According to that online course you took, you should be “scaling” to the next level by now. After all the work you put into building your sales funnel, clients should be descending in droves to pounce on that irresistible offer of yours.

Your email drip campaign is pumping out content to your subscribers. You’re active on all of your social platforms. Your blog is full of articles stuffed with relevant keywords. You’ve tapped out your advertising budget on targeted Facebook ads. You have your website set up with lead magnets, landing pages and popup subscribe forms. You’re “going live” every morning to offer free knowledge, advice and inspiration to all of your followers.

So why doesn’t any of this seem to be working? Some would tell you to just give it some more time and keep doing more of the same. While it’s true that success doesn’t happen overnight, it’s very possible that there may be more to reaching your goals than merely staying the course. 

Don’t get me wrong, everything you’re doing is tactically sound. The problem, however, is that your tactics are sitting on eroding soil because they weren’t built on a solid foundation of strategy. Brand strategy, to be more specific.

For many, the term “brand strategy” conjures up thoughts of logo and website designs, packaging, business cards, fonts and colors. And I don’t blame you for having that impression. There’s a reason this term has lately become so misunderstood. 

More recently, a wandering flock of graphic designers have strayed from their Adobe Creative Suite and declared themselves strategists in order to upsell what they claim is brand strategy to unsuspecting business owners. These misguided artists are unwittingly watering down an otherwise invaluable process that should be handled by brand development and communications experts. In reality, what these designers are really selling is merely informed design – as they should. But, in no way, should that be misconstrued for a legitimate brand strategy. But that’s a soapbox for another time.

Will the Real Brand Strategist Please Stand Up

So let’s talk about what brand strategy really is, and why it should be the first step before marketing tactics are deployed. 

Brand strategy is a long-term plan for developing all aspects of a business that is directly connected to the organization’s identity, positioning and messaging. It is what informs the business of who it is, how it is unique, who it serves, and how to create a meaningful connection to its stakeholders. The brand strategy also guides all communication efforts and customer touchpoints, including the organization’s website, social, email, advertising, sales and customer service.

Among the many things a good brand strategy can do, it will help you:

  • Determine your niche
  • Identify and analyze your ideal client
  • Develop your brand personality
  • Establish your unique position in the market
  • Refine your offer
  • Clarify your messaging
  • Connect with your audience
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Strengthen brand loyalty

Why Your Marketing Tactics Aren’t Working

As the title promises, let’s now get to some reasons your marketing tactics aren’t working. Though this list does not cover every possible reason your marketing isn’t seeing results, these are a few fundamental causes that many businesses fail to address early on in their development process.

Your Brand Lacks a Clear and Consistent Identity

Your brand identity includes your personality, such as voice and tone, as well as your purpose, vision, mission and values. Developing these elements allows you to shape the perception of your brand and be more easily identified and remembered by your potential clients. If the look, feel and sound of your brand is inconsistent or ambiguous, the result will be confusion or impartiality from your prospects.

The brand strategy process includes a deep dive into your brand’s purpose and mission, as well as your clients’ lifestyle and personality traits, in order to create a brand identity that is true to you and aligns with your target audience.

[Read more about how to research your target audience]

Your Offer Doesn’t Align with Your Prospects’ Needs, Goals and Pain Points

You may be creating some high-level offers but see little to no interest from your target audience. In order to produce an offer that resonates with your prospects, you must first have a good understanding of their needs, goals and pain points. 

Developing a brand strategy includes conducting customer research in order to identify the demographics, psychographics, goals and challenges of your target market. Without this understanding, your offers are only speculative. Throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks is rarely the most effective method for success.

“Connecting a higher purpose and set of values to your organization will allow you to attract clients with similar interests and principles, creating stronger connections.”

There’s No Connection Between Your Brand and Your Potential Clients

It’s very likely that some of your emails, blog articles and social media posts are going to fall flat. You can’t hit the mark every time. However, if you’re noticing that there is very little engagement with the majority of your content, you may be experiencing a disconnect between your brand and your audience.

Once again, it’s important to conduct some research into what your ideal clients are looking for. On top of producing content that speaks to the needs, goals and pain points of your audience, you may want to consider aligning your brand with something your clients can rally around.

Connecting a higher purpose and set of values to your organization will allow you to attract clients with similar interests and principles, creating stronger connections. If your prospects are able to identify with your cause, you are more likely to earn their loyalty and trust. 

The most important thing to remember when establishing your purpose and values is to be authentic. Additionally, you must be willing to demonstrate your values through action, not just words. It’s much worse to be viewed as a hypocrite or imposter than it is to have no higher purpose at all. So, if you are going to take on a cause, be sure you believe in it 100 percent. 

You Look Like Everyone Else in Your Industry

Another very important element of a brand strategy is establishing your unique selling proposition. This requires competitor research, customer research, and a gap analysis. In other words, you have to find out what is already out there, what needs aren’t being met, and how you can best meet those needs in a unique way. This is also known as your differentiator. What is it that makes who you are, what you offer and how you offer it unique? If you can’t answer that question, the likelihood of success is rather slim. 

You Aren’t Telling the Right Story

Your brand story is a blueprint for your overarching narrative. Along with corresponding micro stories, your brand story guides your communication efforts. This important step of the brand strategy process will help you to create meaningful marketing and advertising campaigns that evoke emotion, increase brand awareness and generate audience engagement. 

The most effective brand stories for service-based businesses position the client as the hero and the business as the guide that helps the hero along his journey. Many businesses go about this the wrong way placing themselves as the hero who steps in to save the day. This type of company-centric storytelling is off-putting and fails to align with their clients’ self-narrative.

The Bottom Line

If you are seeing little return on investment from your marketing efforts, consider taking a step back and evaluating what your tactics are based on. Do they originate from a solid brand strategy? Are they in line with your brand’s identity and unique selling proposition? Is the messaging in your emails, blog articles and social media posts based on what you know about your clients’ needs, desires and goals? Do your offers fill a gap in the market? Are you telling stories that appeal to your target audience?

If you’re wanting to take your business to the next level and develop a brand that resonates with your ideal clients, we are here to help you take your next step.

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