No matter if our brands are wrapping up a year, a month, a week, a day…we all want the next period to be better than the last. How can we build branding strategies that support the brand growth we desire without the repercussions of sporadic booms that could result in spiralling finances? The key to success can be found in the word strategy – with the implication of planning.

But how? What can we include in our branding strategies to promote and protect steady, manageable growth? Well, I’m glad you’ve asked. I am thrilled to be able to share the 7 preparatory steps necessary for ensuring that your brand is prepared to handle the growth you anticipate.

Growth Essentials for All Branding Strategies

At How to Build a Brand, we see it all the time: Brands that outgrow their branding strategies. In many ways, we want our brands to take on lives on their own; to evolve beyond their roots and to become what our ideal clients want and need. Stepping back is necessary for this; however, we cannot expect our brands to thrive without support from branding strategies that guide and regulate growth.

Let’s break into those 10 provisions for growth that all branding strategies need:

  1. Supply preparedness: Many brand marketers find themselves ‘spraying and praying,’ or marketing to a number of demographics in the hopes that one will bite. When their marketing efforts are more successful than anticipated, they find themselves unable to deliver the number of products and services that are demanded. As you can imagine, this breaks that brand’s promise and erodes trust (which is essential to building a brand).
  2. Timely delivery: Lead times should not grow at a rate that is proportionate to your brand’s growth. In other words, plans must be in place to ramp up production, delivery, project completion…so that lead times remain reasonable (and in line with your brand’s history) as sales increase. An example? Delivery companies bring on temporary help and increase drivers’ working hours for the month preceding December holidays. They anticipate the surge in business and they make provisions.
  3. Global and cross-cultural growth: Local brands sometimes expand globally. Regrettably, many of them didn’t plan for this in their branding strategies. In the beginning, cultural implications of colour and faux-pas, for example, should be considered and avoided. This approach is far more desirable than changing your brand’s name, logo, colours, or fonts after brand awareness has been built.

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  1. A long-term plan for product innovation: As you engineer new products and design new services, a timeline for marketing and release should be in place, with a plan to field new brand attention and sales. Nothing could be worse for a new product than an inability to support it. Branding strategies that are prepared to field questions, deal with potential dissatisfaction, and supply focus for new and existing products promote the most successful brand growth.
  2. Plan for additions vs. replacements: The most productive branding strategies have planned for the fate of older products as new ones are introduced. Will they fade away? Or will marketing and communications regarding the classics continue…and at what levels? Last-minute product line decisions rarely end well. Consumers experience disappointment – even shock – and that’s never a good ingredient for referrals.
  3. Communications: Well-planned branding strategies include prearranged communications, slated to both proceed and follow brand milestones. This includes the launching or elimination of products and services, changes in procedures, mergers, etc. This helps to maintain focus and allows brand managers to concentrate wholly on questions and customer service issues.
  4. Social Media: There’s no doubt that the social media culture is about the here-and-now. Feeds change by the second, and what is said now is often forgotten tomorrow. However, a brand manager with his eye on future grow has a responsibility to ensure that no matter the surface message of social media posts and updates, that the underpinnings hint toward future growth. This not only primes audiences for big things to come, it suggests longevity (which will, in turn, promote loyalty). Remember that the attention of your present clientele is imperative to your brand’s future growth.
  5. Personal attention: If your ideal client demands personal attention, then it’s crucial that your branding strategy makes provisions, in advance, for providing that – even if business grows to the expectation ceiling. In simplistic terms, this means having the funds available for hiring customer service personnel to maintain your present customer-service-representative-to-client ratio.
  6. Value preservation: Brands are founded (or they should be) on a collection of corporate values. If you believe that brand growth will compromise your brand’s values, then growth must be limited or allowances must be made to off-set negative effects.
  7. Open interpretation of growth: Branding strategies that have been built with flexible evolution in mind rest on the truth that growth is not a constant, nor is its progression predictable. There is no assured way of knowing if product line growth, sales volume growth, or price point growth will best benefit your brand. Planning is imperative; however, a branding strategy with growth flexibility is valuable beyond compare.

There’s no doubt that brand growth comes with some growing pains and potential uncertainty; however, when branding strategies include provisions for growth variables, the process is less painful, more joyful, and more profitable.

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