Brand: it's the heart of your business strategy.
There’s a common misconception in business – a misguided perception among many business owners and executives that business strategy is strategic, and brand strategy is a marketing tool – i.e. not a strategic asset. Be warned – this oversight could seriously impair your outlook, undermine your businesses’ bottom line as well as severely hamper your potential business growth.
Business strategy is ‘the firm’s working plan for achieving its vision, prioritising objectives, competing successfully, and optimising financial performance with its business model‘. In other words its the businesses’ approach to create profit by building a business model geared towards satisfying and managing consumer demand. This strategy includes both intangible theory and tangible action and data/metrics to gauge effectiveness.
Brand strategy, by comparison, is the strategic desire and actions taken to create and manage customer perception of a business which in turn generates profit. This strategy too includes intangible theory and projection but also tangible action and data in the form of visual assets – website, logo, brand elements and customer profiling. Both approaches involve strategic thinking but the actions, outcomes and objectives are slightly different. Brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments. The common factor of course is the focus on the customer – they’re the ones who really build your brand after all.
Business and brand strategy need to be closely aligned – ‘in sync’ – if you’re looking to amplify your core business goals, elevate profit margins, or create greater economic and positive social impact. Brand can be said to be at the heart of your business strategy because its focus is on the consumers needs and emotions. And consumers are the lifeblood of your business. Without brand, few customers will resonate with the business because there’s no substance to connect with. The strategic insight here? Your ideal customers want more than just solutions and information – they actually want something to believe in. So give them something to believe in!
Marrying the two ‘B strategies’ – aligning business and brand strategy together empowers you to have the best of both worlds – aligning right-brand with left-brain thinking for powerful business results. Brought into alignment or ‘synkd’, they can create a stronger, more impactful brand and business entity that resonates emotionally, logically, visually, practically, tangibly and energetically with your ‘tribe’. Crucially, the creative brand thinking needs to combines seamlessly with the solid grounding and fundamental business principles and practices provided by the more tactical business strategy. Together they keep the business focused, balanced and on a even keel towards its destination, its brand purpose or its business vision. A business that can successfully marry both disciplines is powerfully geared towards specific growth goals and engaging customer appeal. A sweet spot if ever there was one. The difficulty lies in the execution and alignment of both disciplines. One supporting the other, neither in competition.
Not only will the business possess increased capacity to deliver significant impact and realise its brand desires and goals, such a business will also add significant value to your business asset. Be smart and build value into your business when you’re growing it for greater returns in the future.
It’s the smarter way to build a business. Be proactive and create a worthy investment by building your brand into your business strategy. Too many business owners create a business with no long-term plan and fail to build value into their asset. This lack of foresight can create problems selling your business when it comes to your exit plan or exit strategy – but that’s another blog, for another time.
Business strategy provides the perfect rational thought, the black and white, mechanistic thinking and strategic outlook that is required to ensure all of the ‘business’ boxes are ticked, that all of the infrastructure, systems and procedures function the way they need to in order to satisfy customer and supplier demand. Brand strategy, by contrast, offers the ‘meta’, intuitive or creative strategy that brings the human element back into the business, creates an identity that unites your people, and builds positive perception in the marketplace. Its your brand strategy and what your brand represents that defines your business and helps you stand out from the competiton.
Brand can provide the day-to-day motivation and desire, define the culture, shape the behaviour and communicate the purpose that all parts of your business need to breathe new life and energy into the business. Einstein said ‘Logic can take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere’.
If brand is all about getting into the hearts and minds of your customer, then brand strategy truly is the art and the science of getting the heart back into your business strategy. Because that’s what your customers look for, resonate with, consume and demand from you more than ever before.
Be your brand.
I hope you learned something new, insightful or useful from this blog.
As The Brand Entrepreneur, I believe in helping businesses build a ‘brand blueprint’ for business growth. I do this through a series of brand workshops designed to educate businesses to identify their identity, visualise their vision and manifest their brand mission. ’Successful brands in the future care about customers, not branding. I believe that future is now’. I’m passionate about helping businesses create unique brand stories & design assets that help brands get ‘in sync’ and connected to customers for business growth.
Jamie Thomas – The Brand Entrepreneur