Your brand is more than your logo, website, or perfectly curated Instagram feed.
One of the biggest mistakes I see companies do is investing in the DESIGN portion of the brand and then jumping right into marketing. Beautiful typography, color pallets, and iconography. A killer lead magnet and email follow up campaign.
But what about the STRATEGY that makes it all work? And I’m not talking about skin deep strategy either, I’m mean rolling up your sleeves and getting into the guts of your brand.
Before you start thinking that has to be a lengthy, painful process - it can be as easy as a 2 hour deep dive with your team, a month long intensive with a consultant, or a 6 month DIY project.
How you get there is up to you, but without a solid brand strategy your marketing will fall flat.
Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail
Your marketing strategy is meant to be a well oiled machine right? So why are you sitting there watching endless hours of content creation and ad dollars go down the drain?
You’ve done the social media post, sent out the newsletter, created a free offer, maybe even an automated email follow up if you’re feeling fancy …. but still crickets.
If you’ve been burning the midnight oil trying to do all the right things and are still sitting there scratching your head, you probably don’t have a marketing problem - you have a strategy one!
Too often a company is so focused on jumping into marketing they forget to invest in the clarity of their client, product offerings, user experience and most importantly, brand strategy.
When it comes to brand strategy people ask questions like:
Wait, why do I need it again? And how much does it cost?
Does a logo come with that?
Or my personal favorite, “Can’t I just write the blog/build the website/run the ad and do the brand stuff later?”
The truth is yes, yes you can skip the brand strategy phase … but no - you shouldn’t.
Branding, Marketing, + Sales … Oh My!
Between branding, marketing and sales it can get a bit overwhelming, to say the least. If you want to learn the difference between the three I wrote a blog about it here, but in the interest of time let’s break it down quickly right here:
What is your brand strategy? Think of your brand strategy as the rule book … a long term plan (brand) that helps you plan and execute short term actions and ideas (marketing) to drive revenue and growth (sales).
What is your marketing strategy? Think of your marketing strategy as the cheerleader … the actions you take to spread the word about what you do, who you help, bring in new clients, and manage the relationship with existing contacts. This is where the bulk of the action is happening.
What is your sales strategy? Think of your sales strategy as the closer … The touch points that move people through your client experience or sales pipeline to turn them into paying clients and raving fans (which in turn creates more clients). When branding and marketing are done right, sales should be a slam dunk!
While these are three distinct systems, most people focus on the marketing strategy. It is bright, shiny, fun and most importantly - it’s tangible!
It Starts With Your Client
Branding can feeling overwhelming but it is actually very simple … great brands have purpose and they apply that purpose to their client’s pain points.
Great brands resonate with their ideal clients mainly because they know who their client really is, what they want and how to solve their problems or make their lives easier.
So how do you get started? By answering one simple question in everything you do:
“What’s the one thing your customers want most in the world and how do you help them get that?”
Then deliver that in everything you do!
So What’s Involved In Strategy Work?
Brand strategy touches and informs every aspect of your business, it looks like:
Knowing your brand’s unique value + purpose
Understanding your client and what they are asking for
Adding value !!!!
Creating an intentional online experience (aka functional website)
Making your online presence consistent across all platforms
Having a clear, easy to buy product offering (aka not 1,000 different products + services)
Developing a high-touch sales pipeline and client experience
Spreading the message with consistent marketing communication/action items
Investing in high quality interaction and client experiences to reach more people
How Are All Of Those Things Brand Strategy?
Good question … they aren’t. But all of those things are affected by your brand strategy.
Think of your strategy as a roadmap to your success. It sets the direction, priorities, action items, and goals for everything you want to do. Once you have the roadmap laid out, plug in the destination to your GPS and watch as your operations, sales, marketing, etc all start moving together in the right direction.
The problem with focusing on marketing first is that they are only tools. while your strategy paves the way for those tools to actually work.
Done right, your strategy will save you loads of time and energy. Plus your marketing and sales efforts will be WAY more effective - saving you from headaches and wasted money in the long run.
The Value Of Your Brand
Like wearing a formal cocktail dress to a backyard BBQ or a knock out pair of shoes that kill your feet, it’s important to understand what tools you need and the best way to use them with your unique goals, resources, and limitations.
Your brand strategy will tell marketing and sales what to do so that you deepen your current relationships, provide a kick-ass client experience, continue to attract new people and walk them through a consistent and intentional process of becoming a paying client.
Don’t wait until your well laid plans and marketing efforts fall flat to start investing in your strategy!