Hiring a brand consultant may not be at the top of your list right now. Running a business can be challenging and knowing what to do next is sometimes difficult to figure out. There are so many focus areas – accounting, operations, branding, marketing, sales – the list goes on.
Often sales gets priority because you need sales to make a business survive and thrive. But, what many leaders don’t realize is that there are foundational elements that impact the sale, right from the very first time a new audience member encounters your brand. Often the appropriate brand recognition isn’t being garnered.
The most important foundational elements – your purpose, promise, positioning, and clear target consumer personas – come from your brand work. You must be able to clearly communicate the value you commit to providing to a very specific audience persona, in the way only you can, to attract, qualify, and convert the right prospective buyers.
Without the right position and promise, your marketing will fall short and sales will underperform. That’s because establishing trust and belief in your business and the solution you offer requires a well-positioned brand, powerful platform, and purposeful presence.
This capability is achieved through brand identity and messaging work. Brand consulting can skyrocket your business. Further, brand equity is a non-negotiable when it comes to having a successful business.
It may not be clear that your branding or brand positioning should be the priority for your business. You may not even have a clear idea of the brand image your audience observes, because it’s difficult to see your brand from the inside.
There are some key indicators that your branding or the way your brand shows up needs to be addressed before you can prioritize other things, like marketing and sales.
Here are 9 signs you need a brand consultant, stat:
1. Your business is evolving but your brand isn’t evolving with it.
As your business grows, it should naturally evolve. Audiences, offers, services, products, processes, and more are adapted over time to support client success and satisfaction. Often, at about the 3-5 year mark, a business breaks through to its next phase of success and outgrows its messaging and marketing.
Even more important to note, is the fit between the brand and the business state. Your core values, philosophy, promise, messaging, and visual representations should reflect the level of service, level of success, and vision you are now working toward.
Sometimes the error lies in branding for a current-state business, when in fact branding should be done to meet you where you are headed in your bigger vision.
Business leaders and teams will often attempt to add new layers of messaging and visual branding onto what already exists. This can lead to confusion, overwhelm, and lack of understanding of the differentiated value you offer for your target audience.
Rather than continue to add more layers onto your existing branding, you should take an objective look at your current brand and figure out if it truly reflects where your business is headed and your big vision for what’s ahead.
If you aren’t sure if your brand is what needs attention, you can work with a brand consultant to do an audit of your existing branding. Our team offers a brand review in combination with a branding intensive to outline a plan of action for evolving your brand to reflect the big vision for your business.
2. You’ve pivoted directions and your current brand doesn’t reflect your new path.
Occasionally, a business will completely pivot directions. This may mean a completely different type of service or product, a vastly different audience, a new business model, or an entirely different business.
One of our clients successfully ran a nonprofit consultancy business for years, but decided it was time for her to transition into opening a full institute for nonprofits.
Because this shift had a completely different vision than her original brand, we decided upon review it was time to develop a whole new brand, completely from scratch.
The new brand will easily differentiate her business and the value it offers, which would not have been accomplished if she had tried to pivot her previous branding for this new vision.
If you are making a drastic change, or many, to your own business, it may be time to think about rebranding or developing a totally new brand. This is the time to consult with a brand strategist who can guide you toward the right path forward. We offer complimentary consults and would love to talk if this is the sign you need to rebrand.
3. Your close rate is excellent when you can talk to someone, but you’re not getting enough leads.
Many times when people have a lead-generation problem, they think it is because they have poor marketing. Sometimes that’s true.
But, what is true more often is that they actually have a branding problem.
That’s because many business leaders and teams don’t know about the foundational work that is required in order to make marketing work effectively.
The brand’s purpose, promise, value, and positioning must be clearly articulated and easily replicable in order for marketing to work.
Further, branding and marketing should work together – meaning the core brand essence should be consistently infused into marketing efforts. Marketing that is always led by the brand values, purpose, and promise attracts the right buyers and builds brand advocates.
If you’re not getting enough people on the phone, but when you do you can easily get them to see the value, you know you have a branding problem (and likely marketing, too).
Having someone from the outside assess whether your purpose and promise is clear, while your value and values are evident, will help you determine if branding work is necessary.
4. Your audience is confused about what problem you solve or value you offer.
If your audience doesn’t understand the problem you solve or how you solve it in a way that is valuable to them and different from how others solve the problem, you will continue to struggle to grow your business.
A confused audience is a dwindling audience. That leads you to wonder why they are in your audience, right? You may be accomplishing some brand or marketing goals, but not all. If you have an audience full of people who are not buying what you are selling, something is definitely off.
For example, you may be doing a really good job at sharing your brand story and personality, which may make your business likeable.
But, do they trust you?
Do they understand how you can help them specifically?
Do the people in your audience think your business was created just for them?
If you’re answering no to any of those questions, you have a brand problem. You need to get crystal clear on the value you offer and how to position your offers.
That’s where a brand consultant can be helpful. They can help you see the gaps where you may be unknowingly damaging the credibility and trust of your brand and identify ways to position your brand well enough to have people immediately see the value you offer.
5. Your current audience isn’t the right audience for your offers.
You may already know or suspect that this is an issue. If your current audience is not buying your products or services, you may have the wrong audience.
