What comes to mind when you think of ‘brand strategy’?

For many companies, this might look like their ‘brand story,’ a communications strategy, a new marketing campaign, designing new brand assets, perhaps content marketing and PR, or a plan for social media.

Many organizations (especially smaller, up & coming ones) tend to have a limited view of brand. This is a disempowered context to operate in. Unfortunately, if this is how you’re approaching brand, you’re leaving a regretful amount of—not only brand equity—but market fit, product success, customer loyalty, growth, and ultimately bottom line on the table.

Top of Stream

When done right, brand provides access to unbelievable short-term and long-term success. The common tragedy is that organizations confuse brand with marketing, or worse, treat their brand like a marketing afterthought; as though it’s some cosmetic cherry on top of their product or ad campaign.

In actuality, brand is a matter of the highest level of organizational strategy, and should be utilized as such. Your brand strategy should inform your business strategy as much as it’s influenced by it; they should be developed in tandem.

Brand is the DNA of your organization. It should be the preeminent factor driving all decisions regarding the impact you have on your stakeholders. This transcends just your customers. This includes your customers, your audience, community, users, partners, vendors, employees, donors, investors, shareholders, etc.

If how you make money is your business model, consider brand your people model.

Aligning with Your Market

What differentiates your products and services from your competitors?

No matter how novel or innovative your solutions are, the odds are very low that you’ve actually transcended competition. Which means someone is going to choose you over a somewhat similar provider, or not.

It’s rarely a conscious dialogue, but the reason people choose to do business with you, or another company, is a matter of alignment—of style, aesthetic, character, deep-rooted mental models that they see reflected in your brand.

If you can develop clarity on the core identity that constitutes your brand, and let that lead your marketing efforts, this will produce a laser sharp signal that rings loud and true with your tribe. It will steer you in the right direction, guiding everything from your market research, product development, design strategy, service design, customer & user experience, user interface, and more.

Instead of struggling and trying to force your way into gaining traction, like gravity, you’ll experience what feels like being pulled into market fit.

Driving Culture & Performance

In the same way you can leverage brand to pull you into optimal market fit, you can leverage it to align your organization internally, for optimized execution, productivity, and (surprise) fulfillment.

The biggest source of stagnation or failure almost always stems from internal misalignment. If there is strategic misalignment among the leadership team, it’s a major uphill battle to achieve success. The few who manage to pull it off in spite of that endure major suffering. But this can all be avoided.

A crystal clear understanding of your brand identity can provide the guidance you need to:

  1. Maintain consensus on strategic priorities
  2. Inform critical decisions in talent acquisition and development
  3. Nurture a harmonious work environment conducive to optimal productivity
  4. And provide the people in your organization with a deep sense of purpose, generating not only buzz and enthusiasm, but also a profound level of satisfaction and fulfillment that we all aspire to in life.

This can all be achieved, by taking the time to discover and align with your truth.

Driving Culture & Performance

Beyond all the strategy, what we’re really talking about here is innovating on humanity. Our entire approach to creating maximal value for all stakeholders is based on understanding human beings, how they think, behave, engage with the world, what they care about, what drives them. We think we can weaponize this knowledge for the benefit of all.

Our philosophies, strategies, tactics, and methodologies are all in service of performance, production, and bottom lines, to be sure. However, we believe there is a world of much richer value to exploit.

Optimizing for harmony and alignment internally and externally not only has tangible benefits to growth and success, it delivers a value larger than the sum of its parts.

By yielding the perspectives and tools outlined in this document, you can do much more than convert sales; You can convert people, at the level of identity.

There is no gift more valuable than providing a sense of belonging. That’s what brand innovation makes available.

 


 

If you’re a startup founder or marketer looking to grow your brand, check out our brand hacker guide to learn more.