You are in a moment where moving forward with your business means you’re likely about to take one of these three actions: expand your business, refresh it to keep up with changes in the market, or reposition it to leverage its full business potential.
If this is where you’re at, you know you will need to make some substantial changes and you probably already have an idea about the kind of investment you might need to make (e.g. hiring new people, starting new initiatives, implementing or optimizing marketing strategies and sales channels, etc.).
We call these investments because ideally, they will bring in several times more than what you pay in. That is, if you have a proper brand strategy foundation in place. Not having a brand strategy aligned with your business strategy could result in a huge unnecessary cost, and in fact, it is probably already costing you more than you realize.
Worst case scenario, having a good brand strategy aligned with the business can save you at least 100k yearly. And I am aiming really low here.
How much is it costing your business to not have a good brand strategy in place?
It depends. It depends on how much money you are willing to invest in your business. If you are not willing to invest in your business and grow it, I suggest you stop reading right now. I am only looking to connect with people who are ready and eager to move their business forward. If you have already invested in your business and you feel it’s time to take it to the next level, you are also in the right place.
Because here’s the truth: if you don’t have a clear brand strategy that’s integrated into the business strategy, it tells me that your business has no clear direction and that most of what you are doing is guessing as you go.
If it isn’t clear by now, I’m not a big fan of guessing. I’m a fan of goals, systems, and results. I’m a fan of doing the least to get the most out of everything. And that is why I am so passionate about helping others do the same with their brands!
When you have your own thinking system set up for your brand and business, you will know the reason behind everything you do, what you can expect from your efforts, and how to measure your results. No more guessing. Your business will embody all of your core criterias, from communicating to the soul of your customers to developing new products and hiring “perfect fit” team members. All while you get to feel more fulfilled by a business that is meaningful to you and connects to your deepest values and beliefs.
Without a brand strategy, you are just spinning your wheels trying to get “there.”
What do I mean about “there?” Please, tell me when you find out.
I’ve had leaders come to me saying they want “more sales”, “more communication channels”, “more content”, “more products”, “more audience”.. but “more” should not be your goal. “More” doesn’t necessarily mean better results. Do you actually know people want more from you or are you guessing? Think about it like this: You can increase your revenue 10x by doing more work, but if you are spending 20x what you normally do because all you’re doing is guessing, you aren’t going to make any profit.
Brand strategy that’s aligned with business strategy is a foundation built from the inside out. The process is designed to dig deep into your brand and take out the core essence of what it does better and what is most authentic about it. It takes the business leader’s story and background highly into consideration, building a sense of meaning and purpose that later converts into a bigger commitment and motivation to reach the brand vision.
The results are not only business goals but also brand goals (the impact the brand wants to create for their audience), aligned guidelines for communication, development of offers (services or products), marketing, and organizational structure.
Once the brand strategy is complete, it’s time to integrate it into the business strategy, which means defining clear actionable steps to adjust the business to achieve the goals that have been outlined.
The impact of the brand strategy in business.
If you’ve heard about brand strategy before, chances are good that you’ve heard it in the context of design or visual brand identity. This is the most common place where you will come across this term. Why is that? I will answer this question with another question:
“How can a designer create a design that communicates to people how they should feel about your brand if they don’t have clear guidelines about who your brand is and the goals you are trying to achieve?”
If this is true for designers, it is true for every other area in your company, too.
How will the marketing department market effectively if they don’t have clear guidelines about the psychological needs and motivations of your target audience?
How will human resources hire the right people if they don’t have a clear picture of the brand and company culture?
How will managers train teams to have innovative approaches and ideas if they have no guidelines on where the company is heading?
How will product development and research come up with new offers that your audience will love if they don’t know which problems they are trying to solve and how the brand wants to be perceived in the market?
How can salespeople or sales channels go beyond the short term and cultivate a long term relationship ($$$) between the audience and your brand?
Still not convinced?
Let’s do some math.
Let’s use a scenario of a really small business so we can stay very conservative with the numbers:
- If you are willing to hire at least one new person for your team, let’s hypothetically say this person would cost you (just considering the salary and taxes) 2.5k per month. (This number might double if it includes benefits, training, and other factors, but let’s just play with the minimum for now.)
- If you are willing to allocate a shy marketing budget that, let’s say, will cost around 3.5k monthly.
- If you are planning to invest in any kind of design work (website, sales materials, social media, brand identity redesign) the number might sky rocket, but let’s focus on recurrent materials like content creation and sales support materials, which we can consider for this kind of small business to be around 3k.
