Your Vision Realised

By Brian Byrne     15th January 2020  

Late last year, I wrote two newsletters about Brand Strategy and How we implement it at Lands. I even gave away a strategy engagement as a Christmas Gift! (Looking forward to our session this week with ODLA as a result!) But what are the benefits of having a brand strategy, and why is it important that you as a business owner should have one?

PROVIDING CLARITY
In essence, brand strategy is how you shape the perception of your brand. It’s a statement of who you are, why you exist, where you want to get to in the future, and how you communicate that to the world. It’s built around your vision, a unifying theme or idea that comes from your beliefs, values, and why you do what you do. It provides clarity internally for you and your staff.

According to a 2016 Imperative/LinkedIn Study 73% of purpose-driven employees are satisfied with their job. So it looks like when someone works for a company with a strong brand strategy, with a well-articulated vision and a clear understanding of their core values they are more satisfied in their positions than those without.

Positioning is a significant part of any brand strategy, and this provides internal and external clarity. In short, positioning is the process of differentiating your brand from your competitors in meaningful ways. It articulates the features, services or products you deliver, the benefits and value offered, and what place the brand holds in your customer’s minds. Having clear positioning allows you to control outside perceptions and better positions your brand as an attractive and trusted prospect in the market.

EVERYTHING ALIGNED
A strong vision statement is at the core of any successful brand. It should be aspirational, take a world view, and provide inspiration for all stakeholders. It should encapsulate the reason why you started the business, your big idea. It should proclaim how the world will be a better place after using your product or service! Be confident and assertive in defining your vision. It should also be easy to remember — an inspirational one-sentence statement.

Every brand strategy is built around this core idea, or vision and every element within the strategy should be aligned towards that goal. Your visual identity, website, copy, social media strategy, marketing, business goals, packaging, advertising—everything you put out into the world that communicates a message about your brand, should align and be consistent. It should also inform how you and your staff go about the day to day operations of the business. Each employee should be familiar with the concept of the vision and why it’s crucial to the brand’s growth, thus ensuring everyone is moving in the right direction, together.

A PLAN TO GROW
Knowing who your customers are is an essential component of business growth. Connecting the ideal buyer to your product or service is another crucial part of a successful brand strategy, and this can be done by building customer profiles or personas. Creating a persona is a way of understanding the different types of customers you have based on the reasons why they engage with your brand. Personas should go beyond basic demographics, using psychographic information to understand why the customer makes the decisions they do. What are their beliefs and motivations, their way of thinking and seeing the world, what are their hopes, dreams and fears? Why are they engaging with your brand, what are their needs, what solutions can you offer, and how might you exceed those needs? This exercise should be done using your experience of the customer but should also be supplemented by research.

The purpose of this is to try and understand how your customers think. The better understanding you have, the better equipped you’ll be to communicate with them in a language they’ll understand. The narrower you focus on a particular sub-section of the market, the more your understanding will grow. The goal is to get to know your audience intimately and as a result, revise your message accordingly. Because you know who you’re talking to your message resonates—you become an attractive prospect. Keep refining your message, all the time building industry authority until you’re seen as a trusted partner, hopefully turning a potential client into a loyal customer.

It’s not just about how you connect with your customers, having a brand strategy also helps you build a healthier and more profitable business. The Imperative/LinkedIn study found that 85% of businesses with a well-articulated and clearly defined purpose achieved positive growth. Conversely, 42% of businesses that didn’t have that clarity experienced a drop in revenue.

Brian Byrne is a graphic designer and founder of Lands.
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