In times of turmoil, established businesses new and old often turn to their brand as a means to pivot, grow and position themselves more clearly in the marketplace.
Changing customer habits, increased competition, stakeholder orientation, evolved expectations — there are a huge number of reasons why developing a new brand strategy is vital in aiding your organisation's continued development.
However, what exactly is a "brand strategy" and what does it contain?
There are many starting points — Simon Sinek's 'Start with Why' is a great way to centre your thinking. Separating the ‘Why’ you exist from the ‘What’ you do can really help you identify the higher purpose your business may have, and may well provide you with the key ingredient to find your 'tribe' and engage with all potential stakeholders — both inside and outside of the business.
However, there are other exercises that can help clarify your thinking at the start and tease out a number of potential themes and values that will become central to your strategy and may even help identify your ‘Why’.
Here at FortyTwo Studio HQ (well, 13 HQs at the moment, while working from home!), we are fortunate to be working with a number of clients on their brand strategies. One early question we enjoy asking at the beginning of our process is based on a quote from Jeff Bezos:
“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
There are two ways to think about this when it comes to developing a new strategy:
‘What do people say about you when you are not in the room now?’
‘What do you want people say about you when you are not in the room?’
The key to a well-defined brand strategy is to identify where your brand is currently positioned and where the possibilities are — 'before and after' conversation. Long before we think about personas, values, story, colours and type, we must talk about something far more fundamental — the basic feeling people have or could have for your business.
We call this initial step ‘Goodwill Hunting’ — it's a gloriously bad pun for us movie nerds, but it crucially underlines that ‘brand’ really is just a contemporary word for ‘goodwill' and that, together, we are striving to find, refine and amplify it.
We’ll be sharing more insights into our Brand Strategy process over the next few weeks but, for now... happy hunting!