2023 brand business thumb
Business and brand go hand in hand

Align your strategies to find a competitive advantage that lasts.

Businesses often draw a line between brand strategy and business strategy—treating them as separate initiatives. But at Big, we know that the two are intertwined more than you might think.

Brand strategy puts a spotlight on the unique value a company provides and helps the audience see what makes it different and why that difference matters—which are also essential aspects of business strategy. It’s about creating a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace that makes you stand out from your competitors.

Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity.1

Simply put—business strategy alone isn’t enough. It pains brand nerds like us to see so many businesses reach success because of traditional business strategies but then fall apart because their brand strategy is missing or disconnected. Many companies will try to bail themselves out or get by with an insufficient brand “exercise,” but they won’t develop an integrated strategy. Others will try to completely rewrite who they are—and in the process, completely lose the trust of their loyal customers.

A brand strategy can only enhance a business strategy if its brand story is true, unique and relevant. For example, a company that based its whole brand around being the best quality for the best price will quickly lose customers if its business strategy doesn’t actually deliver quality and affordability. Or a brand strategy that positions itself as a local small business but then sells out to a major corporation. Their brand story will suddenly feel completely out of place—and no longer true, unique and relevant.

When your brand strategy and business strategy are different, you’re not delivering what you’re promising—which will always result in a negative customer experience.

One of the most powerful examples of when we’ve been able to help influence a client’s business strategy through our branding services is when we updated American Specialty Insurance’s brand. Knowing that this unique insurance company focuses on personalized customer experiences and specialty policies, our team discovered the solution through the tagline, “What special feels like.” Suddenly, the thing that made their brand unique became their whole personality. Their marketing, operations and customer service are now measured by “What special feels like.”

American Specialty Insurance brand

Outside of Big, Apple is a great example of a company that’s successfully intertwined its brand strategy with its business strategy. Its product designs, marketing campaigns and customer experience all reinforce a central theme—innovation, design and simplicity. This not only helped Apple create a strong brand but also helped it secure a significant competitive advantage in the technology sector.

Whether your business is just starting out or 50 years in, it’s the right time to align your strategies—and Big can help. We love starting on brand integration early in the development of an organization because that proximity enables the business and brand to not only coexist, but truly connect. But when you already have an established business, it’s important to dive deep into research to discover what that connection is. We put so much emphasis on this stage because it’s the only way to accurately identify your core attributes and then figure out how to protect the attributes that make you stand out.

No matter what your business does, you have to look at brand strategy as an investment—the same as other capital assets like your equipment or facilities. Brand strategy is business strategy. Your brand should be used as a powerful tool that guides your business decisions—from what products and services to develop and how to price them, to where to distribute them and how to communicate with your customers. And when done right, it can give your business a significant edge.

If the brand is truly integrated (not merely applied afterward or as a second thought because it’s the right thing to do) into a business strategy, it becomes the secret ingredient, enabling true success.

1 Marty Neumeier, “The Brand Gap, Revised Edition” p.149, Peachpit Press