To brand or not to brand. When you’re a new organization is brand strategy a vital investment?

After consulting with a group of brand strategists, the responses are nuanced and almost evenly divided because the answer is dependent on so many factors.

The general consensus is that, if you have the funds, are serious about long-term growth, and have a clear sense of your target audience you should invest in brand strategy as it would give you a solid foundation, inform the rest of your marketing and calibrate it to be more effective. However, most new organizations are strapped with funds, lack clarity on goals, and who they want to target. This makes strategy challenging and ineffective.

So what should you do?

Clarify Your Purpose 
What does your organization stand for? How do you want to be perceived? What is your vision, mission, and values? What makes your organization unique?

Define Your Goals 
Clearly define your goals for growth in the next 1, 3, and 5 years. What needs to be prioritized? What is the impact you want to create? What are the means you’d use to reach your goals, and how is success measured?

Conduct Market Research 
Gain a deep understanding of the target market, industry landscape, and competitors. What motivates your supporters? Who is your ideal target audience? What strengths do you bring that resonate with them? Document, test, and validate.

Budget in Advance
Research and budget. When every dollar matters, every stage of growth should be budgeted and accounted for in advance to maximize your chance at success.

Branding is an ever-evolving process so even if you decide not to invest in professional brand strategy right away, you can still take steps now to develop your brand effectively and meaningfully impact your audience.