Why investing in brand strategy before marketing tactics is critical to early stage growth.
Without first investing in brand strategy for your early stage business, you'll be throwing marketing money down the drain.
For early stage Founders the idea of investing in brand strategy is a leap of faith. It’s difficult for many to place a financial value and project a return on the investment in advice, guidance and intangible ideas to build the value of their brand.
That’s why marketing tactics are so appealing to early stage Founders. They want everything in simple do-it-yourself templates coupled with data and metrics to hedge their bet and show near instant returns.
If it were that easy, every business would be successful.
In their early growth stages, Founders typically aren’t in a position to appreciate the value of investing hard cash in a mental exercise of strategic thinking. Most are heads down in the grind of creating customers and managing process .
Customer segmentation, positioning, architecture, storytelling and brand voice are concepts not sales generating activities. It’s easier for early stage Founders to embrace more marketing tactics in the form of logos, PR and paid media campaigns, SEO, websites, lead generation, sales promotion, social media, email and marketing communications.
Without a unifying strategy, random marketing tactics just burn precious time and money and produce the sound of one hand clapping.
I don’t think I’m overstating the fact most marketing stuff simply gets ignored at best, and worse blocked. Consumers are drowning in tactical marketing stuff. Just look at your Facebook feed. Every third post is an ad. Everywhere is noise and clutter. How will your fledgling brand break through?
To grow your brand against these headwinds you'll need to bake your marketing into a designed customer experience that is beloved. To accomplish that requires an investment in a plan for how you will manage the meaning of your brand to grow your business.
Developing a brand strategy not only guides and informs marketing tactics, but it’s even more critical to the decisions that are made to build a culture based in the shared values of higher value customers your business seeks to serve.
The earlier a unifying brand strategy is adopted and flawlessly executed within an organization, the better prepared business leaders are in making the right tactical moves necessary to take advantage of the right market opportunities.
The diagram below illustrates how brand strategy is the natural extension of the business strategy and serves as the foundation for your decisions in every aspect of the ecosystem of your business/brand.
It’s like having a magic wand!
After struggling for a year to position and express their value to customers, this is how one of my Founder clients described the result of our accelerated brand transformation work.
Brand transformation is art and science–only the results look like magic.
I’ve witnessed many early stage Founders struggle to transform their business to the next level of success. They struggle with a lack of clarity, objectivity, confidence and creativity necessary to build a valuable enduring brand.
For early stage Founders, particularly those with revenues under $1million, it’s critical to strategically define the purpose, architecture, value and expression of your business/brand at this early growth phase.
In an age of clutter, noise and abundant choice, how will you distinguish your unique value to the marketplace and create a “one and only” brand your customers will love for a lifetime?
To influence the marketplace in the digital age, your brand must represent an experience so valuable in the minds of your customers they would never consider to purchase an alternative.
Building a remarkable brand is a high bar indeed. Anything less and you’ll struggle just to crawl your way to the middle as you watch more agile and forward thinking players lead the market. There are two business realities facing startup and early growth stage Founders in the digital age:
innovation is more important than process.
move up the value chain or be cast aside.
If you find yourself evaluating the cost/benefits of investing in a disciplined brand strategy, you might ask yourself, how much it’s worth to you to insure your future success?
If you're facing a brand growth challenge in your business, let's have a conversation.
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