Many things can impact the audience you grow. Your messaging can impact who follows your brand. Your branding can also affect who is following your brand. Your services and products can also influence who your audience is.
Sometimes teams will go through a discovery phase in developing the right products and services. During this period, the business may start with one audience, but learn they are meant to serve another.
You can tell that you need to put focus on who you are attracting with your branding and marketing if you often find that there is a significant difference between what something is expected to cost and what it actually costs, which in turn leads to a low close rate.
6. You’re not confident enough in your positioning to show up with conviction.
Whether you work alone or with a team, you have to be completely confident in your value, promise, and outcome delivered. If you or your brand is not showing up to your audience with conviction, your audience will not believe in your brand.
That means you, and your team if you have one, has to clearly understand how you serve in a way that nobody else does. Your positioning – or unique brand value – needs to be articulated well throughout your branding, marketing, and sales conversations.
Without powerful positioning, you’re not able to answer your prospective buyers’ most important questions – why this solution and why you?
If you’re not confident in your positioning, the only thing you’ll have to compete with is price and I don’t know many social impact businesses that are OK with competing in pricing wars.
Your business value is too good to be passed over by ideal consumers – but it will be if your positioning isn’t rock solid and clearly stated.
If you feel unclear about how you stand out, how your service is different, or how to explain it with confidence, you’re not alone. This is one of the top 3 pain points clients have when they come work with us – no matter whether they’re an individual consultant or 7-10 figure enterprise. But, after Brandividuation, positioning is powerful and their brand stands out, which leads to massive momentum.
7. You don’t know what the return on investment is for your solution that isn’t tied to money.
The number one question most consumers, whether B2B or otherwise, want to know is the return on their investment. Whether their investment is money, time, energy, or all – they want to know what they will get out of the solution and that it is worth the investment.
Most leaders think ROI (return on investment) means the money they’ll earn as a result of the investment. In many cases this is true, but it’s not always the case. There are other forms of return that could be equally important to the consumer.
One form of return is what they will avoid in terms of loss due to inaction if they do not invest in the solution. Sometimes, a person or business is leaking and losing money and that loss cannot be stopped without a specific solution. If you can stop this loss with your solution, you need to make sure that outcome is clear in your messaging.
Other forms of ROI may include a particular social impact result (housing, mental health obstacles overcome, equity and inclusion in the workplace, or other forms of social impact), a direct result (time saved, energy restored, goals identified, etc), personal or business growth, and more.
It’s a brand strategist’s job to identify benefits of your solution and work the most important one into your brand positioning. This is done through brand and marketing research then strategy. We build this process into every Brandividuation project because it is a non-negotiable for businesses.
8 . People don’t think your solution is what they need.
There are many reasons why people don’t believe your solution is the one they need – and most often your positioning is not strong if this is the case. (Seeing a trend here?)
There are phases of awareness for buyers and the reasons they don’t believe they need your solution may depend on what stage of the buying journey they’re in.
When consumers are problem unaware, they know they are frustrated, stressed out, or overwhelmed but don’t know why. For example, perhaps they tend to overwork themselves because they have poor time management skills. But, they may not know that. They may just feel exhausted every day, frustrated with their job, and reactive. For the entrepreneur or business that has a solution to that problem, it’s their job to explain what is going on for that person and how they can help.
Other times, consumers may be problem aware, but not solution aware. That means that they know they have a problem and know what it is, but don’t know how to fix it. The person that is overwhelmed with work may not know that blocking time into their schedule for specific tasks can help them clock out on time or that there is a special type of planner made for this and offered by one company.
There are also times when consumers are both problem and solution aware. These are prospective buyers who are closest to making a buying decision. It is the job of your positioning, in collaboration with marketing, to attract these buyers so sales can help them decide whether your offer is right for them.
As you’ll notice throughout this article, branding and marketing have to work together. But, marketing will not be effective without the right brand foundation. That foundation always starts with your brand’s unique character (values, voice, and vision) and positioning (unique brand value).
Therefore, it’s your brand consultant’s job to make sure your brand is well-positioned so marketing and sales has the tools they need to make your business successful. Whether those are separate departments or you’re wearing all the hats yourself, you’ll need to work with a brand consultant to help you develop that foundation.
9. Your business growth is stagnant and you don’t know how to move forward.
Any one of the other 8 signs you need a brand consultant, or multiple at once, can cause your brand’s growth to halt. When you have a growing, pivoting, or evolving business, your brand has to grow, pivot, and evolve with it.
If you’re seeing any of the signs mentioned, the first step is to assess your brand where it’s at. Sometimes this can be done internally, but most often it requires having an objective outside perspective so that the gaps and opportunities for positioning and branding can be identified.
A brand consultant can perform an assessment or audit on your current branding, brand, and brand presence to share the best path forward in strengthening your position in the marketplace and attracting more of your ideal prospective consumers.
With the right positioning and foundation, you can grow your audience, raise your revenue, and expand your impact to meet your vision and beyond. You just need the right partners to do so.
If it’s the right time for you to assess where you’re at and further develop your brand, we’d love to help. Schedule a call and we’ll go over your current goals and struggles, plus see if we are the right fit.