I suppose the real question should be: Are you executing your branding strategy, as in making it happen? Or are you executing your branding strategy, as in murdering it?
You’ve put a lot of research and thought into writing your branding strategy. You’ve created something that will gain exposure for your brand, grow your brand…and make it something great. All the hard work is finished, right?
Not so fast.
That branding strategy is worth less than the paper it’s printed on unless deliberate steps are taken to make it happen. You already understand that a great idea is just a notion until it’s made into a reality. The same applies here. A branding strategy is only a collection of ideas—unless it’s executed with purpose and action that align with your vision, mission and values.
Let’s talk about how you can put your branding strategy into action.
Action: Essential for Branding Strategy Success
The most effective branding strategies are those that are acted upon; those with initiatives that are turned into real achievement, through deeds. There are lots of pitfalls and situations that can detract attention from an action-centred plan; however, with the help of some helpful insight, you can stay focussed and get it done.
Here’s what the branding experts at How to Build a Brand suggest:
- Keep promises. I know, this seems pretty common sense; however, there is a current epidemic in the business world, and it has a lot to do with empty promises being made. More and more, it has become acceptable to voice a promise of getting something done, in an effort to ‘get someone off your back’ or ‘buy more time.’ When that promise is not fulfilled, it means that a strategy action point is not being carried out. It means that it affects every other function, down the line to the deliverable.
- Avoid blowing deadlines. Along the lines of the previous point, deadlines cannot be considered arbitrary. One day past-due will turn into three days past-due for the next action point, and so on. Always plan on taking action at your earliest opportunity, and finishing every action point at least a few days early. This will allow time for illness and other setbacks…and will preserve the integrity of your brand and your branding strategy.
- Align all team members. An action plan requires participation and support from all team members. This means that everyone involved knows the main goal, supporting goals, timelines and the purpose of every action point. This cannot be accomplished with mass emails and one-sided communication; it is achieved through interactive talking points that teach the plan, rather than tell When everyone is pushing the cart in the same direction, with one destination in mind, the ride is smoother, the journey is more direct, and arrival comes more quickly.
- Delegate. No branding strategy can be 100% executed by top management. Middle managers and team leaders must also be given the power to make decisions, to lead initiatives and to delegate tasks in the pursuit of branding strategy execution. An understanding of core values by all involved will help to ensure alignment. The best branding strategy execution is directed from the top and maneuvered from the middle.
- Know that getting it done trumps the plan. A branding strategy is a plan for creating visibility, credibility and profitability for your brand. It’s also a framework built to support flexibility and creativity in achieving goals. A deviation from the plan, in order to reach a goal, is not a sin against the branding strategy. It is, however, the initiative necessary for making things happen within the framework of a common objective. Markets change, and so must branding strategies. If the plan you wrote isn’t working the way you expected it would, don’t abandon the plan. Your agility in responding to external changes will play a huge role in determining the success of your strategy. Tweak it until it works, with continual forward movement at the centre of your approach.
Don’t allow the branding strategy you’ve worked so hard to create die a slow death in your hard drive. Instead, know that it needs action to thrive. Forget about perfection; just get started in moving forward and you’ve get the cart rolling toward your brand destination: visibility, credibility and profitability.
Ready to learn more about creating a branding strategy that works? Then join us for the next B.R.A.N.D. Building Boot Camp, where you’ll spend one fun-filled day learning to create a brand your target audience can trust, to expose that brand to all the right people and to build that brand into something that will support the lifestyle you want most. Click here for more information on the boot camp and to enrol.