As a business grows, the number of decisions needing to be made can grow exponentially! Decision overwhelm is often a reason why many entrepreneurial ventures only grow to a certain size.
Having a strategy helps. Strategy reduces the number of decisions and helps us make them in plenty of time.
Branding helps too! Branding provides focus.
When supporting clients with their strategy, I often look to see if the client’s brand is aligned with their emerging strategy.
There are often one of four messages behind a brand.
North Star brands can be helpful when a business creates its first product or service. A North Star brand is your raison d’être or reason for being. In many ways, Coca-Cola’s North Star was and still is its unique bottle shape and feel.
How to Use and Buy Us
How to Use and Buy Us brands show prospects and clients how to use and buy from a business. They can help attract an early customer base. Coca-Cola’s used this approach when they entered the soft drink can arena.
As firms grow and becomes successful, rebranding may need to happen, as shared values become important. Shared values can help new staff behave appropriately and even attract fresh venture capital from investors, so a business can continue to scale. Coca-Cola has tied various positive values, from ‘life’, ‘joy’, ‘happiness’ and ‘things going better with’ to its brand over the years.
Eventually, brand names can replace product and service categories. One day people bought Nikes, not sneakers. We now grab a Coke rather than a soft drink. Brands can help a business enjoy unparalleled loyalty. Coca-Cola routinely provides milk bars, cafes and restaurants with free refrigerators in return for allocating eighty per cent of the shelf space with coca cola owned brands.
In the end, the Customer is King.
Brand strategies are great. However, in the end, what the customer says the brand is to them is what counts, especially when it comes to repeat purchasing behaviour and word-of-mouth referrals. Recently Coca Cola has attempted to get even closer to their customers with over 1000 individual names on Coke bottles!