All of us can find articles peppered with generic advice like this: Develop your brand identity. Stay true to your business model. Push the boundaries. Stick to your core competencies. Allow for growth and innovation. Don’t lose track of who you are. Let go of your initial ideas of what you should be doing. Think ahead. Let things evolve organically. Leave what you don’t know to the experts. Know your brand positioning statement. And so on.
All of that is easier said than done, I’m afraid.
For partner-founded companies, their firm is akin to their children – they want to protect. Loosening the reins, even a bit, is hard. Brands and companies, like children, are driven from within themselves to grow, explore, experience, learn, and build relationships. A lot of good can happen when you simply allow your company to grow to the point where (small) mistakes are simply considered a key aspect of growth. Even though it’s normal for companies to hover protectively over their brand positioning — whether it be a mission statement, a logo, or a service offering — sometimes this stifles growth and does not allow the business to reach its full potential. The drive to be part of a successful company sometimes prevents the brand from reaching its full potential. You become your own worst enemy in a sense.
An overall low appetite for risk, combined with a fear of failure, is often to blame. But you can suffer a corporate identity crisis, and this stems from the inability of letting your company have the freedom to grow. We have seen it with our clients, and also with ourselves at times. There are plenty of in-between ways to stretch your company and push the boundaries. Developing adjacent product ideas, services, or unique positioning statement that aligns with your brand and overall business model can breed creativity within your existing capabilities. This can unlock new direction, but at the same time, don’t lose focus. Stay aligned with your core competency, or this departure of sorts could lead to a world of headaches.
At Industrial Brand, we know that we work best with professional services firms, and have experience and expertise in this area, so we focus on clients and prospects where we know we can deliver the best value. Strong brands and identities last through basic course corrections. Sometimes a brand champion or partner in a company notices an opportunity and gives the brand a little push in the right direction. Needs may change depending on the growth stage of your company, but continuing to nurture breakthroughs during client transitions, updating brand Styleguides, or offering new services — is all part of the process. Don’t let poor marketing strategy, or lack of it altogether, curtail development. If your job is the Strategic Director of the company, you are always involved. But you can also let others lead and modify the extent of your involvement — whether it’s with employees or outside vendors who are doing the work within their roles, let them execute. There will be wins and losses, just as there would be wins and losses if you did it yourself. Staying on strategy is critical to meeting your end goals, but micromanging the process can inhibit good ideas and growth.
Obtaining an expert opinion on strategy from a company that has done this time and time again might be worthwhile. An objective, qualified eye on the situation can only be a good thing. Brand and company growth over the long run is a work-in-progress. Whether supporting ideas for growth or supporting mistakes, letting the company naturally evolve is important for long-term success. Don’t be reckless, but don’t be afraid to try something on for size. Especially if what you’ve been doing lately hasn’t been as effective as you’d like it to be. Look at our case studies to see the type of solutions (from brand audits to branding processes and creative execution) we have provided for our clients. This is just a starting point for what we offer.