7 Steps to Grow an Effective Brand

Brand Execution
Strategy

September 7, 2022

7 Steps to Grow an Effective Brand

Brand Execution
Strategy
Your business has a brand strategy, a brand identity and it is getting itself out there. The work is over, right? Not even close.

A effective brand is not something that happens by accident. It is earned over time and through consistency. A business’s brand is its reputation. A positive reputation makes for good business. But, for an organization to have a reputation so positive that people will recommend it, defend it and reference it as part of their identity, it takes a lot of work. It takes smart ideas, great deliverables and some serious teamwork. 

That’s what brand strategy is for, right?

Yes, but… 

While all of the information about how to build your business’s brand is included in your brand strategy, too often we see clients stuff their strategy in a drawer and forget about it, leaving them directionless even though the map is right under their noses.

Here’s the thing: your company will earn a reputation whether you manage it or not. You hope it will be positive, but if you are unsure of how to manage and measure your efforts, how will you know if it’s working?

Two words: brand accountability.

What is brand accountability? 

Brand accountability is a system for consistently and intentionally building your brand. It is how you keep your company or organization aligned and moving towards the same goals to build the brand as you envision it.

To help clients stay accountable to their brand strategy, the brains over here at Hardy created a tool, the Brand Operating System (BOS). Hardy’s BOS is a framework that unites teams around brand goals and gives them the strategic guidance they need to reach their brand and business goals. BOS is a mix of strategic management consulting, facilitation and creative support, all designed to help you win in your market. It guides you on how to measure and manage your efforts and keep your team moving in the same direction over time. Most of the tips included in this blog post are from BOS. We’ve put together a BOS teaser so you can get started. Download it below.

Want to know even more, please give us a shout.

Now’s your time to make it count.

Grab these key steps to staying accountable to your brand.
DOWNLOAD

September 7, 2022

7 Steps to Grow an Effective Brand

Brand Execution
Strategy
Your business has a brand strategy, a brand identity and it is getting itself out there. The work is over, right? Not even close.

A effective brand is not something that happens by accident. It is earned over time and through consistency. A business’s brand is its reputation. A positive reputation makes for good business. But, for an organization to have a reputation so positive that people will recommend it, defend it and reference it as part of their identity, it takes a lot of work. It takes smart ideas, great deliverables and some serious teamwork. 

That’s what brand strategy is for, right?

Yes, but… 

While all of the information about how to build your business’s brand is included in your brand strategy, too often we see clients stuff their strategy in a drawer and forget about it, leaving them directionless even though the map is right under their noses.

Here’s the thing: your company will earn a reputation whether you manage it or not. You hope it will be positive, but if you are unsure of how to manage and measure your efforts, how will you know if it’s working?

Two words: brand accountability.

What is brand accountability? 

Brand accountability is a system for consistently and intentionally building your brand. It is how you keep your company or organization aligned and moving towards the same goals to build the brand as you envision it.

To help clients stay accountable to their brand strategy, the brains over here at Hardy created a tool, the Brand Operating System (BOS). Hardy’s BOS is a framework that unites teams around brand goals and gives them the strategic guidance they need to reach their brand and business goals. BOS is a mix of strategic management consulting, facilitation and creative support, all designed to help you win in your market. It guides you on how to measure and manage your efforts and keep your team moving in the same direction over time. Most of the tips included in this blog post are from BOS. We’ve put together a BOS teaser so you can get started. Download it below.

Want to know even more, please give us a shout.

How to stay accountable to your brand

1. Identify and train your brand team

Your brand team is made up of team members who are tasked with managing your brand and working towards your goals. 

Some key players include:

Chief brand officer (CBO): Usually this is an owner or manager who is responsible for maintaining the vision of the brand and communicating it to the rest of the brand team.

Brand manager: This person is responsible for managing the team and turning the CBO’s vision into action items, delegating those action items and performing some of those tasks themselves. If the CBO is the visionary, this person responsible for making it happen.

Project manager: For larger organizations, this person creates and assigns tasks and keeps it all moving. For smaller organizations, this could fall under the brand manager’s duties.

Support staff: Not everyone on your brand team has to be an employee of the company. We partner with clients to be part of their brand accountability teams for things like strategy consultation, design, marketing and public relations.

2. Train the rest of the team too

It is so important to train and think of all of your employees as brand representatives. 

While there are a few brand-specific positions within an organization that are part of the brand team, every single employee, sub-contractor and anyone else representing your organization is a brand representative. Share the brand strategy with them. Inform them of the expectations you have for them as a member of the team. Hold them accountable for their roles in the organization.

