The true test of a brand: The ability to grow

Thought Leadership on Lending presented by Gibraltar Business Capital.

As we approach the close of Q1 2016, many companies are actively working towards their business goals for the new year. Expectations are often high in the first quarter, tempered against lessons learned over the past year, as well as current economic and market realities. At Gibraltar we are no different. We take a hard and honest look, qualitatively and quantitatively to assess where we stand as a company — as a brand — and where we hope to be.

Over the past year, we have shifted and grown our company, including making important adjustments to our leadership and sales teams, and our internal operations. While strategic change is critical, one challenge we encountered was how to clearly communicate these changes and their impact to our internal and external audiences.

First, we look to our brand. It’s something that, if developed thoughtfully, will serve as an anchor for all communication efforts.

Companies like Apple and Coca-Cola come to mind when most people think of brands, as they can point to a product and place a tangible value on their brands. Product lines may grow and shift, but these big brands stand the test of time. For smaller firms, however, branding may be a nascent process that many companies are afraid to embrace. It is often considered something to be confronted down the road, when evidence of growth and scale materializes.

Undertaking a rebrand

A few years ago Gibraltar needed to tackle a rebrand. Beyond what we provided as a financial services company, what did we want to stand for? What would be the experience of working here, or doing business with us? We knew we needed to create a brand that would reflect our proprietary business processes, products and messages, as well as help our sales teams sell better and speak more consistently to customers. But, we’re specialized finance folks, and branding is not something our industry is known for executing well.

We formalized the branding process and worked with our marketing agency to home in on Gibraltar’s most distinguishing characteristics. This helped us gain clarity, and resulted in a messaging platform, marketing strategies and creative elements that would propel us forward. Through this process, we learned our brand isn’t just about our image, perception, logo or website; it’s an entire set of consistent communications activities that serve as our platform for real growth.

Evolving with it

As we shifted and grew our offerings, and made important changes to our staff, we were faced with not only how to handle the changes, but also how to refine our communication. Our first step was to re-assess our brand. This forced us to revisit those key differentiators to make sure they were still valid. It also gave us a starting point to ask ourselves if we were staying true to what we identified and created. It was a grounding exercise that reinforced all of the decisions we made because we had already done our due diligence.

So in addition to getting a boost in confidence and morale, we recognized that a successful brand strategy is one that grows with a company. It underscores exactly who you are as a business and serves as a foundation for strategic actions. But to benefit the company and all stakeholders for years to come, it must evolve with your company.

Ultimately, a solid brand is not fleeting, and it isn’t something your company should outgrow quickly. It is of the utmost value for any company and keeps everyone accountable to staying on point —something all companies should keep in mind when positioning a new structure or product. As our company has grown and expanded its staff, our brand platform quickly orients everyone and provides a consistent vision on which to base future decisions.

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