Branding – Part 1: Brand strategy and your business plan, just ‘good friends’?

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Ok, so you’ve nailed your business plan. Mozeltov, drinks on the house, cigars all round.

You know all about who your competitors are, how big your market is, your growth targets and you’re just dying for someone to give you the opportunity to rattle off that perfectly-crafted elevator pitch.

You’re ready for whatever the world’s going to throw at you because you’ve got an absolutely bulletproof business plan. All those late nights and a complete neglect of your social life turned out to be worth it after all!

But what about your brand strategy?

Ah. Yeah … that.

You’re probably well aware that Edinburgh’s got an incredible start-up scene. With so many exciting new business propositions popping up all over town we’re really keen to emphasise just how important design thinking is in this process. After all, branding’s at the heart of what we do here at Elastic.

Much like a business plan, design thinking is all about planning for a desired outcome. All too often though, in amongst the market analysis and executive statements, this important asset becomes an afterthought or gets overlooked entirely. And that makes us deeply, deeply sad.

The reality is that your business plan and brand strategy are intrinsically linked. The good news is that even if you’ve not got a brand strategy in place, a robust business plan is a great start. It’s your jumping off point for crucial decisions like, how to differentiate yourself from that other pop-up-vegan-donut shop that’s round the corner or, better yet, create a demand for your (much superior) vegan donuts.

(Sorry about the donut chat, it’s getting close to lunchtime).

A great strategy might seem like a lick of paint to the untrained eye, but in actual fact it does many important things. It taps into the tastes of your potential audience. It helps them recognise you and exactly what it is that you do. It can act as a way to simplify complex messages. It’s a ‘bigger picture’ that can pull together your team and help motivate them into doing great things together.

Branding is hard work. But when it’s working hard for you, it’s a different story altogether.

Coming Next Week: Branding Part 2 – Logo, go, go!

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