Investing in brand strategy is a big decision for executives to make today. Plunging into an ocean of the emotional, strategic, and intellectual dimensions and depths of your brand is not what executives often want to spend time and budget on. Preconceived notions about ROI, doubts about the actual value of it, and the more obvious budget concerns to evaluate brand strategy are hugely challenging.
Many companies don’t even make it to this place – the place where they accept and understand they actually do need to invest in the brand to address their business problems. But for those that do, it can create amazing results — internally and externally.
There are a handful of important things we believe executives need to know before beginning a brand refresh or investing in a new brand strategy.
1. Strategy is only the first step
The task of creating, socializing, and implementing a brand strategy is not a one-step process or an endeavor that can be achieved overnight. The brand strategy is just step one – albeit a big one, that requires strength, endurance, thought, calculation, and time.
Here at Emotive Brand, before we begin work with a client, we want the C-suite to understand that their work does not end once the strategy is complete. The role of the strategy is to unearth what kind of terrain they are building on and to help build the foundation for the brand, but it’s up to them to build a structure for it…to maintain it…and to sell it. The brand strategy we create together will have no impact unless both employee and brand behavior changes as a result. Brand strategy without meaningful implementation is next to useless.
The creation of a brand strategy demands budget, time, and dedication. The socialization and implementation that follow the creation of a brand strategy demands more budget, more time, and even greater dedication. We urge clients to invest accordingly from the start. We want clients to bring a long-term commitment – forward-thinking and future-looking – to the work.
2. Schedule your time in advance
A huge part of commitment is time. It is essential to schedule time at the C-suite level from the onset. We work with clients to allocate and plan the appropriate time needed for every meeting and for digesting and responding to our work at every point of the process. Executives should understand the time requirement needed and be sure they can commit to it. The best way to do it is to schedule the entire project at the onset.
3. Approach the challenge with openness, honesty, and trust
Because we are trying to understand your business, and unearth emotions, meaning, and deeper purpose, we take a particularly in-depth approach. Often, the issues that prompt a brand strategy effort are just symptoms of a deeper problem. We help discover these problems where they exist. Our approach is detailed, thorough, exhaustive, and sometimes even personal. It is our job to see how teams work together and understand each of their leadership styles so we can facilitate and align them to enable progress. We dive into company financials. And we speak one-on-one with each executive to ensure we understand their personal perspective. This is what allows us to align and facilitate change. On every project we work hard to uncover what is happening internally and externally. The productivity of our relationship with executives thus hinges on openness, honesty, and trust. It’s essential for the C-suite to be clear and candid about the strengths and weaknesses of all aspects of the company. If we are clear where the business, culture, and growth is challenged, we can create new paths forward. Trust that you hired the right agency and their power to create positive change; your brand strategy depends on trust to push beyond where you’ve been.
4. Have the right mindset for change
You don’t embark on a brand strategy just to create a strategy. You embark on a brand strategy to transform your business; to help you reach your goals and objectives. In order to solve business problems, you must accept that things do need to change and those changes will go much deeper than just a simple logo alternation. The strategy that we help you create will almost undoubtedly change the way you communicate externally and internally. It will alter how you and your employees behave. But, it may also force you to question if you have the right team to execute on the strategy. It may even alter what products or services you sell, or what the entire future of the company might look like. These changes may feel drastic, risky, or scary. However, with the right strategy, these changes can be momentous, far-reaching, impactful, and often times exhilarating. Transform your brand. Transform your business.
5. Be willing to be led
Executives are often hard-wired to lead, not follow. It is a naturally difficult adjustment to entrust power to an outsider. However, we ask executives to prepare themselves to allow us to do just that: to direct, to organize, to manage. This is our job and expertise; this is what you hired us for. So listen, trust, and follow our lead. We promise it will steer you to great and exciting places.
Emotive Brand works with high-growth executives to address the business problems they are experiencing by quickly evaluating the most pressing needs and developing a right-sized project that delivers quick wins though an agile brand strategy process.
Find out more about the outcomes we’ve delivered for our clients here.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco branding agency.