Brand strategy can be defined as the optimal organization of scarce resources in a configuration that most effectively achieves a brand’s business objectives.
Mistakenly, many think of branding simply as a cool logo, catchy name/tagline, an attractive website, etc. The fact is that these are important components of Brand Identity and represent only the visual look and feel to frame the external brand perception. Brand identity deals with the chassis of the brand.
At the core of highly successful brands is a well-crafted brand strategy which integrates all the brand’s operations, sales, and marketing in such a way that every marketing initiative directly serves the specific business objective of the brand. Business results are thereby realized through tactical execution of the core brand strategy. Brand strategy deals under the bonnet directly with the engine that runs the brand.
Gross inefficiencies, misallocation of resources, interdepartmental misalignment, and lost business opportunities are just a few by-products we have witnessed with brands that lack an effective sales-driven brand strategy.
Here are 5 reasons why your brand needs an effective brand strategy:
1. Information Management: Choosing to adopt an approach of creating and implementing an effective brand strategy is a tactical method of organizing all the brand related information bombardment you receive. By taking the time to plan the brand’s strategy, you can integrate all valuable information and convert it into practical actions in moving the brand closer to achieving your business objectives. Most brands operate in a reactionary manner and fail to create–and consistently implement–a formal brand strategy. Working and managing all the moving parts of a brand on the fly, or “winging it”, is simply not a successful approach.
2. Differentiate: Implementing an effective brand strategy actually differentiates your brand from competitors. Not only because most competitors fail to adopt this measure, but because you will become much more clear on who your brand is, what it stands for, and what consistent actions your team is dedicated in taking to achieve its objectives. This level of focus, commitment, and consistency permeates a sense of trust and integrity directly to your clients and differentiates how they experience your brand.
3. Leadership Alignment & Buy-In: Too often a brand’s executive leadership is not internally aligned with the optimal method to direct their brand toward their goals. Typically, leadership operates in a very fast paced environment without having integrated communications, frequent goal setting, alignment on brand mission, and not applying a tactical action plan to organize everyone’s actions in achieving the said objectives. Classic examples include sales and marketing departments clashing, passing the bucket as to who is at fault for stagnant sales levels or when the CFO and CMO are not aligning on the best method to set and allocate the marketing budget for ensuring an acceptable level of ROI. An effective brand strategy is one that integrates and synthesizes all the leadership’s input and organizes all core activities in such a way that executive management is on board and aligned. This makes a world of difference for the bottom line performance of the brand.
4. Capture, Compel, Close: All effective brand strategies are designed to Capture, Compel, and Close. What is being done actively to capture the attention of your client community? In which ways are you effectively compelling them to do business with your brand? Given that your revenues are realized when a transaction closes, what are you doing to maximize the conversion ratio and to close as many prospective leads as possible? Answering these questions in depth and formulating an effective strategy for each component is a sure way to achieve your desired business objectives. Remember: effective strategy implementation is as important as creating the brand strategy in the first place. Ensure that the strategy is action-driven and highly implementable.
5. Achieve Business Objectives (the point!): “Plan your work and work your plan.” -Vince Lombardi. On a practical level, an effective brand strategy aligns all the resources, people-power, and actions to be taken in directly achieving your business objectives. Then it’s up to you- as the brand manager, you have to direct your team to work your plan and bring it to life, making adjustments/enhancements where necessary, with milestone after milestone achieving your objectives. Simple yet profound.