A 4-Step Action Plan to Build Your Brand as You Scale and Grow
In Part 1 of this blog series, we took a look at the connection between a strong brand and enhanced company value – particularly when considering private equity investment. We also shared some steps with you that should help you to start considering the ingredients to brand strength within your enterprise.
Why invest the time in fortifying your brand now? We can heed the example of someone who has mastered brand ubiquity, Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. He never overlooked the value of the brand, famously saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you're not in the room.” Bezos advocates that a strong brand is what will grow your business – and keep it on a healthy track.
This view is echoed by David Cancel, five-time founder and CEO of Drift, a conversation-driven marketing and sales platform. Cancel shared in a recent article that, when building a SaaS company today, one can’t expect to win on features – it has to be on brand.
According to Brand Finance, there’s a measurable correlation between brand strength and revenue growth. They noted that the creation of a strong brand, for the companies they analyzed, led to a 200 percent rate of return over the S&P average. This is likely why, according to a recent survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, B2B companies are growing their brand-building budgets at greater rates than their counterparts at B2C businesses.
The Benefits of Creating a Growth-Oriented Brand Strategy
I’ve personally observed great brand-building results while engaged with a technology B2B company that had been flying under the radar. Its marketing was limited to a few trade shows – and stale, static content dominated its website. To help grow the business, we developed and implemented a pinpoint strategy to raise brand visibility, while shedding less impactful strategies to ensure we stayed within budget. Targeted outreach and a refreshed website served as a foundation for market expansion. The result? Revenue growth of 3X and eventual acquisition by private equity -- at a 45 percent premium. An extra benefit from a visible brand was improvement in the company’s ability to recruit great talent, particularly in Asia and India, where the company previously had low brand visibility.
During another engagement, I was working with the company leadership to transform its stalled business model. We determined that a brand overhaul which included a clearer definition of the customer value proposition was needed to foster greater competition in the marketplace, and a return to growth. With buy-in from leadership, and by effectively engaging outside marketing partners, we positioned the company as innovative, collaborative, agile, and customer-focused through a new website, new content supported with proof points, and a compelling media engagement strategy. As a result, the company achieved 20 percent CAGR, grew a new business segment from zero to $100M in two years, experienced 3X and 5X growth in new markets, and was acquired by private equity.
Taking Actionable Steps to Build Your Brand
There are specific actions you can take to help your brand drive these kinds of results. After you’ve completed the brand definition exercise in Part 1, it’s time to put your findings into action, using the following four steps to amplify your market value:
- Create an internal brand guide. Once you’ve laid a foundation to understand and define your brand, document your findings and approach to inform your tactical plan. This will keep your story consistent and integrated, and serve as a base from which you evolve your brand as you evolve your business.
- Articulate your story with simplicity and relevance. Once you have the brand defined, create valuable and understandable content and compelling storylines that make a visit to your website worth the trip. No matter how complex your business, boldly position your brand in human terms that resonate with anyone – an IT decision-maker, the head of a Fortune 500 company, private equity investors -- or even your grandmother. And, as you create your content, constantly ask yourself, “What problems are my customers facing, and how does our company solve them?”
- Make yourself known. Find the right channels to reach all of your targets, including customers, influencers, prospects and potential investors. Involve your leaders and company experts in giving voice to your brand through storytelling and sharing ideas. Nab industry and business awards. Most importantly, invest in a great website that supports and reinforces all of your traditional, social, and digital outreach through an engaging user experience.
- Reinforce, fail fast, and adjust. Take advantage of analytical tools, as well as customer and influencer feedback, to find out what is working. Repeat the strategies that are leading you to success, and try new things in place of the approaches that are not producing results.
In a competitive digital age, many of today’s technology organizations have similar products and services. By following this succinct branding plan, your company will gear up for growth by effectively showcasing who you are, what makes you unique, why that matters to customers and why investors, strategic buyers and private equity firms should be interested in your business. Should you have questions or need assistance, I’d be happy to help. Contact me for more information.