Your brand strategy needs to be the Number 1 strategy in your plan.
Ready to start your business? Many business owners who start a business are familiar with that product/service. They have some contacts too and they might have exposure. As a result, many of them assume that they know what they need, especially regarding matters like office space, equipment, employees, and other factors.
However, this is a totally wrong approach, as many business owners do not start and budget for any brand identity or strategy, as the assumption is made that “if you build it, they will come.” This assumption can result in a costly pivot after launch or, worse, higher and unnecessary costs that could delay or prevent business growth. How can you ensure that this does not happen?
Related: What Exactly Is Branding?
While the business idea is just a concept, before the first conversation with a bank, landlord, investor, or other parties, start with a brand strategy.
Identify what type of brand your business will be and an initial concept of the customer base. In addition, start creating business goals for the first six months, year, five years, and more. What do ‘wins’ look like in those time frames? What is truly necessary to spend now, and what can wait? With a sound strategy, many startups can use incoming revenue after opening to help fund additional expenses if required, rather than purchasing everything at once, just before launch.
While many marketing agencies claim to assist new startups and existing businesses with their brand identity and clarity, entrepreneurs should be careful of such claims. Some agencies are more interested in a monthly retainer or pushing companies to purchase services and deliverables that are actually very unnecessary for business growth but instead helps the agency in an area where they may not have enough work.
While an entrepreneur should always do their due diligence, this is one of the critical areas required. Ask for references, and check those references. Ask other businesses how the agency has helped and what impact the recommended strategies had on their business.
One of the first steps in working with an agency is to define the “me only” factor for your business. Not a “me too” or a “me better” difference, but something offered in a way that the customer base wants it and cannot source, or perceives they cannot source elsewhere. Getting the help of brand strategy professionals with experience navigating this process is critical, especially before launch. Determine competitors, the value or perceived value those competitors bring to the market, and then determine what differentiating factors separate all in the market.
Related: How to Start Affiliate Marketing
After launch or opening, evaluate the brand strategy. What is working and what is not? Are there other opportunities for the business that are not currently realized? In choosing and working with an agency, make sure it is an agency that can produce on strategy both before launch and after. It is not enough for an agency to create videos or social media content, ensure that the agency can build a strategy that promotes continued growth and expansion.
I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments.