‘No’, this is not another article about the importance of having a literal vision as in: “Our business exists to serve our customers better than any others in our category etc.” Rather how a clearly articulated metric vision can be instrumental in setting the parameters for your brand and its marketing, and importantly why the key drivers from your Business Strategy are mandatory for inclusion in a one page Vision that will drive your Brand Strategy.
But first, what exactly do we mean by Vision?
Vision, as defined in business literature, can vary from a simple sentence (some might say a vacuous ‘motherhood statement)’ to a much more detailed account.
The BrandQuest view of Vision is aligned with Jim Collins and Jerry Porras who define it as a “vivid description” of what a company will be like in a number of years from now, say 4 to 5 years – being descriptive as possible (see their Harvard Business Review article “Building Your Company’s Vision” Sep-Oct 1996).
A Vision period of 4 to 5 years allows you to project your business far enough into the future to incorporate your aspirations yet close enough to still have an appropriate level of realism built in.
If you were driving a car then your Vision is your destination.
The reason you create a Brand Strategy is to deliver to your Vision. Your marketing strategy is the conduit that converts your brand strategy and vision into actionable tactics that will positively affect your customer/client and business.
Vision drives your Brand Strategy.
In much the same way as a destination drives your choice of route, your Vision directly impacts on your brand strategy. It is critically important that you identify and include the key business success drivers in your Vision in order to be fully aware of their impact on your overall brand strategy.
Once this is achieved, your brand strategy will be aligned with your business strategy and you will have important indicators to identify any subsequent changes required as a result of any changes in your business strategy or Vision.
What drivers are critical for your Vision?
At BrandQuest, we have found that certain Vision drivers can be more influential on your brand strategy than others. Before investing any further money or precious time on marketing planning, we suggest as a minimum, you have a clearly articulated Vision that incorporates the following drivers:
- Revenue/Sales and Profit: What are your revenue, sales and profit projections? The anticipated growth in these numbers will have a direct effect on all marketing. We find that if a business wants to significantly increase its growth rate, it will also need to address a number of other related factors as shown below. Marketing spend to drive those sales (while still maintaining its profit ratios).
- Market Penetration: What are your goals for your market penetration by product and market. The higher the penetration rate, either due to increased competitive pressure (stealing share from your competitors), growing the market (requiring greater brand awareness) or growing a new market (educating the market), require an increase in marketing spend above your normal sales/marketing ratio.
- Geography: What geographic presence or channels will you need to have in 3 -5 years to meet your revenue/sales projections? This may be as simple as expanding beyond your current catchment or expanding regionally, interstate, nationally or even globally. Geography will dictate how focused or broad your marketing will need to be, as well as what types of media you might deploy.
- Product and Services: What product mix or service offering do you intend to have in 4 or 5 years? Clearly this impacts on your R&D investment and/or commitment and how you market your products, how you bundle them, cross promote them, up-sell them etc.
- Marketing Budget: What percentage of our Vision revenue will need to be expended to achieve the incremental financial goals we have set within our Vision? Depending on where we see that planned growth coming from – new services or products, expanded geography, additional channels to market etc. will need to be assessed and factored into a planned marketing budget.
- Staffing and capacity: Of course, any incremental growth or expansion will require additional staff. What numbers and what experience/levels will it take to achieve the required change in any of the above?
- How else might your business evolve? Typically, other areas that might impact your business plans and therefore require inclusion in your Vision are:
- Succession planning and senior management/owner exit plans
- How technology may affect your business (ie; disruption, artificial Intelligence)
- Potential acquisitions and/or suitors.
Once our Clients have agreed their business Vision, we then incorporate the Vision into their Brand Marketing Strategy as the key driver ie; “The Grand Destination”
– and the ultimate reason that the Company or Organisation’s brand strategy exists, and that all marketing tactics must now be planned and budgeted to deliver to.
BrandQuest is a strategy and brand management consultancy that intrinsically believes that great brands are born of the founders and staff who work within the company.
They are not the result of an outsourced creative endeavour but the cumulative knowledge and culture that a company possesses.
Since 2007, BrandQuest has developed a process that can extract and refine this inner knowledge into a powerful brand strategy ready to implement within a 4 to 6 week time-frame.
Our clients work with us because they seek:
- Increased brand and business value
- Strategic Alignment, clarity and direction
- Robust, authentic and fearless advice