It’s difficult to succeed in business without a plan. If you’re making decisions for a whole company, as CEO or founder, then one of your main responsibilities is to develop a strategy for your business, setting goals and objectives in which your executive team then generates the tactics your workforce put into practice to accomplish. One of the challenges of being the apex of your business’ org-chart is shifting your thinking to this strategic level and learning to be more hands-off about the tactical side.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can develop a strategy for your business that will motivate your employees from the executive level to the shop floor or computer desk and lead you toward success in the long term.
Metrics for Success
One of the most important things that you need to remember is that your strategy needs to be paired with metrics that can measure the extent to which it is successful (or not). If you don’t have a clear system for telling you how your business is performing – and how it responds to your strategies being put into practice, you have no means of telling whether you’ve made a good plan!
Performance marketing is heavily metric-based: you assess success (and pay) based on the actions your ads generate: views, clicks, and sales. Brand-based marketing has been traditionally more nuanced and harder to quantify, but modern market research firms can unify the two allow you to pursue brand performance marketing that builds the overall strength of your brand as well as returning a healthy and quantifiable ROI!
What is Your Brand?
Your brand is more than a marketing asset. Your customers relate to your company through your brand image, and this is built up from all the different interactions they have with your company. A strong brand helps to bring in and retain customers: it’s what loyal customers are loyal to. That being the case, it’s well worth understanding what your brand is, so you can be sure you are setting a strategic direction that is either in line with your brand values or takes into account that your brand changing will need to be carefully communicated to your customers to maintain their loyalty.
Brands are weakened most directly by bad publicity, poor reviews, and bad customer experiences – but these are relatively easy to be aware of and try to avoid. A more insidious source of brand damage is inconsistency. When customers become aware of business practices that run counter to your stated brand values – corners cut to save money on what you message as a ‘luxury brand’; the expansion of what sells itself to customers as a small, local business to national proportions.
This doesn’t mean your strategy can’t lead to growth beyond a brand set in place early in your business’ lifespan, but it does mean you should research what your customer’s think of as your unique qualities and incorporate in your grand strategy a way to either preserve those qualities so your customers can continue to be loyal to them, or evolve them rather than contradicting them and leaving your customers feeling they can’t trust you.