Adding up these conservative numbers (and knowing that this is very simplistic compared to each business’ unique needs and complexity of operation) we have 9k in monthly expenses in addition to your normal operating costs.
So, multiply that times 12 and we’re talking about 100k yearly in investments. Can you afford to not get this right? Without a GPS pointing you in the right direction toward your vision, you are not making the most out of what you are investing. You are throwing 100k every year into the trash bin.
2.5 + 3.5 + 3 = 9k/monthly
9k x 12 months = 108k/year
Again, keep in mind that this is a very conservative number, and that most business leaders who reach out to me already have an established business and are looking at expansion. So that number doesn’t even include the number of hours, energy, and money that are already being invested and that aren’t being optimized because there is no clear direction and vision for the brand.
Get the idea?
How much money can you save with a good brand strategy?
Brand strategy can help you to avoid hundreds of thousands in wasted money in the business, while helping you drive profitability and increase business value.
Here are just a few of the ways you waste money in your business because you don’t have a brand strategy that’s integrated with your business strategy:
- You are not aligning your marketing with the long term strategy.
- You are marketing incorrectly to your audience.
- You are advertising or communicating a message that doesn’t resonate.
- You are targeting the wrong audience.
- You are making random investments in marketing initiatives.
- You are looking after what your competitors are doing.
- You think that more money spent = more sales and more profit, which is so wrong.
- You are hiring the wrong people (not getting your priorities right).
- You are hiring people that don’t fit the company culture.
- You are giving unclear guidelines of what is expected in regard to brand experience.
- Your company culture is not aligned with what the brand communicates, causing teams to feel frustrated.
- You are not owning your positioning in the market.
- You are not aware of the best place in the market for you to thrive.
- You are approaching customers/clients with a weak value proposition.
- Your sales team or sales channels are not aligned with what the brand stands for.
- You are not communicating clearly that you understand your audience’s deepest desires.
- You are not communicating clearly that you know what is valuable for them.
- You are developing offers that are not aligned with your target audience’s pain points and psychological desires.
- You are betting on initiatives and technologies that demand a high investment in resources and energy that will not necessarily help you to reach your goals faster or better.
- You are running the risk of looking generic to your audience.
- You are not using design strategically to drive results.
- You are not using design to communicate your message and value to your audience.
- You are not using design intentionally to build value for your audience.
- You are dealing with the consequences of poor decisions that come from facing dilemmas without clear guidelines.
- You do not have enough perspective to measure risks.
- There is miscommunication and misalignment between leaders or teams, causing your company to apply energy in opposite directions.
- You are losing sight of the ultimate goal – which is achieving the brand vision.
These are just a few of the ways you are wasting money and energy in your company as a consequence of not having a brand strategy in place that is aligned with the business strategy.
Brand strategy can not only help you avoid wasting money, but it can also get you better results. It can help you:
- Generate customer loyalty intentionally;
- Clearly set yourself apart from your competitors;
- Filter out ill-advised ideas that would damage your brand-building efforts;
- Identify weaknesses in your brand experience;
- Achieve laser focus in your marketing efforts;
- Help designers and creatives do better and more effective work;
- Get everyone on the same page, from leadership to teams;
- Increase the valuation of your company;
- And generate high value and innovation in your products and services.
Having walked you through the impact of having a brand strategy that is integrated with the business strategy, I hope you are now more conscious of its influence in business success.
For those who are looking to expand, refresh, or reposition their brand, having your own brand GPS and guidelines is the first step for a sustainable and successful journey. For a business to be sustainable in the long run, we need to look to numbers, processes, and purpose.
To keep the operation running, you need the numbers.
To get the numbers, you need to connect with your ideal audience.
To connect with your ideal audience, you need to be clear on your vision and who you are.
One of the beliefs we hold at Into the Brand is that when business leaders are consciously aware of what their brand stands for and how they create value for others, they are able to achieve their goals and generate positive impact, feeling fulfilled by ventures that reflect their principles and beliefs.
If you’re not clear on your brand vision, goals, and the “whys” behind it all, you risk having a brand that is misaligned with the business and, despite all the effort and investment you put in the brand, you very well may be moving it in the wrong direction.
If you’re sitting there wondering if and how we can help you make sure you are heading in the right direction to fulfill your vision and make the most of your efforts, download our PDF guide to learn more about our brand to business strategy program: The Promised Land Strategy.
If you already downloaded it, apply fora FREE clarity call with me here so we can discuss the specific challenges in your business and how we can help you.