By: Martin Reid –Senior Strategist, Design by Structure
Is your brand holding you back?
What makes your business successful? Maybe you have disruptive or highly competitive products. Persuasive and productive teams. Visionary and missionary leadership.
Such virtues help propel a company onwards and upwards. But some founders and CEOs of successful businesses will find that the engine sometimes runs out of steam: the charm, tenacity and innovation that once fuelled growth and managed momentum no longer makes the same impact.
In a world where the only constant is change, it pays for astute business leaders and C-suite execs to take a reality check and change their perspective on how their business comes across.
If your customers, teams, and partners all have different understandings of your company – and if you struggle to articulate your value and justify your relevance to your market – then you might just find that your brand could be the very thing holding you back.
That’s when it’s time to change.
Recognising moments for change
As businesses thrive, they become more and more visible. More people discover what your brand offers, what it looks like and what you have to say (that’s different to or distinct from your competitors).
So, when key elements of your brand – such as the story, proposition, perceived image – aren’t joined up effectively and don’t reflect the truth of the business, any inconsistency, friction or lack that your brand expresses turn off potential prospects.
This applies to every business or organisation, whether a hot new start-up or established market leader. Leaders must recognise when their brand doesn’t match reality and can no longer support objectives. Business strategy and brand strategy must align, so that any change you communicate makes sense to everyone – in your organisation and outside of it.
This is especially true when businesses reach pivotal moments in their journey: expanding into a new market, undergoing a merger or acquisition, transforming from start-up to scaleup, readying to sell or buy, and even for selling new products or the same products in a different way.
The only constant in life and in business is change. And it is leaders who have the power to set things straight.
Don’t be embarrassed about not knowing
Shortcomings about your brand can make some leaders feel insecure, embarrassed, and even confused about their success.For many leaders, the world of branding and how to harness it for a fruitful outcome can be a mystery. But there’s no need to worry, branding isn’t a dark art it’s an integral part of the business.
We have seen countless occasions where a company’s leadership embarks on a quest to correct their branding – but some struggle to articulate the brand challenges they face. That’s OK, that’s where we come in.
And so, we want to help business leaders understand more of our world with a quick crash course on branding. Welcome to Branding 101.
Your guide to brand transformation
Most branding projects are like taking a journey with an experienced tour guide. Over the years we’ve developed our own outline for running a project, which takes your brand from insights to strategy to creative execution.
In our Branding 101 series, we’ve mapped out our methodology as a sequence of articles that correspond to different stages of the branding journey:
The 6 DsProcess
Challenges within your organisation might not necessarily be brand related. We dig into common pain points clients face about their business and brand and examine how these would inform a typical scope of work. This can be a very revealing process for the client, unearthing things they may not have seen or considered previously.
Project accepted. We dive into interviews, insights, research, competitors, categories, trends… The start of every project begins by unearthing the findings that determine how to make the right changes to your brand.
Moving from insights to strategy. We cover how findings distil into a plan of attack for your brand – a positioning that articulates the problem to be solved. We explore frameworks, messaging approaches and useful concepts that make the case for change.
Translating strategy to creative. The ideas of the strategy get expressed with copy, logo, design language and other elements that represent the brand. We explore what it takes to build your brand identity and formalise rules as guidelines for partners and teams to use.
You’ve got your assets and artwork. Now go forth and start branding. We explore some of the key outputs where your brand identity gets applied, such as your website, sales decks and launch campaigns.
Branding isn’t a one-and-done process. It’s an ongoing health check to keep everything consistent, clear and change ready. Here we delve into brand management and maintenance – how to keep your brand on top of its potential and identify opportunities to keep your brand competitive and compelling for your audiences.