If you want to drive sustainable growth, you need to be super clear on your brand strategy and put it into action.
Sounds simple, but how often do you fall into one of these traps?
Doing Without Thinking
This feels great because you’re busy. But do you get that gnawing feeling when you’re busy ‘doing’ that you might not actually be doing the right things?
You know, the things that will make the difference and help ensure your brand is super-successful?
Thinking, But Not Doing
This is also a worry as, while your thinking could be fantastic, if you don’t take action you’ll never see the impact and your brand won’t benefit.
Both are pretty obvious I know, but how often do you feel you’re either doing, or thinking but they’re just not very joined up?
I recently ran a workshop on developing actionable brand strategy and it got such a great response I thought it would be useful to share the main points with a wider audience.
So, here we go. Smarter Strategy in 5 simple steps!
1. Use SWOT to assess and summarise your situation
SWOT is the one marketing tool that pretty much everyone has heard of.
It’s popular, because it’s simple to use and it works!
Like any tool though, you get out what you put in, so keep your SWOT fact-based and tightly focused on just the main 3-6 points per area.
Then use it to explore the linkages between each area, to draw out your…
2.…BIG Issues & Opportunities
Identifying just 3-5 BIG Issues and Opportunities that you’ll address within your marketing activity plan is the most important element of your brand strategy.
Do this by ruthlessly prioritising the areas of greatest impact and (ideally) ease of delivery.
Writing each Issue or Opportunity as an actionable statement…e.g. how can we do X by leveraging Y, will help you identify what needs to be done rather than just wistfully thinking about the issues you’re faced with!
3. Clarify your Brand Objective
First off, remember there are only really three ways to grow your brand;
- Grow the market
- Gain share from competitors
- Get existing customers to buy more (volume, value or ideally both!)
Also, consider whether your greatest gain will come from building greater customer awareness of your brand, from driving trial, or building repeat purchase.
It’s tempting, of course, to attempt all three…but focusing your effort in just one area will give you the greatest growth.
To develop your brand objective, identify the customer attitude and behavior change that’s required for your brand to grow. Your objective should clearly link back to your Issues & Opportunities and be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound) so you can measure success.
4. Identify the activities that will deliver your strategy
With the confidence and clarity of a clear brand strategy and brand objective, you can identify the marketing levers that will form your activity plan.
Don’t try to do everything – make choices by assessing which levers will have the greatest impact in delivering your strategy.
Having identified the levers you’ll focus on, brainstorm possible activities that will deliver your brand objectives.
5. Act, Reflect and Adapt to Optimise
Taking Action is critical.
But, as you do, reflect on what’s working and adapt as needed.
Simply put, do more of what works and stop/change the things that don’t to optimise your marketing activity plan.