“If I were given an hour in which to do a problem upon which my life depended, I would spend 40 minutes studying it, 15 minutes reviewing it and 5 minutes solving it.” – Albert Einstein
When it comes to leading your brand to success, there’s one thing that serves as the most important tool for any business leader — core strategy.
Your brand’s core strategy is the first step in guiding all future accomplishments. Before designing a logo, executing digital marketing tactics, or even ordering business cards, all of a company’s decision makers must sit down, voice, and synthesize their collective vision for the brand.
Developing a core strategy can lead to a number of tangible benefits, one of which includes a high-level roadmap to building powerful brand equity.
By prioritizing strategy first, brands can benefit from the following five key principles:
1. Knowing your customers.
Beyond anything else, the success of a brand relies on knowing your customers inside and out.
A quality, facilitated strategy session can help you hone in key aspects of your customer base — everything from their lifestyle, preferences, top pressure points, to just how your brand can solve their biggest problems.
As simple as it sounds, these vital points are actually where many brands and businesses go wrong. Without developing clarity, you can easily sabotage your every branding, design and marketing effort down the line.
Between missing opportunities with customers, sinking time and money into ineffective marketing strategies, and the consequential cost of fixing these mistakes, neglecting your brand’s core strategy can seriously add up in cost.
That being said, prioritizing strategy makes everything down the road much more simple.
Questions like “Where should I advertise?” or “How do I appeal to my customers?” or even deceptively simple questions like, “What should my website look like?” are easily answered by referring back to the initial insights of your core strategy.
Thanks to a clear strategy designed ahead of time, brands can build assets, grow and adapt in order to meaningfully speak and matter to their customers.
With a solid foundation, remaining branding, marketing and design efforts will come more easily.
Over time, in addition to spending less time and money, your brand will effectively see more success with customer relationships and loyalty as well. Any future marketing plan will be built perfectly to target your ideal customer. Most importantly, your ideal customer, in turn, will feel truly connected to your brand’s mission, service and products.
2. Aligning your team.
In many cases, team members and different stakeholders often have conflicting ideas of their vision for a brand or business.
Even a solo entrepreneur can try too hard to incorporate conflicting brand attributes. This can lead to discord and confusion within the brand’s identity itself, and most dangerously, alienate or even confuse customers.
Prioritizing a core strategy session brings everyone together on the same page.
Suddenly, everything from big decisions revolving around brand messaging and marketing tactics, to seemingly minor details like the brand’s color palette, all become much easier to decide on together.
Not only does a good core strategy session help to align top decision makers, it can also help team members understand how they should ideally interact with customers and even with one another.
3. Cultivating a strong brand identity.
Cohesive brand messaging is also key to compelling your customers.
While many brands and businesses struggle with how to effectively communicate a single message, others struggle with communicating too many messages at once.
It can be off-putting to customers when they encounter conflicting content. A business may think it is appealing to a wider audience by publishing a range of messaging, but the reality is that customers may be alienated by dissonance in tones.
By developing a strong core brand strategy from the beginning, you ensure that every aspect of your business is united in action towards the same goal.
A good rule of thumb is that your customer experience should completely align with your brand messaging. This includes everything from the tone of your marketing materials, to the message in your advertisements, to even yes, the nitty-gritty of your brand’s visuals and design.
Avoid confusing customers through conflicting brand voices, design or messaging.
Instead of trying to cast a wider net, you can always reflect on the fundamentals of your brand’s core strategy session. Your ideal customer persona and what they’re searching for in their ideal solution has already been identified!
Utilize those insights, and build your brand’s plan for success around that.
4. Focusing on what sets your brand apart.
The fact is, there is a prospective customer for every product, service or solution. With that in mind, there is one giant, neon-flashing question that many businesses ask, again and again: “How do I convince the customer to choose ME?”
Fundamentally, customers choose their loyalties based on the strength of a company’s brand.
Again, developing a core strategy from the beginning is key to the answer. During a quality facilitated strategy session, your company can self-reflect on the most important questions regarding its identity. In short, you determine what sets your brand apart from the competition — then how best to communicate that to your customers.
Your brand is what draws in your customers and earns their loyalty. When they feel like they can connect with your brand, they’re much less likely to explore other businesses with similar services. Lifelong customers are the true backbone of a business.
By investing in your brand, your business will be able to rely on these customers for years to come. Furthermore, these customers make recommendations to friends and family, which leads to organic growth!
Eventually, your brand will benefit from multiple channels of growth and even occupy a larger share of the market… all because you invested in core strategy early on.
5. Keeping your eye on growth.
A key focus of a brand’s core strategy is to identify the company’s current status, and to spell out possibilities for its potential future.
Whether it entails new, physical locations, additional product lines, or simply increasing the scale of its operation, expansion should always be on the mind of every business leader.
While expansion often seems better matched for a discussion regarding a brand’s business plan, it absolutely belongs in a marketing conversation, too.
The entire purpose of a powerful marketing plan is to help the company successfully evolve from its current to its future form.
An honest, candid conversation about what it takes to reach expansion goals is vital to the company’s success – and so is weaving those goals into an underlying marketing plan.
A smart marketing plan takes growth efforts into account and incorporates them into the roadmap.
Based on this information, even technical aspects can be planned for future expansion. For example, you can choose a scalable platform for your website from the beginning, if you know that in the future, you’d like to incorporate e-commerce capabilities to support product purchases; or user account creation for community development.
By effectively developing your brand’s core strategy early on, with an eye on expansion, you can save crucial time, money and effort down the road, allowing you to spend resources when most needed.
How Does Strategy Impact Your Brand?
Ultimately, a solid core strategy serves as the North Star for all future endeavors regarding your business.
With this tool at hand, you will intimately know your ideal brand messaging and customer base, your unique point of differentiation, as well as your potential targets for future expansion.
Develop clarity early on with a core strategy session. Backed up by team alignment and the strong loyalty of your customers, you will find the road to your brand’s success a good deal easier!
Does your company’s brand reflect your vision? If not, it may be time to revisit your core strategy. Book an initial consultation with us to learn how. Sometimes, an outside perspective is all you need!