As companies grow and scale, there are points in the business lifecycle when clearly articulating a brand strategy is critical to success. Brand strategy provides clarity and consistency to customers and employees.
When companies prepare for a merger, a new market entry, or building out a marketing department for the first time, this clarity and consistency is an indispensable tool.
I’m a brand strategist, so in my book, brand is always a critical component of a business. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, right?
That said, I also specialize in advising “second-stage” businesses; companies who have had significant periods of organic growth. Often these companies have flourished for years without ever really paying much attention to their brand and marketing strategy.
But when they come to us, something has changed. What got them to where they are will not get them to their next level. A strategic approach to brand and marketing is no longer a nice-to-have.
Here are the common scenarios when a clearly articulated brand strategy becomes mission critical for second-stage businesses.
- A pivot or growth opportunity in a new market. Brand strategy is critical here because established companies have something to lose. They have current customers who need to be served and often dozens of employees who need to stay busy. Chasing opportunities without a clear and consistent way to communicate what is going on, both internally and externally, is a recipe for disaster.
- A merger or acquisition. This is a point when companies can waste tremendous resources, either by not respecting the equity in existing brands or overestimating brand equity. Do you keep the old brands? Combine them? Ditch them? Making these decisions emotionally can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted activity and squandered opportunity.
- A new CEO. In second-stage companies, a new CEO often means the transition from owner/founder to a seasoned industry leader, and is usually done to reinvigorate an organization’s potential. The new CEO will often have an evolved vision for the company, and will need to be able to translate how the company’s past connects to this new future. The clarity and consistency that a strong brand strategy provides will answer internal and external questions, quell fears, and create next-level opportunities.
- Building out a marketing department for the first time. This one might seem a little counterintuitive, but it’s very beneficial to already have a clearly articulated brand strategy, brand language, and some brand standards before you build out a substantial internal team. Doing this work first means that the leadership team will better understand the skillsets they need to bring in house. They will also be able to attract more seasoned and expert talent that can drive the organization forward. If potential employees can see and feel the vision for the brand, they can better understand how they fit into the future picture.
If you are facing any one of these pivotal moments in your company, brand strategy can bring clarity, confidence, and efficiency to your next move.
And if you need expert guidance to walk you through the basics of crafting a brand strategy, check out our new custom workshop, Build Your Brand Strategy. Over two sessions, we will work with your leadership team to evaluate your opportunities, demystify branding best practices with some simple tools, and let you benefit from our years of experience working with companies who have faced the same questions, challenges, and turning points.