Last week I spent a little time on the Tech404 because I’m always looking for topics to cover that are helpful, relevant, and valuable to the tech community. One of the subjects brought up was that it is difficult to know when to invest in brand strategy.
I can understand that statement. For start ups, things are moving a mile a minute. Who has time to concentrate on brand strategy when everything is a priority?
I’ve found that the perfect time for start ups to create some kind of structure around their brand thinking is between 6 months to 1.5 years. This gives them enough time to see traction with their business and know that their business idea is gaining momentum. Up until that point “they are playing dress up” as one person previously expressed to me.
It seems a bit backwards, since (ideally) there should be a brand strategy in place prior to creating a visual brand and user experience. However, this is the reality of a start up. You need to get your product up and running, and the priority is to get a solid user design experience implemented fast.
As your business grows things evolve, processes are in place, and things are a bit less chaotic as they were when you started.
I’ve found that most established businesses will refocus their branding anywhere from the 5 to 20 year mark. At that point, it depends on the evolution of their business.
Here are four appropriate times when you should invest (time and/or money) into your brand strategy:
1: Your start up has traction (boom!), and you’re realizing you need a brand strategy.
Now that you know you’re product has a welcoming audience, it’s time to think about how you can finesse and structure your brand so that you’ll connect and engage with your customers with the highest impact.
2: You’ve decided to pluck one of your SAAS features into a separate entity, and offer a new boxed solution/product.
Most likely, this new product will have a very focused and segmented audience. Consider how this product lives within your existing brand of product(s). If it doesn’t, then you’ll want to rethink the brand for your new product so that it caters to that niche as opposed to that of your original product.
3: Your agile product has evolved over the past years.
Technology changes. All day. Everyday. So as the years evolve, so do the products that you started with. Once your product changes, elements of your brand strategy change by default. Before you know it, your product no longer is aligned with your brand. Be sure your product is always aligned with the what, why and who of your brand.
4: There is a change of partners or an acquisition.
As leadership changes, so do business goals and focus. Brand buy-in typically starts from the inside out. So with a change of leadership should be an evolution of your brand strategy.
It’s good to revisit your brand strategy every so often. Whether it be once you’ve reached major business milestones or every calendar year, this assessment will allow you to keep your brand aligned and focused with your business goals, and position yourself for better success.
Have an opinion or question? I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below.