You know clearly what you want for your brand – you have done your market research, devised a strategy, have well-designed collaterals, and you have multiple touch points for customers to interact with your brand. Basically, your brand strategy is in place.
(If the above sentence is confusing, don’t worry, we will be teaching you how to create a brand strategy in an upcoming article. Stay tuned. We will update this article with a link to it)
Firstly, congratulations on creating a brand strategy. Some companies still operate without one, or at least, have yet to formalise their brand strategy. Now, you have had your brand strategy for years and business is doing okay – it’s not bad but neither is it flourishing. It’s in times like this that revisiting your brand strategy is integral to spur new growth and reinvigorate your brand. To be strictly clear, it is through a sustainable brand strategy that your brand will achieve growth.
Sustainable brand strategies are designed to work for you; they are self-assuring in helping your business generate growth in increments. When you revisit your brand strategy, here are some top-of-mind things that you need to ensure are clear to you to make your brand strategy sustainable.
Reaffirming your goals
Take a look at the goal you’ve previously set. Think about it and ask yourself, how far have you come towards reaching that goal. Most companies do not spend time to review their goals. More often, the case is that these goals were created during its inception and then forgotten – chucked into the deep corners of your operations and website’s “about us” page. In other words, you simply forget about your goals.
Reflecting on your goals allow you to reassess your progress. As such, you can either reaffirm them or realise that you need to change the way your business operates to align itself to the said goal. This goal is then accompanied with smaller goals that serve as milestones. Your strategies on the other hand, are the means by how you want to achieve those goals.
Coming back to this, does your brand strategy have a brand-related goal?
Regardless if you have an existing brand or a completely new one, you need to answer these questions:
- Why are you creating this brand?
- What do you want to accomplish with this brand?
You need to think about these goals carefully because it affects your strategy greatly. Take a considerable amount of time to think about them. It is better to have a solid goal that you want than to haphazardly think of one for the sake of it.
If you don’t have clear goals, your brand strategy will fail. More importantly, you will have wasted your valuable time and resources.
We suggest keeping a checklist or creating milestones. Break up your ultimate goal into smaller goals that are measurable and attainable. Branding is always long term and it should be guiding your day-to-day activities and campaigns.
Creating milestones will help you ensure you are on the right track.
Remember, brand strategy is ALWAYS long-term
Another factor that is probably hindering your brand strategy from being sustainable is how you are viewing your brand strategy
This is one factor that makes marketing and branding distinctively different. Businesses confuse the former and latter in terms of the “lifespan” of their respective strategies. Marketing activities deal with the business today, using short-term tactics to deliver results. A brand strategy plans for the long run.
No one builds a brand overnight; considerable planning and foresight are needed to envision how the company will achieve sustainable growth. Remember what we’ve discussed about having clear goals?
Thinking and planning strategically is one thing, but most companies are bogged down with attaining KPIs and achieving demanding and measurable results month-to-month. The search for immediate results causes businesses to think of brand strategy in short periods too.
Keep your campaigns separated. Leave short-term gains as a campaign on its own and keep your branding strategy as the overarching campaign.
There is a lexicon of factors that can make your brand strategy a mess. Sudden changes in top management direction (very common for SMEs); tight resources (mostly the case); and too many deliverables, leaving you confused with which are the priorities. Make sure you keep your brand strategy goal as the ultimate goal. Nothing will triumph that.
What will really make things a game changer is to make sure you truly want and understand the need for branding. We talk about “Branding and Bosses” in a previous article. Read it here.
Stick to your brand strategy, but leave some wiggle room
Some things change over time
It is worth pointing out that brand goals should not alter much over the course of a business’ life. However, what changes is your approaches towards achieving your brand goal. Remember the milestones you created? Yes, that’s where the flexibility comes in. The “wiggle room” refers to adapting your brand to market changes that work in your favour and still relates to your brand strategy. Remain objective and alter them accordingly. What matters is ensuring all efforts are targeted towards your goal.
Seizing opportunities (The Right Place at The Right Time)
Being observant to your environment is key in brand strategy. Having a keen eye for changes in your surroundings may provide more insights for you to develop or amend your strategy as needed. Always be on the lookout.
At times, opportunities may arise that requires you to slightly deviate from the strategy. If that opportunity can serve your brand strategy, there is no harm in going for it.
To illustrate our point, BreadTalk is a fantastic case study to showcase. The brand is a stickler that follows through on their brand strategy while ensuring its flexible enough when opportunities arise.
(Full disclosure: We are referring to BreadTalk as the chain itself, not BreadTalk Group which manages a variety of other brands)
The brand focuses on the art of bread-making. This is shown through their continuous innovation and creativity. Often, they experiment by bringing together all the worlds’ flavours, blending them to suit Asian taste buds. Creativity and novel creations in bread-making is their unique selling point. We can all agree that BreadTalk has executed their strategy successfully.
To continually engage consumers, BreadTalk creates local seasonal products during peak periods like Chinese New Year and Christmas. Last year, to capture the hype of Japan’s sakura (or cherry blossom) season, the brand created a series of Japanese-inspired buns.
To find more opportunities, the brand is known to provide insane sales on their buns during their anniversaries. Profit margins may be lower but increasing demand and boosting brand awareness serves their brand strategy perfectly.
However, as creative and innovative as they are, you do see familiar items that the brand still sells. One example is their famous floss buns that have not changed since its creation. If they were to follow strictly, you would never see the same bun twice – that means no more best sellers like their delicious floss buns.
The case study of BreadTalk illustrates the fact that sticking to your brand strategy, provided it’s a well strategised one, will allow your company to be sustainable in the long run. Simultaneously, occasional deviations to adapt to market changes, consumer trends, and even your competition, are completely acceptable.
You are now aware of how to make your brand strategy successfully sustainable. Your business will be more streamlined and your marketing activities will also have a clearer framework to work on in order to achieve your goals. Feel free to contact us if you want to embark on a brand strategy for your business. We’re here to help companies just like yours.