Growing your business sustainably can be a tough egg to crack in our current condition. The slowing economic growth and faltering customer confidence mean business conditions are declining. One wrong move and you could end up wasting your money on initiatives that are bound to fail.
When time, money, and focus are at a premium, where can you apply them for the greatest leverage and result?
Insight: Branding and strategy are pivotal to unlocking your business’s step change.
Data: In 2018, we surveyed CEOs and CMOs to find out where they are likely to invest. Most of them want to invest in their brand first, and their strategy second, with everything else a distant third.
What’s the step change: A coherent branding and a strong marketing strategy are two of the soundest investments you can make to stand out from your competition.
Why Investing in Your Brand Is Worth Your Dollars
Your brand is your most valuable asset. It’s how your customers, employees, and stakeholders perceive your business. Investing in it is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business sustainably.
In fact, Lucidpress reports, “The average revenue increase attributed to always presenting the brand consistently is 23%.”
Branding entails audience research, which allows you to gain insights into your customers’ pain points, needs, and barriers to purchase. It also strengthens your authority, increases brand awareness, and establishes your differentiation.
Remember, people don’t buy products. They buy brands. Having a powerful brand with a unique value proposition positions you as a leader and authority in your industry, attracting high-value customers. Because, as you may already know, customers are willing to pay a premium price for a premium brand.
Tips for Investing in Your Brand in 2020
Given the benefits of powerful branding, it’s easy to see why CEOs and Senior-Level Marketers want to invest in branding first. So where do you begin? How do you develop a memorable brand that would boost your company value and attract more customers?
Get Clear on Your Story
Storytelling is powerful. Research shows that our brains respond to stories in deeply affecting ways. More brands are understanding how it can help shape perceptions and impact the bottom line.
How did your brand begin? What is its purpose? What challenges has it overcome? And what has it discovered? Strengthening the story of your brand is pivotal to making it compelling, interesting, and unique. Think about what your brand means to you and what it means to the employees within it.
Define Your Unique Value Proposition
Your value proposition is your brand’s promise to your customers. It highlights what you will deliver and what particular problem in your customers’ lives your product can solve. It also clearly defines what it is you do better than your competitors.
Why should people come to you rather than other places? What is the core of your brand, the thing that it should identify with the most? Take a look at your competition to see whether they are using similar values. You want your brand to stand out, which means you need your brand to be differentiated.
Get to Know Your Audience
Do you really know your customers? A survey of 100 senior-level marketers revealed that most marketers don’t have enough customer insight and data to deliver targeted campaigns, thus missing out on a great opportunity to build lasting relationships with their customers.
If you’ve been in business for quite some time, you can start by getting to know your current clients on a deeper level. What appeals to them? What do they value the most? What are their problems? What prevents them from buying your offering? Where do they go for information?
Humanise Your Brand
Your customers are more likely to relate to a story or a character than a mere brand name. Personifying your brand can bridge the gap between you and your audience. Bring your brand to life with a bit of a personality.
If your brand could speak, what would it say? How would it say it? Is your brand lighthearted and witty? Or is it serious and smart? This will make it easier for you to create material for your brand.
Make Your Brand Consistent
The internet makes it possible for your brand to be displayed in multiple channels. When it comes to brand messaging, consistency is key. But oftentimes, delivering a consistent brand identity and brand promise across a multi-channel environment can be challenging.
If your branding isn’t consistent, it’s going to be muddled in the minds of your customers. When your customers think about your brand, they should be able to isolate just a few things that your brand represents.
To ensure consistent branding, consider the following.
- Develop brand guidelines
- Produce consistent brand visuals
- Develop a brand experience and embed it in your culture
- Pay attention to your marketing efforts
Why Should You Invest in Strategy?
Many businesses falter with their marketing initiatives because they don’t invest in strategy. Strategy can be invisible: it’s difficult to recognise that you need a comprehensive strategy until your marketing fails.
Strategy affects all elements of your marketing, and failing to have a complete strategy will quickly mislead you.
Time, dollars, and focus are all scarce resources. Strategy lets us know where to apply these resources and how. It determines how you will “win” at your marketing, and it’s critical to expanding your company’s reach, awareness, and brand. Strategy can be used to support your branding, while your branding will help you develop your strategy.
Tips for Investing in Your Strategy in 2020
It’s easy to see how strategy can help, but it’s often more challenging to find actionable methods of improvement. How do you build your strategy?
Start with Your “Why”
We’ve asked members of leadership teams to define their company purpose in 60 seconds — and each one would give a different answer and couldn’t get one word aligned.
Strategy should not start with “what” (what are we selling?” or “how” (how do we do what we do?”. It needs to start with why — why does your business exist in the first place?
A good company purpose guides your strategy. It also gives you a lens to put your customer at the very centre — so your purpose doesn’t just live in the head, but also in the heart of your organisation.
Know Your Context
All strategy arises out of context. You need to have a diagnosis of your current situation. Before developing a strategy, it’s crucial for you and your leadership team to have a deep understanding of the context in which your business operates.
To do this, you need a tool that considers the time-critical nature of your context — because if the context changes, then strategy has to change. You need to work with a tool that lets you understand how the world works rather than fight against it.
That’s why we recommend the strategic radar for this. It allows you to be very specific when it comes to discovering time-critical opportunities and assessing and prioritising challenges. It also gives you a single-page look at the relationship between your business and the context.
If your key stakeholders and employees are not on board with your strategic decisions, it is highly unlikely that they’ll be able to execute your plans effectively.
Activities across the business need to move the organisation in the right direction and the same direction. Without proper alignment from executives down to the front-line staff, there is that danger of wasting precious time and limited resources and can undermine the outcomes of the key strategic projects that support your goal.