Strategy vs Tactics
Your Story or Your Storytelling
While we often help create new brands, we do most of our work for existing brands. These are organizations that might see opportunity that requires marketing support, are moving into a new phase of their business, or have challenges.
Challenges like a lack of sales, sluggish growth, new markets and/or brand perception issues. All of those challenges and more are valid reasons to reassess one’s branding—as a matter a fact—an organization should be auditing and vigilant about their brand becoming complacent or stale on a continuous basis. Also, these problems are indicative of both a need for brand development, (or re-development), and a need for brand amplification. Potentially, you could have a development AND an amplification need. Branding—tricky stuff.
When you do encounter brand issues, it’s important to take an honest and possibly brutal, look at yourself. Is this a matter of your core story being outdated, irrelevant, or maybe substandard from the start? Or, is your story a strong one, but you just don’t tell it well? As we all know, it’s one thing to write a good story and it’s quite another to tell a good story.
Find the Endzone, Goal, Bucket, Hole…
If the problem is in your storytelling, then we focus on amplification. In the most general of generalities for blog sake, it’s about tactics over strategy. Do tactics have strategies? Yes they do—but that’s not the can of fish were cracking open today.
Since we here at Sussner specialize in sports branding, let’s use some athletic analogies. Your team is strong and you consistently drive the ball down the field to the 2-yard line, but just can’t punch it in for the TD. Your side is dominant, your build-up is brilliant, but that final shot on goal is launched into the 60th row of the stadium. (This is modern America, so we think our savvy audience can handle a soccer reference.) It’s the missed 3-foot putt. It’s the breakaway finished off with a slam-dunk that clangs off the iron. (Okay already, they get it.)
The story is great. So, in that case, we need to dig into how the story is being told, where it’s being told, and to whom it’s being told. Has it become inaudible to the right people? Is it being told to the wrong people? Is it transmitting at an incorrect frequency and only being perceived by bats and dogs? Are you focused on 60-year-old men when you should be wooing the 35-40 female crowd? We could go on, and that’s the point—go on and ask questions. Ask lots of hard questions. Why? Why? Why? If you answer those questions honestly and intelligently you can amp-up a compelling story and keep people listening, looking and buying.
Louder Doesn’t Help
If you’ve come to realize on your own, or with the help of outside resources, that it’s the story that isn’t resonating, the project becomes something else. Then it becomes something more strategic and foundational. Your brand has evolved or morphed or taken a wicked turn in a new direction and your marketing doesn’t reflect that new reality. If the song is just not good, or it’s a tune that nobody really wants to dance to, cranking up the volume won’t help. It will hurt.
When diving into the development or re-development brand pool, you don’t have to scrap everything you’ve built—by all means don’t. Take a hard look at everything, while being clear-eyed and real about what you see, There are likely many existing assets that should be carried forward and applied more efficiently, intelligently, and effectively.
A rebranding exercise can bring out personal preferences that are holding your business back. We often address the idea of Purpose Over Preference. Be intentional with everything about your brand—it matters and people notice. Not only customers and resources, but employees and potential employees. You are always playing to an external and an internal audience.
This Amp Goes To 11. This Amp Shouldn’t.
A wonderful brand story poorly amplified is like a Bach symphonic masterpiece played on a kazoo. A substandard brand story highly amplified is like playing Death Metal in a Country Western bar. Neither works.
We love playing your song,
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