take them so far without having a Brand Strategy in place.
Oftentimes, the founder will take a step back and revisit their Business Strategy, which means they then need to revisit their Brand Strategy. Or more importantly, if they didn’t have a Brand Strategy, they need to go and take a step back to create a clearly defined Brand Strategy.
For example, a client with a service-based business was quite successful but wanted to change their Business Strategy to a product-based business and do less one-on-one private consulting and coaching. Their Brand Strategy needed to reflect that, which meant they needed to diminish their personal branding efforts to look more like an enterprise that had a team of people rather than personal brand.
A different client had built a business with just one product and they had a revenue stream, but now they wanted to create the halo effect of the success of that one product to extend into product lines and expand their portfolio of revenue. That requires a different Brand Strategy to look more of a of a house of brands or a company that delivers a suite of products.
Another example is a startup company that knew they needed to build a brand from the beginning. Why? Because they’re going after corporate clients. Their Brand Strategy needed to have them look like a professional, legitimate organization—not a mom and pop shop. They understood that the impression made within the first 10-15 seconds could make or break their ability to convert a prospect into a lucrative contract.
So remember, whether you’re just starting out, or if you have an established business, build a Brand Strategy first before implementing your Marketing Strategy.