Good branding can only come from good brand strategy, an it can really breathe life into a business. In fact, many companies have been around since before branding was important, or maybe the business was growing and didn’t really know what it was yet. Whatever the case, there are some things to consider to make sure the branding effort keeps the good will of the current customer base but invites new clients in.
What does a successful branding strategy produce?
When everything is working well, it’s important to imagine the business as an ecosystem where balance is required in every aspect. To paint a picture of a successful launch of the brand strategy, it’s helpful to consider what your day looks like when the volume and intensity of the work is just right. Additionally, take into account the communication with your clients, the percentage of revenue that is profit, whether you have employees and how many, and if they are happy. A focus too far towards revenue can lead to holding on to unprofitable relationships while too focused on growth can lead to taxing your workforce and even losing star employees. Imagine your life two years after the successful launch of the brand strategy.
Who is your competition?
Every business has competition. It is possible that competition is not immediately evident to some or even that the business is in such a specific niche of the industry, the competition doesn’t encroach on the principal’s market. Even if that is the case, there are a few things to learn by studying even the most obscure and farfetched competition in the industry.
What can you learn form the way they conduct business? Are there any features or benefits they offer that you could also provide for your customer base? If it is true you don’t have any direct competition and your markets don’t even overlap, are there any gaps you could fill? Are there any customers who are not being served in a way you could provide? Would it be profitable to do so?
Brand strategy involves finding an audience that is or could easily become a captive audience.
Additionally, consider the following as competition:
Irrelevance stalks its prey for years, decades even, until it is time to pounce. It can turn a customer base against the business, or even the industry. Many times, often too late, the target may try to escape the clutches of irrelevance, but without success.
Savvy business owners don’t rely on just one stream of customers like word of mouth, paid advertising, print ads, mailers, or the idea that doing “what we’ve always done” will work forever. They are aware of the market and the people in it and are constantly testing to see what attracts the needed attention.
By forming a brand strategy around these findings, leveraging experience, and being open to new technologies, businesses can avoid sadly and slowly disappearing into the void.
The Future is always ahead of us. We can’t get there faster or slower, and we do not know what we will find when we get there.
Those who live in the moment, or by the day, or say “I’m just trying to get through this project” may find that they are not ready for what arrives. It’s important to build resources and relationships for these times. Those you meet today may not be your clients or partners today, but they may eventually be an integral part of your ecosystem.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This is a true statement when it comes to technology. We can use it to research markets, to make communication easier between our staff and the customers, to provide information to the community, and many other ways, regardless of the industry.
Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) make it easy even for those with no experience in a field to build a customer base around a new solution. Furthermore, AI can be used in a market research plan to find needs in a locality or industry and create the solution, thus claiming ownership of this new sub-industry.
Automation as a whole is on its way to reduce workforce, cost, and the need for a multitude of staffed locations. Brand strategy for tomorrow is using the technology of today, not yesterday.
Would you be willing to make changes to how you do business to allow the use of some of these technologies in order to maintain, or even grow, your market share?
Where do you fit?
What is your current positioning of your brand in the market? Do people know your name? What will happen to your position if you do nothing to solidify it?
Where do you want to be in two years? What are you willing to do to get there? Will you be able to stay competitive offering the same value you offer today?
It is important to consider all of these together. There is no right or wrong answer. A certain business owner or practitioner will come across these questions and will be able to confidently reply that they have nothing to worry about. They’ll affirm that they could literally do nothing and keep their same market share until the day they hang it all up and retire. Just as likely, they won’t have to say anything at all because their brand strategy says it for them.