Brand strategy is, in our opinion, one of the most critical business decisions you’ll ever make. Which isn’t surprising, since we’re a bunch of advertising nerds who think about, plan, create and evolve the way that organizations communicate every single day.
Creating a meaningful brand strategy is kind of a big deal. It’s the plan for how you’ll translate your business vision into a communications platform and – ultimately – action. Brand strategy is also how you articulate the vision of who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow.
But one of the hardest things about brand strategy is taking the time to actually create a brand strategy. For most folks, branding is the more exciting part of the work – beautiful logos, color palettes, exciting personalities. But none of these can exist in a meaningful, authentic way if you don’t have a brand strategy as a guide.
“A brand with no clear vision has no future. If you do not plan the future you want, you will get the one that shows up.”
– Peter Drucker
More than anything, brand strategy is about making that plan.
Brand strategy comes from business strategy… among other things.
The only way to create a solid brand with a clear vision is to first have a vision for the organization overall. In this way, brand strategy is a component of your organizational strategy and needs to meaningfully reflect that.
But your brand strategy, the thing that you present to the world, must also reflect the intersection of your culture and your customer needs.
This means your brand strategy is the place where everything most important to a business – your vision, your culture and your customers – all come together.
The core of your brand strategy: your brand platform.
The foremost benefit to your business of a true, consistent, and powerful brand is directional alignment. By discovering and unifying your teams around your brand platform, you will align all your decision-making and output to a single set of principles laid out with your goals in mind.
Then, you can’t go wrong. Alignment translates to a centerpoint of almost any other business strategy you may be working on, helping to avoid missteps or dead-ends, see growth opportunities that are more likely to succeed, and find efficiencies in planning and production by having all parties moving in the same direction.
A brand platform lives at the intersection of what you want to say and what your customers want to hear. At E&S, our team uses in-person workshops, deep research, and a unique method of internal-external alignment to create a brand platform that consists of your
- Vision: Your desired future state
- Mission: How you’ll work toward your vision
- Position: What you do and who you do it for
- Value Proposition: Why you’re better than the competition
- Promise: How you want people to experience your brand
When your leadership and business align on these five ideas, the idea of your “brand” evolves from informing your creative to informing everything.
Finding alignment matters.
So maybe it starts to seem simple – decide who you are, tell it to your customers… brand magic!?
Not quite. If it isn’t the truth, it won’t work.
The reason the E&S method focuses on discovery is so that your brand can be authentic and successful at a scale much larger than creative. To do that, we seek the truth and create alignment both externally (consumer brand and partner brand) and internally (employer brand).
Your consumer and partner brands are how clients, prospective customers, partners, and the public think and feel about you and your offerings. Your employer brand is how employees and potential employees perceive you and the way you operate.
Many business failures can be traced to an imbalance of these. You’re unable to fulfill your promise because employees don’t understand the mission and don’t work together towards a goal. Or you can’t keep employees because you pivot too often chasing customers you can’t retain because they don’t understand you.
Invest in brand, build a future.
So, your company’s brand is … everything! You can see why we think that’s pretty awesome.
Investing the time, energy, and money into in-depth brand-building isn’t something everyone does, but it’s truly an investment into your future. Before spending on marketing, before spending on products, before spending your goodwill with employees and customers … take the care to align on a brand that will guide your future.