2019 was a tumultuous time, with the lowering pound and the raised election stakes. This is the year we Brexit, so uncertainty and change are the only qualities we can be sure to encounter.
As such, it’s tempting to do little more hunker down in our brand bunker and hope it will all blow over. But by delaying the vital process of building a better brand tomorrow, you’re leaving the future of your business largely to the winds of fate today, when you could be working to help determine its destiny instead.
The truth is that the best time to act was some time ago. But the second-best time is right now.
To help shape your brand’s future success you need to start planning strategically. Asking the right questions isn’t just a good place to start, it’s vital. Time and again it’s been proven that all successful organisations dedicate at least 20% of their time, thought, and effort into delivering a future-focused brand strategy, while continue to deliver all current operational plans.
At CMDi, we specialise in helping organisations ask the right questions so they can reach their desired destinations. And it works for our clients, every time. To get you started, here are five questions to ask yourself in order to help you structure how to start building a stronger brand now, not when it’s too late.
Five questions to help you focus on your brand’s future:
1. How can your brand evolve from what it is today to better meet your customers’ needs tomorrow?
Most businesses spend most of their time thinking about current operations. When it comes to brand, this usually involves thinking about how it currently supports the organisation’s operating model. It cannot be stressed enough how important and valuable it is to move your brand discussions away from what it is now to what it needs to become. Your strategy now shapes your future. And the needs of your customers’ aren’t standing still; your brand needs to anticipate them before it’s pushed into playing reactive catch-up. Your brands may require a substantial transformational shift away from where it is today. Brace yourself, but take heart: thinking strategically means you will act from the future, and are thus more likely to get to where you want – and need – to be.
2. Have you spent enough time identifying new areas for growth?
In essence, your brand strategy is (or should be) all about leveraging your organisation’s competitive advantages to take advantage of market opportunities. In other words, identifying and capitalising on where and how you can grow. Challenge your leadership teams to present their paths to continued and sustained growth. Where do you want, or need, to be? How can your brand and operations work together to get there?
3. As customer needs change, how can you leverage industry data and trends to fulfill them?
Thinking hard about the future isn’t easy, on your own. Future-focused mega-trends in your industry and big data on your target customers can inspire and inform your strategic brand review… if you can make sense of them. Again, this is something in which CMDi specialises. And although it’s easy to dismiss such information as “only being relevant to bigger businesses” or “something I can find summarised online”, it’s a deep well of information from which it is surprising hard – yet extremely rewarding – to draw actionable conclusions. The fact is, your business will encounter these mega trends sooner rather than later, so the sooner you can delve more deeply into the future the better. Just make sure someone can help you make sense of what you find.
4. When your brand loses, which brand is winning – and vice versa?
Delivering a unique and clearly differentiated brand promise, service and/or product is critical to your organisation’s long-term, sustained success. Whenever your brand, or another, wins it creates an invaluable opportunity to review how and why that happened. Analysing that and actioning the findings can create powerful competitive advantages – essential for your organisation to survive and thrive. There’s more to a strategic competitor review than meets the IP.
5. Is it riskier to do nothing than act now?
Reinvigorating, re-enforcing, and sometimes revolutionising your brand is not an undertaking for the risk adverse. But, yes, it is far riskier to do nothing. And those risks of actioning a brand strategy can be managed and mitigated with the right support. You need to carefully and thoroughly assess the risk versus opportunity by creating a financially based commercial brand strategy, not just a list of superficial brand development. Many an organisation’s big future brand ideas falter at this point. But with a detailed brand review which integrates with a commercial plan based solidly on growth versus risk financial forecasts, you’ll be well on your way for a brighter and more rewarding future.
Get your brand on the right track right now for 2020. Talk to an established, proven brand agency that specialises in your sector. Ask about our Brand Builder programme >