Your Brand Plan Is More Important Than Your Business Plan
Why should you care about branding? Because these days, everyone will Google you before they visit your restaurant, buy your products, hire you to perform a service, loan money to you or invest capital in your new or existing venture. Any time you interact with people — online or off — your brand will matter.
We used to live in simpler times. The only brands most of us knew about were managed by big corporations: IBM, Coca-Cola, BMW. If you wanted to build a business, you wrote a comprehensive business plan that focused on the numbers: cash flow, revenue, expenses and profit. In most circumstances, that plan would include a substantial line item for traditional print and maybe radio and television advertisement. Branding wasn’t on the radar for most companies.
If that sounds like a better world to you, you’re mistaken. The advantages available to us in the last decade are so much greater than anything that’s ever been possible, the two worlds can’t even be compared. Never before have you had the chance to build a brand like you can today, then leverage it to expand your business, increase your sales, and enhance your credibility and your bottom line. Despite these tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs, many are oblivious to them and cling to a by-gone era where time-honored business plans and approaches to promoting a business focused on advertising and not engagement.
Those customary plans may have been adequate for those “simpler times.” But, for today’s internet and social media driven world, a business misses the mark without a sophisticated “brand plan” that specifically conveys what it represents, the value it brings to its customers and strategies about how to keep a conversation going, otherwise known as engagement, with thousands of strangers online.