Has business plateaued? You may need brand strategy

David Dinh
Jan 8, 2024

Taking a step back to look at the bigger picture can be difficult when trying to manage your small business. Any overarching strategy, let alone brand strategy, is likely not on your list of priorities. Especially when things like making enough sales, tracking inventory, and running your team are always at the top of that list.

If you’re struggling to grow beyond your initial success, it may be time to reflect on whether or not you’ve positioned your brand in a way that helps you reach your long-term goals. Below are some indicators that it may be time to take that step back.

Before we begin, what even is brand strategy?

Searching for “brand strategy” will send you down multiple conflicting paths, leaving you with more questions than when you started. To cut through all the jargon and fluff, it can be boiled down to perception. How does your audience feel about your service or product? Where do you stand among your competitors? And are you communicating in a way that reinforces your preferred way of being perceived?

Your offering is for everyone

Some common advice you’ll often be given when starting your business is to pick a niche. When you started out, it probably made sense to cast a wide net. Maybe you feared that narrowing in on a specific service or industry would pigeonhole you. With a great offering, you might find success, but as your business grows, taking that advice and specializing will set you up to find the people that truly understand the value your business provides. The reality is that no product or service caters to everyone.

Imagine there’s two pizza restaurants. Pizzeria A focuses on from-scratch recipes with imported ingredients straight from Italy. Pizzeria B prefers to be a jack-of-all-trades, offering hamburgers, hot dogs, and shawarma alongside their pizza menu. It wouldn’t be out of the question to assume that those looking for “authenticity” would find themselves at Pizzeria A. Alternatively, those looking for a more casual meal or families with picky eaters would be happy to dine at Pizzeria B for the value and variety. Understanding who your customers are, what they want, and how your business helps them attain it will help position you as their go-to provider within your industry.

You don't stand out

From the inside looking out it can seem obvious that you’re different from your competitors. Perhaps you offer a better product or service, maybe you have more experience than anyone else, or you could even be revolutionizing your industry, but without properly communicating these differences, it’s easy for a potential user to lump you alongside a competitor. One of the easiest ways to communicate that difference is through visual branding. By taking into consideration the values of your company, the audience you’re looking to target, and what others in your industry are doing, you can leverage design to create a unique position for your business and brand within your market.

Great visual identities make businesses memorable. Even something as simple as colour can help make your business stand out. If you were asked to name a company that uses red as part of their branding, companies like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Netflix, and Youtube might come to mind. The scale isn’t exactly relatable for small businesses in terms of touchpoints, but the thinking behind it is. Leveraging brand colours, typefaces, graphic elements, and photography can do wonders for making users stop to learn more about what your business has to offer. If you’re struggling to get the value of what you do across to others, consider how a new look could help shift perception.

You're sending mixed signals

When you talk about your business, are you saying enough? Too much? Users tend to skim through content. In those few seconds of skimming, your content has to communicate the value of your product or service in a compelling way. But having an interesting ad or social post isn’t enough if your end goal is for them to land on your website to make that connection or transaction. If there’s a disconnect in the way you speak between different channels, your users will notice.

The language used in your sales pitch or marketing campaigns should be clear, concise, and honest about how your business solves your consumers problems. It should reflect the true lifechangability of your offering. It’s safe to say we’re all aware that Skittles are just colourful candies and that there’s no rainbow to taste, but the idea behind their messaging gives them a memorable personality in their space. Consumers want transparency and authenticity, but that doesn’t mean you have to be overtly straightforward. Having some fun and being playful in the right way is a good way to stand apart.


When managing your small business, brand strategy often takes a backseat, even though it's crucial for sustained success. From the importance of developing a niche to the need for clear differentiation and consistent messaging, your business’s perception plays a large role in how your audience views your service or product relative to competitors. As you navigate the intricacies of owning and running a small business, don't underestimate how a well-defined brand strategy can guide your business forward in times of uncertainty.

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