What It Means to Take Ownership of Your Brand Strategy
As an entrepreneur, you've put time and energy into building a successful business. Maybe you've DIYed your brand, developed one-liners, and created your website. If so, that's great! You understand the value of branding and how essential it is for growth.
Your brand helps to build your reputation and attract ideal clients. Notice the keyword: ideal. You don't want to attract simply anyone – you want to work with clients who truly need your help and find value in what you do. We’re not looking for any extra headaches! But here's the thing: It's not enough to know that branding is a must-have. You need to understand that you are a vital part of your brand strategy.
Most entrepreneurs can't moonlight as brand strategists because they already wear so many hats. It doesn't make sense to add “comprehensive brand strategy” to your ever-growing to-do list. What does make sense? Outsourcing.
There are two common scenarios for business owners regarding their brand strategy:
They outsource it to professional copywriters or social media specialists.
They simply accept that their brand isn’t cohesive or fully developed. (Hint: This means they’ll never see the success they want and deserve.)
Of course, the first option is much better. Rather than developing your own branding, you can trust experts to take the reins and steer your messaging in the right direction. Now that sounds like a good plan!
But here's the catch: Outsourcing your messaging does not exclude you from being an active participant in your brand strategy. Your business needs its founder here! An expert can guide you in the right direction, but you are the CEO. That’s why it’s essential for your brand strategy to represent your empire.
You may not be familiar with marketing strategies or the StoryBrand SB7 framework, but you're the one with the vision and goals. No one else can tell you what you want. However, a marketing professional can help bring your ideas to life.
As an entrepreneur, you need to take ownership of your brand strategy. Remember: This belongs to you, even if you're getting help. If you're ready to step up and take your brand to the next level, here are four ways you can begin taking ownership of your brand strategy.
Get Clear on Your Goals
The best way to have a cohesive brand strategy is by having a destination in mind.
This means you need to get familiar with your goals.
One of the first things a brand strategist will ask is, "What do you want to achieve from this?" That's all on you! If you don't have a clear answer to that question, begin by establishing SMART goals that align with your business's purpose.
Your SMART goals can be based on various things, such as the number of clients you book, specific income milestones, or the work/life balance you cultivate. The idea here is to gain clarity. Here’s a breakdown of SMART goals so you have an outline to get started:
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Specific goals replace general ideas with intentions that are clear and definitive. For instance, instead of saying “I want to grow my revenue,” you can specify how much you want it to grow. I want to increase my revenue by 5%. Specific goals give you a clear milestone to strive for in your business.
Measurability breaks down objectives into smaller milestones that make it easier for you to define “success” and achieve your main goal. Think of it as a strategy that details the work you need to put in and when you’re “done.” Whether that's showing up on social media or prioritizing email marketing, you’ll know you’ve accomplished your goal when your revenue has increased by 5%.
Attainable goals bring you back to reality. Is this something that’s actually achievable? For this, take a step back and determine if this goal is realistic or not. If you find that your expectations are too high, it may not be the right objective — or it might not be the right time. Reflecting on how attainable your goal is in your current situation will ensure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Relevance ensures you’re staying on task and moving toward your big-picture goals. Think of reasons why you want to achieve the goal. Does it align with your business now? Does it make sense to invest money into this? Do you have the time to devote to this goal? Will it drive you in the right direction? Relevant goals put everything into perspective.
Time-bound goals establish a deadline that encourages you to take action. When you set a time limit on your goals, you’ll feel more motivated to get them done sooner rather than later. For example, I want to grow my revenue by 5% in the next three months. See the addition of time here? Three months! Having a deadline provides a sense of urgency, pushing your plans into action.
When writing down your goals, this SMART framework is a great way to ensure they’re realistic. But remember that your goals should be meaningful to you. Don’t let someone else set them for you if your heart isn’t in it!
Determine Your Ideal Client
Figuring out your ideal client is key to creating a well-rounded brand. Unfortunately, no one can tell you who you like to work with most. So this part is up to you! Revisit past clients and make a note of the qualities you liked and disliked along the way.
For this exercise, specify certain personalities, industries, business models, team sizes, and project scopes. Take time to reflect on the clients you’ve enjoyed working with and those you didn't. One way to organize your thoughts is by creating a list of the pros and cons of each relationship. This list will give you a clear vision of who your ideal client should be.
Effective brand messaging is tailored to your ideal client, so you need to have a firm understanding of who that is before hiring a marketing specialist. For example, if you've worked with large companies with too many moving pieces, you might consider catering your message to smaller businesses and entrepreneurs.
The more familiar you are with your ideal client, the easier it will be to customize a brand message that speaks to them.
Hire the Right Person to Capture Your Voice
You're not a brand strategist or a professional marketer, so while you're in charge of providing an overall direction, you don't actually need to carry it out. What you need is to find the right person to take your brand strategy off your plate. Whether you're hiring an in-house marketer or outsourcing to an agency, you must ensure they have a strong track record when it comes to brand messaging.
To find the right professional, request and review case studies, testimonials, and portfolios. You can also research online and explore LinkedIn profiles. You'll want to find someone who's communicative, experienced, and ready to listen to your vision.
Once you find your ideal candidate, the next part might be a bit challenging: letting go. After sharing your vision with a brand strategist, it’s important to let go of control and trust the person who has the experience you need to create a cohesive, compelling brand.
Now, if you hire a brand strategist who doesn't seem like the right fit, don't be afraid to take things in a different direction and find someone new. Remember: This is your vision! Your brand strategy should match your business and your ideals. Stay true to yourself and make sure your brand has an authentic voice that reflects who you are!
Communicate Your Brand Strategy Clearly
As the CEO, it's your job to provide your marketing specialist with all of the resources and tools they need to create your brand voice. How? By sharing your goals, your biggest challenges, your ideal client, and anything else that will help them navigate your brand.
For instance, after creating your SMART goals, discuss them with your marketing specialist. This will provide them with the information they need to create a stellar brand strategy.
As for your struggles, you may feel vulnerable sharing them with your strategist, but those challenges will provide them with significant insight into your brand. They'll know what isn't working and how to take it from there!
Once again, understanding your ideal client is a must. So, after writing your list of pros and cons, be ready to share that with your marketing partner. This will allow them to curate a strong message directed to your ideal client.
As the CEO, you also have to know when to let go of someone who isn't doing your brand justice. Remember what I said earlier about finding the right strategist for you? Don't be afraid to find someone new if you feel like your brand messaging isn't portraying your business’s values accurately. Finding the right fit may be challenging, but it's worth it to ensure your vision comes through.
Owning Your Brand Strategy
Ownership doesn't mean you have to do everything. All it means is that you're the visionary behind your brand. Your messaging represents you and your empire. You've put so much time, energy, and money into your business – let’s make sure it doesn’t go to waste! It’s time for you to take the next step and dig deep into your brand strategy.
By getting clear on your goals, determining your ideal clients, choosing the right strategist, and communicating your brand strategy clearly, you'll be on your way to owning your brand strategy. So, what's next? Start taking your brand seriously so you can capture the right leads for your business!
If taking ownership of your brand feels overwhelming and you're looking for support, schedule a call with me today.
Your brand is ready to be revamped. All you have to do is step up to the plate!