WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A BRAND VISION
Humans are perfectly designed to pursue goals. Our eyes orientate themselves towards things we want. We want to see them and if we can't see them physically, we manifest them in our minds. Our ability to visualise the future is a fundamental part of human development. It is our ability to bargain with the future - to forego the short-term temptations of today to obtain long-term benefits in the future - that mostly separates us from animals. So why should the process be any different when building a brand.
WHAT IS A BRAND VISION?
A brand vision is a simple but powerful concept. Brand vision refers to having a clear idea of what your brand identity is, where you are now and where you are going to be in the future. Forming a brand vision is an attempt at understanding how your business will need to evolve and adapt to the passage of time to not only survive but flourish in the future. At the end of the visualisation process, you should have a tangible map of where you need to go and the direction you must take.
WHY HAVE A BRAND VISION?
WHEN YOU ATTRACT EVERYONE YOU ATTRACT NO ONE
When creating a brand vision it is important that you identify who your most valuable customers are, as this will provide you with an idea of how you must change to acquire more of these type of consumers in the future.
Many brands we've worked with in the past when asked what their target market is were happy to say that it's anyone. It's whoever wants to buy the product. This is understandable - why would you want to unnecessarily exclude anyone? When it comes to your potential market should 'the more the merrier' apply?
The problem with this is that if you are going to be undertaking marketing communications, you must understand who you are speaking to, otherwise, your messages won't be impactful. Consumer attention spans are lower than ever and throwing out generic catch-all marketing isn't going to catch their eye and you're not going to see any significant return on investment.
This is especially important for SMEs with limited resources to allocate to marketing and a lower potential range of voice. Knowing exactly who you are trying to convince tells you exactly what you need to say and exactly how you need to say it, saving precious time and resources. This all begins with a clear brand vision.
CONTROL PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF YOUR BRAND
Without a proper brand vision, communicating your brand message and values to consumers is much more difficult than it needs to be. Not having an established brand vision to follow when releasing marketing communications can often lead to inconsistent and confusing messages for consumers.
If you fail to properly articulate your values and shape public perceptions of your business then the public will simply assign one to you. The problem with this is you are no longer in control of your brand image and the image that the public assigns you may not always be a favourable one.
In fact, it may be the complete opposite of the image you intended for your brand but it's not the public's job to guess what your values are. It's your job to tell them. In order to do this competently, you must have an established brand vision to draw from.
USE YOUR TIME PRODUCTIVELY
A brand vision allows you to more effectively identify what is an efficient and productive use of your time, and separate those from distractions masquerading as productive tasks. This is done by looking at each task ahead of you, and before undertaking, asking yourself: "Does this align with my brand vision?" and "Does this take me further along the path to success I have mapped out for myself?". This is especially important for small businesses and medium enterprises where time and resources are constantly being stretched. Taking an hour or so to draw out a solid and honest brand vision can save you tons of limited time in the future.
DIRECTION LEADS TO CONFIDENCE
Without a brand vision, it is possible that a business will take unnecessary risks in the hope of a big break stirred on by the inability to envision any better or more efficient way to grow in the future. If these risks backfire, it is possible that the business never fully gets back to where it once was because there was never a clear understanding of exactly where it was or how it got there in the first place.
When you have a solid brand vision in place, this will act as a safety net allowing you to take the risks often required to gain a competitive advantage in business without the threat of completely losing your path. The appropriateness of risk can be evaluated by comparing how well it aligns with your vision of the future. A brand vision allows for a comfortable margin of error which tells us even if we take a calculated risk and it doesn't pay off (which is to be expected). Also, it's far easier to get back on the horse by simply reorienting yourself and continuing along the path you have set out.
A brand vision acts as a barrier, preventing businesses from beginning a downward spiral.
Losing your way and learning from mistakes is a normal part of running a business. However, the goal should be to maximise the amount of time you stay on the right path and minimise the amount of time you spend on the wrong path.
A brand vision is a simple but powerful tool that allows businesses to understand where they are, how they got there and what they need to do to thrive in the future. The main benefits of a brand vision include:
Attracting more of your ideal customer
Controlling public perceptions of your brand
Increased time management
Improved ability to take calculated risks
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here