Your brand strategy needs to be your tomato stake. If you’ve ever had a garden, perhaps this metaphor already makes a little sense. If not-- stick with me. (no pun intended)
When planting tomatoes, as they begin to grow, a grounded stake is needed to help the plant grow healthy, tall, and fruitful. The stake will give the plant the stability and direction that it needs to ensure that it won’t grow wild all over the ground.
What your business needs is a creative “tomato stake”, that ensures direction, portrays excellence, and is something your employees want to stand behind. If you want your business to grow with purpose, you need an effective brand strategy. Don’t let your business stay on the ground.
You may have the right product, staff, and market, but to ensure that your business is growing in the right direction your brand strategy will be key. Brand strategy is more than just the product or service you provide, it’s a solution or way of living that you present to the world.
The first step is determining your purpose. Think of this as your “elevator pitch.” If someone asked you clarify who you are and why they should buy from you, and you only had 30-seconds to sell them, what would you say? Outlining every detail and feature of your product or service has to offer may not be the best tactic. But, if you could convey your purpose, and establish a sense of connection, you may have a fighting chance.
Example: Tuft & Needle Mattress Company
“Over-priced, over-complicated mattresses have been the standard. Until now.”
Once you determine your purpose, it’s time to put it into brand developing action. Think of consistency and flexibility as the ying and yang to your purpose.
Consistency will be what allows you to establish your presence. From the way your employees interact with customers to how you go about marketing your product-- everything you do needs to align with your messaging and purpose. The last thing you want to do is confuse your prospects with an out of character post that you thought would be funny, meanwhile, potential customers are left wondering what exactly it is that you do.
You’ll also need to make sure that your client experience matches up with your brand strategy. If you are trying to showcase your product as hip and energized, then your employees should, in turn, be what you would consider hip and energized. If a customer is building a case in their mind of your business being hip and energized, they wouldn’t expect to get on the phone with a support representative who asks if they can put them on hold in a humdrum voice.
So where does flexibility come in? Let me ask you this, did teens in the 1970’s speak identically as teens today? Of course not. Although radical and lit are arguably interchangeable by slang definition, radical may not effectively convey the same message to teens today. (Confession: researching the true meaning of lit aged me considerably) Each decade boasts it’s own slang, style, and social trends. Similarly, you will need to adapt to style, language, and technology continues progressing-- while staying true to your purpose.
Example: Old Spice
Imagine you’re going into surgery. You’re about to go under and just as the nurse is about to give you the anesthesia, you ask, “What exactly is this surgery for again?”
Even speaking in layman's terms, you would never expect something like, “we’re removing the thing by the organ shaped like a pear.”
You would probably demand that everything is halted until they get someone in there that knows what they are doing.
Think of portraying excellence in the same way. You don’t need to wow people with extravagant language that they may not understand, but you’ve got to give them something more than, “Invest in me because I am trustworthy.”
Ever heard of the phrase Show, don’t tell? The same is true to portraying excellence.
Showcase your knowledge through a weekly blog with helpful information on common challenges your audience may be facing, or openly compare yourself to your competitors. Showing your prospects that you are aware of what’s going on around you will play to your advantage. Your goal should be to create a space where when your audience needs answers, they come to you. People buy from people they trust. Nothing will make it easier for people to trust you than dedicating your time and effort to being an expert in your field.
Gather Employees Who Will Stand Behind You
How your employees feel and operate in the workplace will absolutely affect your brand strategy. You are doing your company a huge disservice if you think it doesn’t.
Your customers will be your biggest advocates, and you wouldn’t have those customers without your employees. Think of it like the brand strategy circle of life. Customer loyalty is something businesses crave, and getting your employees fired up about it will come from creating a brand strategy they want to stand behind.
Check out the brand strategies of companies like Google and Salesforce who hold a high value for culture as well as philanthropic work.
Show your customers that you value people by valuing your employees. Companies with happy employees statistically outperform the competition by 20 percent.
Above all else...
Let your brand strategy be what eliminates confusion from your audience. Your job is to make sure that whatever product or service your company offers is very clear.
Pepsi was let off pretty easy after their confusing Kylie Jenner ad because of years of reputable branding, but this is not a common luxury. Confused is never a good place for your audience to be.
Direction and purpose along with expertise and happy employees will help your business grow up and expand healthy and strong. An effective brand strategy is the stake in the ground that will allow you to bring all of these things together.
If you need a fresh perspective for your brand, you’re already in the right spot. We’re always looking forward to those who reach out for help! If you don’t have your tomato stake, we’ll certainly help you find it.
Happy Marketing :)