Are we there yet?
Updated: Sep 4
A phrase that may well have been broadcast from the back seats over the summer holidays! And it’s a great reminder of the need to be clear about where your brand is headed because at its simplest, if you don’t define where you are going, you won’t know when you get there!
And that’s one of the most important jobs of a brand strategy - to define exactly where the brand is going and then understand what’s going to help it get there (its drivers) and what might slow it down (its barriers).
Drivers can be things like a great leadership team, a leading product or service, customer demand for the brand, or a recent round of funding - things that can immediately be used to help the brand move towards its destination.
Barriers are activities you either have to start doing or stop doing. For example, perhaps the team tends to work in silos and so are not joined up, maybe there has been less time spent on innovation and a new competitor has come into the market with a better and cheaper product.
The drivers will help inform your key messaging and the barriers can be used to direct where internal resources need to be focussed.
By defining a vision, you can let your team, your suppliers, your investors and maybe even your customers know your vision for the future.
This brings alignment which is of course fundamental to the success of any business. If the whole team know where the brand is headed, then there is much more chance of alignment, and that alignment will deliver business efficiencies.
So how to approach developing a vision? Well, it needs to be big, broad, and longterm.
Big. It’s an ambition, a goal, so it should make you feel a little nervous!
Broad. It has to make sense for the whole organisation and not just the marketing team.
Long term. Far enough away that you have the time to act on it but not so far you can forget about it! For conventional business that’s about 5 years and for digital brands about 18 months.
OK, if that’s the approach, what should go into the vision?
First up - make it clear! It needs to be understandable so use straightforward language (not jargon) and be brief because anybody who comes into your business needs to understand it, and hopefully, get excited about it.
Second - keep it brief! What works well in my experience is to limit the vision statement to two sentences. The first is a transactional definition of success - for example, a 50% increase in turnover, to be number 1 in the sector, to open 5 new locations etc etc. The second sentence can then capture the impact that success will have on your organisation, the community, and perhaps even society as a whole.
So that’s the role of a vision and how to put one together - do this and you’ll take your team with you - don’t do it and who knows where you’ll end up!