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Branding & Growth Strategy

Ok, so you want to grow your business. You have ambition. A target. The pressure to show progress. I get it. And I'll share how you can do that in a moment. Before doing so though, I'd suggest taking a breath and taking stock of this idea to simply ask the question - why?

Credit: Julian Santa Ana Source: Unsplash

Brand Thinking

Just because you want to grow and make more money means little to customers. You have to add value and often in today's world, that means ensuring that you are creating meaningful experiences. You need to give a reason for your potential customer to part with cash. To join you in your growth. But the reason they will join will not be because you want to make more money.

So, first things first - before you set out on the course of growth ask why you are going to do it above and beyond making money. What positive effect would your growth have on the world? What additional meaning might it give to your customers? Why does it matter to them? How will it make them stronger? How will what you are doing enforce the meaning you want people to attach to you and your offer? How will it strengthen the "brand"?

"Branding" is the management of meaning and therefore considering the core purpose and story of a brand before heading off to grow it is crucial. How will your growth affect the perception of customers towards you? The narrative has to make sense. Not simply to you - but to the customer. Else your longer-term brand strategy might suffer.

Got a good answer to those questions? Great. Let me now show you how you can grow. But in each of the following examples 'brand thinking' will need to be applied to ensure that what you do does not damage your brand equity.

Growth Strategy

So here are the four options you have when it comes to growth:

  • Get existing customers to pay more for existing things.

  • Get existing customers to pay for new things.

  • Get new customers to pay more for existing things.

  • Get new customers to pay for new things.

And here is a shiny diagram to help you visualise your activities in each of these areas.

If you are serious about growth you might consider having an activity in every area. Challenging to manage but possible. Or you may choose to target one area and focus in on it.

Whatever you do though you need to consider brand.

Here are a few thoughts on each strategy and what might impact the overarching brand strategy.

Get existing customers to pay more for existing things.

To get the same people to dip their hands in their pockets and pay more you need to do one of two things:

  1. Make the same products/services better.

  2. Create more value in how you position the existing products/services.

Option 1 is an innovation and design thinking challenge. You need to review the whole customer experience and improve the experience in a way which far outweighs what the experience is now. You need to listen to customers. Observe. Innovate. You need to create something special - and at a rate the competition cannot match or in a way that has never been done before.

Option 2 can be achieved with better PR, design and marketing campaigns to existing customers, but beware. If you are simply dressing the same old stuff up but charging more for no real reason then customers will see through this and head off to competitors. Your brand may suffer.

Get existing customers to pay for new things.

What could you add that customers do not already have access to? What could you do your competitors have not thought of doing yet? Again innovation is at the heart of this strategy.

From a brand perspective though the "new things" you produce need to make sense to the purpose that customers already signed up to you. How does the "new thing" help serve the customer even more than the existing things on offer? Does it link? Is there a logical progression?

If it does not link and there is no logical progression it might be that you need to set up a new brand so that new meaning can be attached to the new product or service - else your messaging might become diluted.

Get new customers to pay more for existing things.

This one is more of a marketing challenge. How can you increase awareness of your product or service and then convert people from leads into sales - this is the age old marketing challenge.

For this one, you need to look at your champion customers. Your faithful followers. Who are they? What do they believe? Why do they come to you? What problem do you solve? How do you make them stronger? Once you understand these questions consider if there are any other customer types who also have these same issues but who perhaps you have not targeted before.

Another tactic in this space is to incentivise referrals amongst your existing client base - thus helping them grow the audience organically.

Get new customers to pay for new things.

This one is perhaps the hardest as it means you need to innovate and create new products and also market them to new segments. Why would you do this? Perhaps there is equity in your current brand but you know the market is changing and you will not be competitive in a year or two if you keep selling the same things to the same type of customer. Leveraging your good brand name and building on your reputation you could seek to create something amazing - perhaps in a more luxury or premium space. Something which would attract a new audience but one which can build on your reputation with your current audience.

If you head down this road it is always worth asking - why do we not simply set up a new brand for this initiative? Are we sure we want this to be connected with our current activities? If so why?

So - there are a few thoughts on growing your business and some brand considerations to ensure you are "managing meaning" well.

Good luck with growing.

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