top of page

Why we all need a strategy

Have you ever received a questionnaire or brief document from a designer for you to fill out and outline your needs from a designer? It's something I've actually never given a client because I hated homework back in school and frankly I wouldn't want to take you back to school either. And if you've heard the word strategy a lot recently, it may seem like a bit of a fluff buzz word. So this week I'm giving you an insight into the process we take when implementing strategy as opposed to dishing out questionnaires and what strategy can do for your business before any piece of creative is developed. So as a starting point I'll put it super simply...think of strategy as the map and itinerary to get your business to its destination of reaching its goals. And to create this guide, in the context of design strategy, we start with a planning session that I introduce as 'Discovery'. Discovery is a face to face meeting I have with your business. It takes around 4-8 hours where we go through a framework of exercise's and discussions on a whiteboard to outline: the what, how and why of your business, your customers and their needs, as well as your business goals. I've seen many businesses that haven't taken the time to consider these intangible aspects of their business - no matter at what stage they are at. So to walk away with a clear plan of attack to hit your goals - it'll give you a clear picture of what you are looking to achieve. As the facilitator, participating in a discovery session shows me the co-ordinates for where to best direct our collective attention and prescribe the suitable form(s) of transport to get us there - rather than misguide you with a predetermined solution, as I see everyone's needs are different.

Why do we need strategy, instead of going straight from A to B? 🤷🏻‍♂️

During the first contact designers have with clients, the conversation typically starts with the need to design something like a logo for their business. For some designers they may simply take that request and produce a result out of nowhere… but that’s like jumping into bed without buying your date a drink first! My approach is to get to know your business and understand your needs to offer a tailored branding solution ONLY if we find its what your business requires. But how do we know what you need? This is where strategy comes in. If you’ve heard of the phrase “measure twice, cut once”, strategy lays out a plan for us to see where your goal posts are set and help you work towards them, done right the first time. The way I see it, strategy can potentially alleviate the gamble of more time and money to what was an unplanned project. In other words, if you decide to take a shortcut from A to B, it could end up becoming A to B via CDEFG, pushing back progress. So here’s the truth, I'm not a gambler nor a great poker player for that matter...and I say that because there’s no point trying to call each others bluff or read each others minds in creative engagements, as my solution might be different to your vision. So if we’re working towards the same goal, why not work together to get the job done? So I see a tremendous benefit in strategy, especially when utilising its results. It as allows us to use your strategic outcomes as a reference point to refer back to and look objectively at creative deliverables rather than through our own subjective eye. In other words, asking yourself ‘is this best for my business and customer needs?’ Rather than ‘does this appeal to my own personal tastes?’

Check this out - what you see 👆👆👆is the result of a brand attributes exercise I did for this business as part of our own brand strategy. This is one of the exercises in a discovery session to develop a brand strategy before we dive into branding. In the context of defining your brand, this exercise illuminates the key brand attributes that make your business unique. When you think about your business, are you conscious of your tone of voice or how you wish to be perceived by your customers...and inversely, what perception do you have of your ideal customers? What tangible benefits and value do you give your customers and what does your business do better or like no other? 💁🏻‍♂️ From my own example above, I identified these facets of our business while in my living room over a couple of hours with my wife. We then came up with a super simple and structured positioning statement as a result by picking key attributes from each column. But here’s the thing - yes, these attributes look “simple as” to get on paper and they can be… from an outsiders perspective. But, I almost guarantee that when you sit in a room with me and inwardly reflect on your own business (and potentially yourself if you’re a soloprenuer or personal brand), this exercise can be a challenge! 🤔 So how does this add value to your business? 🧐In addition to using these attributes to craft messaging, positioning and a visual identity, this one exercise might be the missing element you’ve not dived into, especially as a team if you are part of one.

The way I see it, this exercise and the others in the discovery phase, gets everyone on the same page - to know the voice your brand has and how it is perceived at an aspirational level. This as a result also helps your marketing, advertising, e-commerce, socials, etc, etc, as it’s highly valuable to ANY business. AND on top of that, you’re able to clearly outline the value you offer your customers while defining why you do what you do. BTW, all of this is in your own words, not mine 🤯 I’d emphatically be thinking about these attributes 24/7, to see a change in how your brand engages with your customers or clients 🙌

Last year we worked with {antojitos} to take a step back and re-engage in a strategy session to assess how they could continue to improve their customer experience and engagement since opening their biggest shop yet. The main focus of our attention was on their Customer Profile exercise - used to identify the needs and expectations of select {antojitos} customer demographics and deliver on what will delight. Be it delivering on fresh and deliciously different food, an eclectic and comforting decor, a friendly service, entertaining atmosphere, appetising menus or engaging social content. This all adds to creating value beyond what is expected of a humble family recipe fish taco 🌮 or pork carnitas burrito 🌯 ...which is effin’ delicious 🤤 By offering greater value than what we receive in return as a business, it can create a thank you beyond money, which is attention - it’s the testimonials, word-of-mouth referrals, likes, shares, tags, retweets and shout-out’s our customers do for our brand. It’s attention that changes the dialogue from what you say your brand is, to what your customers say it is - which is the current shift in branding. And you only have to check out the amount tagging and sharing that goes on, on their IG and Facebook accounts, to see social proof of how {antojitos} is delivering a customer focused service and why it creates success.


How often are you setting them for your brand and achieving them?

When I left my full-time job of 7 years last year, I set out to achieve something I’d wanted to do for nearly a decade - be my own boss… but did I know to do that? Nope 🤦🏻‍♂️...shit No joke, “How the hell do I start and run a business, let alone find customers and pay the bills without a salary?” is what I genuinely thought back in 2017 when I first considered starting G'day Frank. I was looking through rose coloured glasses that everything would be fine. But as I got serious about it, I started setting goals and I had to achieve them… or it mean’t I was going back to a full-time gig. So I set 💰 financial goals, 📣 awareness goals and 🕑 efficiency goals. And these are 3 parts of the Prioritised Goals exercise I cover in a strategy engagement. During our face-to-face discovery session, the goal within this exercise is to show me AND you, the future vision for your brand. The point of this exercise is for you to lay out the grand plan for your business - segmenting them into those 3 buckets (financial, awareness, efficiency) and prioritising which goals are more desirable and do-able for you. This shows me your short, medium and long term goals and how I might be able to help achieve them with you. Even though some goals will fall outside the realm of my branding services, you may have discovered a goal you’d not thought of or considered was more attainable than first thought. For me, my goals were black and white back then - I needed to achieve just about all of them to succeed in my first year. Within 8 months we smashed them ✅ And I’ve also seen the same thing happen with my clients in the same short amount of time. But it doesn’t stop there…it never does. We need to get good at setting goals AND get better at achieving them.

It’s a bold strategy to invest in your business, but it's just as bold of a strategy strategy if you don't. So if you’re thinking about how you can build or better define your brand, understand your customers better and set achievable goals, think of strategic thinking as the precursor to building a recognisable and memorable brand. I see my my clients prospering with solid strategies and I hope you will too.



bottom of page