Re-Imagining and Evolving Your Enterprise Brand for Its Next Phase of Growth
There comes a time in most companies’ growth cycle when they realize they’ve evolved from a company into an enterprise—and that the brand positioning and messaging that got them to where they are today isn’t going to allow them to make the transformation to where they need to be tomorrow. In some cases, the ‘1.0 brand’ is actually doing the enterprise a disservice by not accurately representing their new or emerging position in the marketplace. The challenge, of course, is that evolving a successful brand can be intimidating and daunting. What if it’s a flop? What if it jeopardizes near-term sales? What if our investors, partners, or employees just don’t get it? These are all reasonable concerns. But there is a logical way forward.
Step One: Identify Competitive Opportunities
The first step in any brand reinvention: get immersed in the current state AND the future state of the business and the category. This entails getting a solid understanding of the current competitive landscape to look for the open space and areas for differentiation. Through this exercise, we’ll understand where a company is strong in relation to their current competitive set and where they have potential exposure. Because this exercise is about evolving the brand for the future, it also identifies opportunities to differentiate the company in the short term.
Step Two: Get the Right People in the Room
These days, the room might be a Zoom room or a series of Zoom rooms, but the purpose is the same: ensure that all the company’s leaders are aligned and clear on the future business strategy of the organization. To be successful, these types of bold brand transformations require executive sponsorship, ideally from the CEO and CMO, and input from the most senior stakeholders from across the organization. It’s not enough to involve just the marketing organization, or just the product organization, or only sales, etc. Doing so will almost certainly create blindspots in your brand strategy, and lack of belief down the road.
Step Three: Go to the Source
Direct and unfiltered input is invaluable in understanding your client’s brand through the most important lens: The voice of the customer. There’s no substitute for getting insights about your client directly from the source, specifically, from current customers, investors, and even potential customers that turned elsewhere. This phase both confirms what we’ve already heard or suspected, but also reveals new perspectives. It’s not uncommon to hear an anecdote that uncovers a strength or advantage that our clients were unaware of, leading to additional insights and opportunities.
Step Four: Review the Data to Reveal the Way Forward
Taking a deep dive on the data—the competitive landscape, customer and investor interviews, and the company’s own internal roadmaps—reveals opportunities to tell a different, more elevated story that will set them apart today, and can evolve over time as the roadmap comes to fruition. We also find that bringing this data-driven approach to senior stakeholders and the individuals responsible for the future roadmap confirms and grounds the new brand positioning in the facts, resulting in much greater comfort and certainty. When the logic is solid, the way forward becomes clear.
Next Steps: Socialize and Execute
The shift from incubation and creation to execution and socialization is the next logical step in bringing a new brand to life. After months of work, it’s time for the internal brand team to share what they’ve been doing with the rest of the organization. This can be the make-or-break moment of truth. Employees invariably ask: Does it ring true? Is it credible? Is it something I can get excited about? Or, is it marketing fluff?
Our recommendation: Let your people see the work behind the work. When you socialize, show them how you got there and why this brand positioning is the most strategic, logical direction that’ll help your company bridge the gap between where you are today and where you want to be in the future.
Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design agency in Oakland, California.