Your brand strategy should only be as rigorous as your business goals need it to be.
A well-defined brand strategy is the compass that guides businesses towards success.
It articulates what a company stands for and how it will position itself to thrive in the market. The level of rigor required in crafting a brand strategy should align with the business's goals and ambitions. While a B+ brand strategy may suffice for most companies, those with audacious aspirations may require the precision of an A+ strategy. In this article, we explore the spectrum of brand strategy rigor and how it impacts business outcomes.
Brand strategy rigor exists on a spectrum, with a B+ strategy being sufficient for businesses with modest goals and spending. Consider El Diablo, a contented coffee shop with a single location and a small marketing budget. A few hours and dollars invested in a B+ brand strategy would serve them well, providing a focused North Star to maximize their output with minimal input.
On the other end of the spectrum lies Adobe, a global corporation with substantial resources and aggressive growth targets. For companies of this scale and ambition, an A+ brand strategy becomes imperative. While it may involve significant investment, the returns, when amortized over vast marketing spend, justify the endeavor.
To determine the level of brand strategy rigor your business requires, evaluate your performance against key outcomes that a brand strategy accomplishes:
A compelling brand empowers a business to charge premium prices, especially when facing stiff competition and price pressures. Evaluate whether your brand enables you to command a premium for your offerings.
A strong brand cuts through the clutter and captures audience attention effortlessly. It fosters trust and understanding, making it easier for customers to choose your products or services. Reflect on how well your brand accomplishes this task.
A compelling brand forges a strong bond with customers, reducing churn and fostering loyalty. Assess whether your brand effectively keeps customers loyal to your business.
A powerful brand also resonates with internal audiences, attracting and retaining top talent. Consider how well your brand motivates and empowers your employees to align with your vision.
An exceptional brand sets your business apart, creating a unique customer bond that competitors cannot replicate. Evaluate whether your brand differentiates your business effectively.
A well-crafted brand strategy identifies your unique value proposition, enabling targeted marketing efforts with a strong ROI. Reflect on how effectively your brand maximizes marketing investments.
If your business performs well on the above outcomes and has modest ambitions, a B+ brand strategy is likely sufficient. By deliberately defining your brand, you can unlock clarity and economic value that will help your business thrive.
However, if your business falls short on these outcomes or has audacious goals, it may be time to invest in a more rigorous brand strategy. Allocating resources to craft a precise A+ strategy can yield substantial returns, especially when competing with larger businesses and navigating challenging market conditions.
For most companies, a B+ brand strategy is more than enough to achieve success. However, businesses with audacious aspirations and significant resources may benefit from the precision of an A+ strategy. Choose the level of rigor that suits your business best and unlock the full potential of your brand to thrive in the market.
Lindsay is a Brand Strategist and Founder of Ironclad Brand Strategy, which builds brands using an exacting and analytic method. Her background as a P&L owner at Clorox fostered a deep appreciation for the executive charge: to create sustainable value. Ironclad advises companies from burgeoning startups to national corporations, including Zulily, IMDb, T-Mobile and Starbucks. Lindsay holds an MBA in Business from the University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business.