You’ve been going 24/7 for the past few years. You’ve missed your son’s recital and your daughter’s first goal. You’ve forgotten your spouse’s birthday (twice) and feel perpetual scorn from your mother, friends and colleagues for never being available. You have survived on jet fuel-strength coffee, energy drinks and possibly a few (non)prescription stimulants. Finally, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel!
All the planning, hard work and late nights developing your new business are coming to fruition. Takeoff is near. You’ve carefully developed your business model, crafted a unique positioning, applied for licenses, established networks and built infrastructure, brought in investors, leased office space, interviewed staff and are ready to hang your shingle.
But wait! Have you developed and implemented the right brand to help your business fly? You know what they say … you never have a second chance to make a great first impression! Too often entrepreneurs spend the majority of their business-building efforts on the functional components of their businesses and less time on building their brands.
Your brand (company or product) is typically the gateway to your business and is the first thing your constituents will see, say, hear and interpret. It has to be right! In fact, it has to be great, or it could become the anchor preventing you and your business from achieving success, impact and longevity.
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In today’s challenging and complex business environment, successful organizations begin with the future in mind. What is your company’s reason for being? To whom will the brand target and communicate? What media will transport and display your brand? What forces will be working against you? How will you rise above the noise? How will you disrupt the market?
To begin, push the fast-forward button and envision the environments and applications in which the brand will live. Bricks and mortar? Online? Social? Other? All? Complexities of users and applications require flexibility as well as specificity. If applicable, ensure that your brand (name, logo, colors, symbols and sensory elements) is effective, from very small screens and apps to large signage. Develop the most optimal and, ideally, most simple brand that can become the single, unifying identifier of your business. Once you know where your brand will “live,” think about the other important requirements for a strong brand.
Meaningful: Does the brand accurately reflect and communicate your business position, vision and values, or is it confusing, without substantial communication and support?
Different: Does your brand stand out among its competitors – both today and tomorrow? Is it memorable? Does it leave a great impression?
Credible: Does your brand project believability and credibility in these days of loose messaging, “fake news” and social media that is always on? Does it exhibit strength, fortitude and trust? Does it risk fading or crumbling in the face of challenges?
Extendable: Does your brand have the ability to migrate and extend as markets, needs, trends and requirements change? Is it able to accommodate new and different products, services and therapy areas required for continuous growth?
Responsible: Does your brand go beyond traditional success drivers? Today’s customers demand more than product or service quality and profits. They look to engage with brands that stand for the greater good. Reinvestment, social responsibility and delivery of moral values are key drivers of and expectations for strong and successful brands.
So, while your business strategy may appear to be the perfect vehicle for success, take the time to plan, build and align a brand strategy that helps to lead your company into the world, makes the right impression and creates lasting goodwill.
Ready for takeoff? Check!