Brand Strategy for Entrepreneurs

Smart entrepreneurs know that a good brand will help build their organization. They recognize the value that a strong brand strategy adds, and they make the effort to do the right things right.

I’ve met countless entrepreneurs with big plans. I’ve had the privilege of working with some great people, and seen a number of projects go from scribbles on a napkin to thriving reality. These projects are exciting and challenging, and it’s a thrill to be involved.

I’ve also seen plenty of dreamers—people with more passion than plans. It’s disheartening. These projects are challenging, too, but not because the work is hard. Instead, it’s just that the gap between capacity, reality and need is just too great for anything I contribute to be effective. It’s not that the idea is bad or the person is incapable. It’s just that they aren’t ready for the reality of being a successful organization, let alone a thriving brand.

As a consultant, I want you to succeed. It’s not only good for your business and our future relationship; it’s more satisfying work. There are a few things that I look for that gives me the confidence we are set-up for success:

I get excited when you have more knowledge about your business operations than I do. You bring more than an idea to the relationship. You understand the basic model behind your success, and you are focused. I bring brand knowledge and strategic objectivity—and often a fresh way of looking at things—for how you tell your story. But you have the passion and the expertise that will grow the business behind the brand.

I get excited when you know your budget. Talk of money doesn’t scare you, and you understand what cash flow can and can’t do for your vision. You know how much money you plan to earn; you know your fixed expenses and costs of your product; you know how much a typical business like yours makes and you’re prepared to invest in your success.

I get excited when you are well aware of your competition. Not just who they are, but why their customers love them. You’re competitive, not arrogant. You have a respect for the market that exists and you understand how your offer makes it better and different, or at least you’re ready to explore opportunities.

I get excited when you are more passionate about your vision than I am. Perhaps you can’t articulate it clearly—that is why you called me, after all—but you have a purpose that drives you. I get excited when I am the one bringing you back to reality rather than trying to bump you out into the stratosphere.

Most importantly, I get excited when it’s clear you want to work hard to create an experience that will captivate your audience. You reject the notion that you could compromise your values and cut corners on your brand execution since “its just the creative stuff, anyway.” You’re well past the idea that your brand is a defined by a slick logo or a catchy advertising. You know that your brand is at the foundation of your culture, your value proposition, and the experience you promise everyone—your brand captures everything that you want people believe about your organization—and it’s important enough to get your focused attention.

This is how I know you’re ready to do what it takes—not just what is fun and easy—to build a brand that will thrive. You’re smart; you’re committed; you’re realistic; you’re passionate; you’re a leader. This is how I know that you’re set up for brand success.

6 responses to “Brand Strategy for Entrepreneurs

  1. This information is very nice and very important for newcomers in business.It’s always useful in business. brand strategy is about developing a road map for the brand and it is about setting tasks and articulating the way forward.

    • Stephen Abbott

      Thanks for the comment, Aden. People just starting out in business need to know how important it is to do the right things and set themselves up for success. There’s no short cut for a solid foundation—and it takes work.

  2. Great blog and great advice, Stephen. Love your comment about dreamers: “people will more passion than plans.” We’ve all worked with entrepreneurs who somehow think a great brand strategy, logo, graphic design, poster, PR rollout or app (I could go on and on) will drive their business, without having the courage to take a close look at their business model: are they selling a product or service customers want? Is there are market out there for this service? Is it being delivered efficiently? Can you afford to roll it all out now, or will you need to do it in stages?

    And sometimes – sometimes – we can help our clients to the place where they ask these hard questions – and find the answers that make sure their business fundamentals are sound.

    • Stephen Abbott

      Hi Lesli—thanks for the comment.

      We’ve both been there, haven’t we? That awkward moment when you realize someone wants the perks without the work. Or worse, you can see the passion and value under the surface, but it’s made irrelevant by sloppy or immature choices. You said it in your comment and I fully agree—the courage to be excellent, not just bold, is what tips people from dreamer to leader.

  3. Pingback: Brand Strategy for the Next Generation | Stephen Abbott - Brand Strategist

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