With a growing brand, there are always more things to do. More consumers to delight, more customers to work with to expand distribution, new products to develop, new communication channels to engage consumers, more competitors trying to grab a slice of what your brand has already got…the list goes on.
With so many things you could be doing or feel you should be doing, how do you manage to get it all done?
Building a team and learning how to delegate effectively can help, but pretty soon you’ll end up with too many things to do once again. Not sleeping or cloning yourself are options you could consider…but have you tried doing them? Lack of sleep only leads to making mistakes as your productivity dives, and cloning?….well, as awesome as you are, would the world really benefit from another you?!
The answer is that you can’t do everything.
You have to make choices about where you’ll focus your effort. You also have to accept that there is no ‘right’ way to grow your brand. Sure, there’s loads of guidance available about what’s worked or not for other brands, and learning from others’ experience can help you avoid the same dead-ends. But even though every brand situation is unique, you do need to create a strategic plan.
Putting this plan together doesn’t have to be difficult. You can approach it in a structured way, using a tried and tested approach to identify the Issues and Opportunities your brand is faced with, so you can focus on how to tackle them.
Assess Your Situation
Firstly, ensure you’re clear on your target consumer, brand positioning and any existing strategy that you have.
Then review how things are currently going for your brand.
- Is your brand growing or declining?
- How are market trends affecting your performance?
- What’s happening with your consumers, shoppers and trade customers?
- What are your competitors up to? How does that affect the category and your brand?
- Which of your marketing activities are working? Which aren’t? Why?
For every Issue or Opportunity you find, ask yourself what’s happening (the surface issue) and why (the root cause).
Understanding the root cause enables you to identify what the implications of this issue are for your brand by asking ‘so what?’
Use SWOT To Sort And Summarise
Going into the SWOT exercise, you’ll possibly have quite a long list of Issues and Opportunities. As you can’t address everything, consider which Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats are the most important for you and capture the top 4-6 by area.
SWOT analysis is a great tool to sort and summarise your situation when used properly. Follow the 3 golden rules below;
- Strengths and Weaknesses are internal factors while Opportunities and Threats are external…don’t mix them up!
- Challenge your internal Strengths and Weaknesses by assessing your brand against your competitors. If it’s not a strength vs. competitors, it’s not a strength, it’s just wishful thinking!
- Once your SWOT is populated, draw out the key Issues and Opportunities by looking for links across your SWOT. I.e. what internal strengths can be leveraged by targeting external opportunities? How can you fix internal weaknesses that are at risk of an external threat?
Write up each Issue or Opportunity you identify from the SWOT as an actionable statement. I.e. ‘How to address X by leveraging Z’.
To focus in on your biggest Issues and Opportunities, map your ‘How to’ statements on the grid below, assessing the impact each will have vs. ease of implementation.
Your BIG Issues and Opportunities will be in the top half of the grid.
Focus your effort and 18 month marketing plan on addressing just 3-5 Issues and Opportunities to give you greater clarity and dramatically increase your odds of successful brand growth.