When Is the Right Time to Invest in a Brand Strategy?
The truth is that there's no bad time to invest in your brand and it should be reviewed and revised regularly. Even so, as a creative agency, we field this question all the time. For a business owner or marketing director, investing in branding may seem like a task that's only done when the business is starting or plans on making a big shift. Anyone who has been through the process will agree that the best time to focus on brand strategy development was yesterday.
After you establish your brand strategy and identity, decisions related to marketing, operations, meaningful growth, and customer experience become more focused and intentional, preventing you and your team from getting off track. In this blog post, our creative team will talk about the benefits of investing in brand strategy and when is the best time to get started.
When developing your brand strategy, the first step is understanding what strategy actually is and why it’s different from planning. A creative brand strategy is a long-term business goal to achieve a unique position and ultimately win more market share. Often mistaken for a marketing plan, a brand strategy is the process of choosing your playing field, defining the game, and setting the rules that you'll play by. This branding strategy will be the overarching vision against which you’ll measure all your business decisions. In the world of business, there are plenty of people playing the me-too game. If you’re open to creative problem solving and want to play the game differently and win, start with a creative brand strategy.
Since it often takes a team to achieve brand strength, you’ll find it beneficial to have a defined strategy to simplify and amplify your leadership. Brand strategy acts as a playbook to ensure consistency throughout the system. It establishes and solidifies this position by documenting how your brand is going to act, sound, and appear. These differentiators become your north star; every business action should be run through this filter. The sooner everyone is aligned and beating to the same drum, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards of operational efficiency gains, increased impact, strengthened recognition, customer loyalty, and sales growth that come with having a defined brand strategy.
But when should you work on strategy? If you haven’t taken a step back and thought strategically about your business in a few years, there’s no better time than now – especially if you feel as though there’s nothing special about your product or service that others couldn’t claim as well. Even if you currently have a defined brand strategy and you use it regularly to inform marketing and operational decisions, we recommend reviewing it annually to ensure relevancy. These brand audits are a great time to work with a creative firm for a fresh perspective and to learn from their professional insight. We live in an ever-changing and evolving world; the way you frame your organization's competitive advantage in the minds of your customers must stay current and relevant.
Business leaders often approach us at Quill Creative Studio for help revamping their brand strategy and identity due to big shifts such as:
- Merger or acquisition
- New products or services launch
- Needing to distance themselves from negative perceptions
- Outdated websites
- Moving to or building a new office
- Difficulty recruiting
On the other hand, the catalyst for change doesn’t always need to be a big event. Sometimes it’s as simple as realizing:
- The market segment is evolving and we haven’t.
- We’re attracting the wrong customer.
- It’s a struggle to raise prices.
- Our brand identity hasn’t aged well.
- Customers are confused.
- Our social content, advertising, and website aren’t consistent.
- Our employees aren’t living the “brand.”
- It feels like we have to start from scratch with every new project.
If any of these sound like your situation, it might be time for a rebrand – and that starts with strategy. Having an experienced branding partner to lean on during this process will ensure that you unearth the true differentiators of your brand, craft a unique position, and create a strategy to win. If you’re unsure where to start or would like help getting unstuck, download our brand strategy playbook or reach out to Quill Creative Studio to talk with an experienced brand strategist today.