In today’s world of instant information and increasingly savvy consumers it’s easy for a business to lose its direction and get drowned out by the competition. If your business is going to stay afloat it needs to be guided by a strong brand strategy that permeates all levels of your organisation. Find out what makes a brand-guided company so different and how branding can be the most valuable tool your business has for successfully navigating the global marketplace.
Never before have customers been so diverse, wise, fickle and demanding. Customers want brands that are relevant and appropriate – not just at one point in time, but on an ongoing basis, with offerings customised to their liking. Using brand as a decision filter will allow your company to act decisively and deliver exactly what your customers want, in a way that simply weighing business decisions against external factors and an ever-changing economy never can. And in today’s market, this distinction is vital.
Businesses don’t have the luxury of being one or two-dimensional anymore – consumers have less time, are more knowledgeable, and have the ability to access information almost instantly. In what has essentially become a global marketplace, businesses need to be interactive and brands need to be engaging if they are going to succeed in grasping – and keeping – consumer attention.
The need for businesses to expand responsibility for their brand management beyond the marketing department and use it to guide decision making across all business functions and geographies is increasing in importance. Rather than just being a driver for communications, a multidimensional, well-considered brand strategy is integral to the execution of your business strategy. A strong brand does more than merely guide what you say as a company – it lets people know what you do, and how you do it; it is your business’s internal compass.
Your brand is the platform that drives everything else, and numerous businesses are ‘cashing in’ on the success that comes with using brand as their core decision-making tool: Apple, Google, Dell, Virgin, and Vodafone are all fantastic examples of how a clear brand strategy can make a business plan engaging and create a practical platform for action, enabling people and businesses to do more.
There are many studies that have shown that brand guided companies significantly outperform their competitors, and I’m certainly not the first person to write on the topic. Brand-driven success is common knowledge, which begs the question, ‘Why isn’t everyone doing it?’
Because it’s hard – it often requires businesses to change years of traditional thinking, programming and processes. But, it’s not impossible and the rewards are well and truly worth the effort.
What does a brand-guided company look like?
A brand-guided company can exist in any industry – it will have clearly defined brand values, which are understood throughout the entire organisation and a firmly established, well-defined ownership, with the entire organisation taking responsibility for management of the brand, from ‘front line’ employees right through to top management level. This enables the brand to become the cohesive force that guides key activities – such as product development, customer service, sales and operations – and supports the strategic management process.
What makes a brand-guided company different?
A brand-guided company gains its edge over the competition through the attitude of its employees. For them, ‘living the brand’ is more than just a cliché, it is a reality that makes a measurable difference to the company’s financial performance.
The importance of the role that the brand, and sound brand management, plays in business success will be clearly understood in a brand-guided company. It will have an established, common understanding of what the company stands for, and will therefore have assigned clear brand ownership at top management level.
Finally, the brand-guided company listens to its customers and leverages the consumer insights it gains from doing so. A fulfilling customer experience adds value to a brand, and unless businesses learn to think like their customers they will simply fade away.
Tips for building a brand-guided business
Recognise that your brand is a key asset in delivering your strategic goals.
Integrate your business and brand strategy; they need to be completely aligned.
Prioritise opportunities based on their impact to your business and implement those ideas.
How we can help
Team scope has helped a lot of businesses to integrate their brand and business strategies, enabling them to grow their revenue, and often reuniting teams that have become disjointed due to the lack of a clearly defined organisational purpose.
The team scope process looks like this:
1. Understanding – build a deep understanding of the business, the customer, the industry and the specific business goals.
2. Visualisation – map this understanding with images, words, stories and diagrams to paint a picture that guides our thinking.
3. Ideas/Solutions – with an in-depth understanding it’s now time to bring the ideas to life, and where possible, prototype and improve.
4. Implementation – with a solution found, it’s time to implement across all relevant communication channels.