Is it just me or has this crisis made you feel like you are focused on too many things?
With this crisis and the daily challenges we face in business it's easy to get distracted and be focused on too many things. I remember reading about Steve Jobs and his approach to focus. He said, “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” His brand strategy and his business strategy were in sync and you all know the success came from that - he certainly moved mountains!
Is your business strategy and you brand strategy in alignment?
Business strategies are plans created to reach specific business objectives or goals, like increasing your ROI or market share. Under the traditional business model, business strategies and marketing strategies were often separate and did not always interact or support one another. Today this is not the case. Your brand strategy enables and supports your business objects, so when your business strategy is aligned with your purpose and brand, you are on course to achieve your goals. Strategic planning starts with a commitment by your entire team to an integrated set of goals and actions across your organization. Your sales, marketing, communication and brand strategies should sync together and support one another. Integrated strategies promote alignment, clarify objectives and priorities and focus all your efforts towards the same goal. Your marketing and branding efforts become more effective and strategic.
By thinking and acting strategically, you show that you understand how your marketing activities contribute to your company’s bottom-line growth. You demonstrate that you can leverage your marketing and advertising budget to improve your company’s financial health. Ideally, when a company is working from its purpose, marketing and business strategies work hand-in-hand. They are integrated and communicated across the entire organization. When companies invest the time to align their brand, strategy and purpose, they build the foundation for successfully staying on course. And when strategy and purpose are combined in a written strategic plan, then a company can truly take off. Your written plan defines the steps and actions needed to accomplish your business goals and orchestrate their implementation. Spend the time required on the front-end to schedule initiatives, assign roles and accountability and set up interim check-ins to determine how the plans are evolving towards completion. When you put your plan in writing, you can refer to it later and use it as a baseline from which you can measure progress.
The Importance of a Written Plan
If it’s not written down, you can forget steps or parts that are crucial to where you want to go. While long-term strategy may be fluid and subject to such things as market and price changes, the entry of new competitors into the market and even innovations, short- term initiatives can provide the flexibility to accommodate change while achieving initial objectives. In your plan make sure to assign responsibilities–let every team member know what role they will play in the overall plan. Explain the tasks they’re expected to perform and when they’re expected to complete them (due dates). When team members have a clear picture of their role and responsibilities, and when they’re motivated by a shared purpose and a common goal, the entire team will work more efficiently and effectively. So having business and brand alignment and a written strategic plan sounds great, but where do you start?
Start with a conversation, align your brand and business strategies and start moving mountains!
Start by having an open conversation with your team to explore these questions. Insights will guide your focus as you work to build an actionable plan:
- What is the number 1 thing you are focused on in your business?
- What are your sales targets in this new world?
- How does the business strategy support the brand?
- How does the brand strategy support the business?
- What is the aligned goal?
- Is everyone clear and on the same page?