Firstly, congratulations on taking the leap to reposition your brand. It could be your most powerful lever to drive competitiveness and growth.

Now, how can you get the most out of your brand strategy project and maximise the value in your brand? How do you ensure rigour without analysis paralysis and buy-in without a laborious process of design by committee?

In our experience, there are five key ingredients to success.

  • Ensure you have senior executive sponsorship and involvement (before you even engage an agency partner).

Executive team sponsorship ensures your brand strategy project has organisation-wide traction, is appropriately funded and positioned as a business lever with KPIs.

It’s crucial to have a shared understanding of how brand creates value for your organisation. Your brand can elevate your narrative to make audiences sit up and listen. This is particularly valuable when cultural or category shifts create the need to reset your business strategy and renew your relevance with customers and stakeholders.

  • Map out meetings and approvals early on in the process.

While it's great to get 'buy-in' broadly across your organisation, you can quickly derail a brand positioning project by having too many stakeholders, who need to approve each stage. Consult widely by all means, but keep approvals to a tight, senior team to get things done. To avoid stretching out your timeline, where possible, align with existing diarised leadership meetings. Also ensure you’re allowing time for governance and risk management, for example, appropriate legal checks around names and trademarks.

This planning phase can be done with your agency, it’ll make the process less daunting and key deadlines and meetings will be marked down in everyone’s calendars from the outset.

  • Get co-ownership beyond the marketing department.

The most ineffective brand strategies are words on a page, which never see the light of day outside the marketing department. Your brand promise has the potential to act as a rudder for the whole organisation, guiding not only positioning and communications but product development, operations, customer service and technology. Identify the functions that deliver brand value in your organisation – these can be any units capable of creating or delivering ‘signature’ customer experiences that reinforce your brand. Ensure your agency engages key people from these business units in brand strategy and prototyping workshops.

This important step also avoids similar or crossover projects happening in silo, in other parts of the business, that could feed in or flow out of the brand strategy work you’re undertaking.

  • Get staff buy-in and co-create brand experiences with them.

Staff will ultimately deliver the brand experience day-to-day, so their engagement is essential. Before you embark on the project ensure you’ve allowed adequate time and budget for this all-important part of the process. Get your CEO to set the agenda with a speech on why you're resetting your brand and encourage your agency to educate staff on the role of brand and the important part they play. They need to feel inspired and empowered to behave in ways that drive the brand. Your agency should develop guidance, governance and tools that make sense to everyone from the newest recruit to the COO...which also means jettisoning marketing jargon and speaking in plain English! So be sure your agency pays more than lip service to brand voice, for internal and external audiences.

  • Ensure your agency considers the cultural context and consults clients as part of the process.

This means you'll have a richer outside-in, as well as inside-out perspective on your brand and the opportunities it opens up. Cultural and human insights are fuel for great brand strategy. What's changing in the world and your clients' worlds and how can your brand help people navigate these changes? Ask clients what their frustrations and goals are in relation to your category. What are the opportunities to add value by alleviating pain points and helping them reach their goals? This can unlock opportunities for both service development and brand positioning.

Get it right and you'll set your brand up to be a powerful enabler of your business strategy. Your brand will leave customers in no doubt about what they can expect from you (the value you offer and how it feels to interact with you). At the same time, it will equip staff to deliver your brand experience in line with those expectations. Therein is the secret to a healthy, authentic brand and a positive Net Promoter Score.