When starting a business, brand strategy may be the last thing on anyone's mind—even behind branded merchandise.
Although wrongly considered unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, a successful brand strategy affects many minor details that all contribute to long-term, sustainable growth.
But lest we be accused of being all talk, we want to share some of the realties that happen when business omit brand strategies from their process.
In this article, we’ll describe the nightmare that is the alternative: what happens when there isn’t a brand strategy in place.
1. LACK OF INTERNAL OBJECTIVES/PURPOSE
One of the primary tasks when developing a brand strategy is establishing its purpose. A brand’s unique purpose should address the question of why this brand in particular should even exist while also explaining how it differs from other brands through unique value propositions.
An explicit purpose, or objective, can inform not only the brand strategy, but also the brand identity (i.e., the company itself). Without a clearly defined purpose and objective, a brand has no principles against which it can evaluate itself. All action and efforts for the brand become permissible because they do not directly contradict any established purpose or objective in the brand. The consequences of this can prove fatal for the life of a company.
2. YOU CAN’T IDENTIFY TRUE COMPETITORSAlthough two brands may exist within the same industry, it doesn’t necessarily make them true competitors—in the most exact definition.
This might look like a local ice cream shop considering Publix or Nestle its main competitors. Yes, they all sell ice cream, but they’re not actually competitors.
A brand strategy demands that businesses answer questions, requiring intensive reflection and market research, all to help define a brand in the clearest and most specific possible terms.
For such an ice cream shop, what might help is developing a brand strategy and a specific purpose of offering the downtown area of Dunedin, FL a nostalgic ice cream parlor experience at an affordable price.
By doing this, such a shop would come to clearly identify that their true competitors are neither grocery stores nor manufacturers, but rather something completely different.
3. CAN’T IDENTIFY IDEAL CUSTOMERS
To reach its ideal customers, a company must position itself in a way that complements its purpose and exceeds the efforts of its true competitors. Lacking a brand strategy means lacking the ability to identify one’s ideal customers.
In a situation like this, without a brand strategy, a business might attempt to reach the potential customers of its competitors. But this would likely prove ineffective as the company’s true competitors remain unidentified (see section 2).
This is because the efforts of a company with no brand strategy are inaccurately designed to begin with.
4. FEWER CONVERSIONS
When we consider marketing a business with no brand strategy, we’re left with an overabundance of options. This is because it’s impossible to say what will successfully reach and convert our audience (since we don’t know where they’re located or who they are for that matter).
If our audience is online, a social media campaign may be on the table. But if they’re not, then a social media campaign may prove a solid way of wasting an already small marketing budget.
At the end of the day, although a brand may be able to make enough conversions to stay afloat, they will never make enough conversions to thrive or grow for that matter.
Without a brand strategy, all marketing is a total stab in the dark. It may be successful, but it likely will not be.
5. NO CONSISTENCY WITH BRAND MESSAGINGOne of the other major benefits of a brand strategy is that it helps a business refine its tone and messaging. Without solidifying these things, a brand has no consistent marketing.
What this means for a brand’s marketing efforts is that its communication inevitably becomes schizophrenic.
With no established voice, a company may use an informative tone for a couple weeks, marketing its products or services as a life-saving necessity. Later, they may start using an irreverent tone to market the same service, but now as a matter of superior taste.
These types of voices and messaging positions can indeed be effective when they are the exclusive type of messaging to communicate your brand. But their efficacy is significantly watered down when they all come from the same brand.
6. NO EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO BRANDBusinesses that connect with their customers on an emotional level have succeeded in a variety of areas. Their marketing efforts become a thing of beauty.
Each new piece of collateral reaches and connects with their true customers in a way that actually converts.
Without a brand strategy in place, though, a brand’s ability to emotionally connect with customers (let alone their true customers) is gone.
What’s worse, if such ad hoc marketing does result in a piece that emotionally connects with customers, this sort of happy accident becomes unrepeatable because the who, why, and where type of details remain undetermined.
7. NO BRAND LOYALTYThe most painful consequence of lacking a brand strategy is that customers will not remain loyal to any brand—regardless of marketing efforts.
Without emotional attachment, customers may be persuaded to buy a brand’s product or use their service, but they will not remain loyal because of any combination of the following:
1. They’re not the brand’s ideal customers
2. The messaging is not consistent
3. There is no emotional attachment
4. The brand lacks an objective (and the marketing reflects it)
What’s worse is that without customer loyalty, such brands must constantly find NEW customers in order to stay afloat. Any marketing beyond simply finding new customers is out of the question. Marketing becomes a matter of survival, not growth.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
Creating a business is difficult, and maintaining that business is a constant challenge.
If you are concerned about the trajectory of your business or would like to refine a brand strategy, so that your business can achieve its long-term goals of sustainable growth, we’d love to talk.
Looking to create a brand strategy but not sure where to start?
Click the button below to schedule a FREE 30 minute brand strategy consultation with our team!