This especially goes for anyone who is customer-facing. Each employee who represents your company is an ambassador of your brand. They should be trained on the brand strategy and directed on how to carry out the brand internally and externally. Employee behavior is one of the most powerful ways to build or break a brand. 

3. Hold frequent meetings

Once your brand team is assembled, you need to meet to talk about steering your reputation. Don’t just meet when there is a problem, like when a customer writes a bad review, employees leave or you’re losing money. Brand accountability will break you out of the pattern of just putting out fires and get you focused on proactively working on your reputation.

Depending on the size of your organization, we recommend brand teams meet between six and 12 times per year. Your team will identify a few large goals then make action items and timelines to focus efforts towards those goals.

The main goal in these meetings is to form a plan to manage your business’s reputation. A good brand guide can help your team identify opportunities or threats to the reputation you want to have. In each meeting, your team will evaluate how they are doing, identify wins and losses and grade themselves on how well they are adhering to the strategy, identity and awareness of the brand.

4. Set annual goals

During your first meeting, you should start by defining your goals for the next 12 months. Referencing your brand strategy is a good place to start. In it, you should have outlined some goals for the next one to 10 years. You should also have a clear picture of where you want to go from the strategy.

We suggest asking your team members one question:

What do you want to do this year to improve your brand’s reputation?

Go big. Put it all down on paper. Then choose a few that rise to the top. Some goals can be bucketed together. Whittle down the list to the most important.

We like to use the SMART system in helping business’s define their goals. That is:

Specific: target a single area for improvement

Measurable: determine how you will measure progress

Assignable: specify who will do it

Realistic: make sure it can be achieved with the resources at your disposal

Time-related: put a date on the calendar of when you want to achieve it

5. Set short-term goals to get you to the big ones

Once you have your big-picture, one-year goals figured out, it’s time to make them actionable. 

Breaking each goal down into a few action items and assigning those tasks to individual team members will give them ownership over their part in the brand building. It will also increase the likelihood that those tasks will get done. 

The team member in charge of project management is then responsible for checking in periodically to ensure that individual team members are reaching their goals and completing their tasks. 

6. Score yourself

Evaluating what you’ve done and reflecting on past efforts and occurrences will help you determine the health of your brand. These exercises can also help you to make decisions about the future. We use two tools with clients to take the temperature of the brand and chart the course forward.

WLOT

Not as easy to say as SWOT, WLOT is a strategy management tool used to help identify a brand’s wins, losses, opportunities and threats. This analysis focuses on your team’s success and failure of the brand’s actions. WLOT was designed to help your team gain brand awareness and continuously reach your targets.

Brand score card

The brand score card is a four-tier report card that your team uses to grade itself on strategy, identity, marketing and cultural adherence. During this exercise, our brand strategist will ask clients to grade themselves on a scale of A-F on specific things in these four categories. For example, for strategy you’ll grade yourself on “Your team understands who your ideal customer is.” For identity, one of the markers is: “Consistently uses brand voice and tone.” 

The score card allows you to see how your team measures up on tactical items that help build the brand and steer its reputation. Once you’re scoring all A’s on here, you should be in good shape as far as building the brand you envision.


7. Measure success

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – Peter Drucker

A business leader knows to trust their gut. But, if you are running a business without measurable, trackable goals, you won’t know if what you are doing is working.

During brand accountability, we help clients put together a list of goals and identify how to measure them. We survey their customers and set up key performance indicators (KPIs). All of the information we gather is then put into a brand dashboard so that the brand leader can get a snapshot of the brand’s health. The information gained through surveying can be extremely valuable in comparing your initiatives to how your brand is actually performing.

Build the brand you want

By committing your team to intentionally building the brand and holding one another accountable, you can better steer the ship. 

The best brands in the world are built in-house. They are grown by teams of people who work together toward a united goal. This usually isn’t accomplished alone. These brands usually have help from professionals who specialize in intentionally and consistently growing brands.

If you want to learn more about brand accountability or how we can help your team, we are happy to help. Please contact us to get the conversation started and be sure to download our free BOS teaser exercise up above to get started.

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We’re always eager to talk branding with interested business owners.

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Like our work, the Hardy Brands branding & design agency team is an embodiment of the perfect balance of strategy and creative. We’ve cultivated a team of certified brand specialists and strategists, designers, copywriters and marketing professionals who are ferocious about helping you succeed. We’re a Montana marketing agency that will constantly strive to improve your business.

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