Brand strategy – a topic that elicits mixed reactions. Some embrace it as a vital driver of business success, while others dismiss it as a concoction of marketing professionals used to justify hefty fees. However, the undeniable truth is that a robust brand correlates with long-term business performance. Countless studies spanning 25 years have shown positive connections between brand and various factors such as share price growth, increased customer satisfaction, and strong financial outcomes. While we often associate branding with large corporations, its principles are equally applicable to smaller enterprises.
The landscape of brand thinking has evolved over time. In the pre-internet era, SMEs primarily focused on corporate identity and trademarks – logos, colours, and style – and maintaining consistency across materials. But in today’s digital age, where even small companies can reach vast audiences, brand thinking encompasses far more than visual elements.
Your brand is what your customers think and feel when they encounter your brand name or see your logo and imagery. It taps into both System 1 and System 2 thinking, embodying your vision, narrative, and values. It encompasses everything your business represents, believes in, and stands for. It fosters an emotional connection between people and your logo or company name. Ultimately, your brand is your distinct way, your promise, and your identity.
Why does it matter for SMEs? Developing a brand involves delving into these aspects: understanding what you do, what you don’t do, and what you stand for. Once these fundamentals are clear, writers and designers can articulate them through verbal and visual language that effectively communicates your company’s essence. This solid foundation then serves as a platform for building your marketing and growth strategies.
In today’s fast-paced world, nothing remains unique for long. Your brand becomes your competitive advantage, making it crucial to get it right.
How do you identify if there’s a problem? Although it’s rare to encounter businesses in the midst of a brand catastrophe, most small enterprises have weaknesses that hinder their progress.
Signs that indicate a problem may include:
📍 Obvious disparities: Your identity, collateral, tone of voice, or website may not accurately represent your company’s essence, potentially falling short compared to your competitors. They might feel out of sync with your industry or appear dated and tired.
📍 Lack of a compelling ‘why’: Your purpose should create an emotional connection with customers and serve as a significant competitive advantage. However, rapid growth and other changes can dilute this vital element.
📍 Regular reliance on discounts and losing pitches due to price considerations.
📍 Dissatisfaction with your website and communications, no matter how many times you revamp the copy or design. Internal disagreements regarding your business’s core offerings hinder clear and consistent explanations to outsiders.
📍 Time wasted on unprofitable ventures.
📍 Lower-than-expected sales and a lack of incoming leads or unsuccessful attempts at various sales approaches.
📍 Absence of a clear and protected position in your industry that makes it difficult for competitors to encroach upon your territory.
If any of these resonate with you, there’s a high likelihood that your brand strategy needs attention. Although it may be tempting to soldier on, disregarding a fundamental problem is a mistake.
Fortunately, our experience shows that it’s not an insurmountable challenge. The effort invested in solving your brand strategy not only establishes a strong foundation but also provides invaluable insights along the way. It will transform how you and your team perceive your business, instilling confidence, clarity, purpose, and direction. Your team’s buy-in becomes immeasurable, as does the credibility and desirability you gain with both current and future clients. Your brand becomes the platform on which you can build your company’s culture, product and service propositions and compelling narrative.
Unlocking the power of brand strategy yields numerous benefits for ambitious SMEs. Beyond establishing a strong brand platform, the process itself brings immense value. It reshapes your perspective and that of your team, fostering a deep understanding of your business. It ignites confidence, streamlines your thinking, and provides a clear sense of purpose and direction. Moreover, it earns the support and commitment of your team, fueling their enthusiasm and dedication.
A strong brand not only differentiates you from the competition but also enhances your credibility and desirability to clients—both existing and prospective. It becomes a powerful tool for attracting and retaining customers, setting the stage for sustainable growth.
So, if you resonate with any of the signs indicating a potential branding problem, don’t underestimate its impact on your business. Embrace the opportunity to solve it, knowing that the rewards extend far beyond a well-crafted logo or a visually appealing website.
We specialise in helping SMEs unlock the full potential of their brand. Our expertise in brand strategy empowers businesses like yours to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Let’s embark on a transformative journey together, where your brand becomes a force to be reckoned with.