How do you plan to grow and scale your brand to ensure success in 2020 and beyond? The top 10 best growth strategies to give you a significant competitive advantage and help you get your brand on more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers.

How to reach your 2020 Vision for your brand

Do you want to know what the top 10 strategies to ensure success in 2020 and beyond are? That’s what we’re going to be talking about today. 

Welcome. You need a clear vision to succeed in 2020 and to help you do that, I’m changing up the format a little bit. In addition to my regular interview shows, I’m going to add on these smaller, shorter shows, and these episodes are going to be designed to help give you specific insights to answer your most pressing bottlenecks. They’re going to be a lot shorter and in addition to that, there’s going to be a YouTube component. On the YouTube channel, you might see illustrations to help frame or explain what I’m talking about more in depth, so you want to check out both, the Brand Secrets and Strategies YouTube channel and the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast. 

Let’s dig in today’s episode.

It’s the beginning of the year and everyone likes to talk about goal setting. What I want to do differently is highlight the top brand building strategies to help you get your brand on more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers. These are the best strategies used by the big brands. They work for them and they can work for you. Today, I want to focus on the top 10 strategies to grow and scale your brand in 2020 and beyond. 

#1, review the prior year. Take an assessment of what worked, what worked well, what you could have done better, and what tasks were a distraction and need to be eliminated. 

This is a critical step that most people overlook or ignore. The reason this matters is that a lot of the things that you’re doing make sense and they work to some degree. So let’s identify those things. Let’s tweak them. Let’s make them work more effectively. 

Some of the things that you did were distractions. You might call that busy work – work with no real purpose.  Let’s identify what those were and let’s eliminate those altogether. Identify which of those tasks can be delegated to someone else.  

The goal is too continually look for little improvements that can make a big impact. Remember that retail is a marathon and not a sprint. Little improvements add up and multiply over time. 

Have you ever heard of the domino effect? The momentum from the first block falling is amplified throughout the chain reaction. The effect is having a tremendous amount of inertia or energy capable of making a dramatic impact.  

#2, get focused. Sharpen the saw. Exactly what I was talking about a minute ago, only now, we’re talking about how do we get you focused? 

How do you kill distractions? Distractions dilute your energy. They take you off task. They make you less productive. If we can help you sharpen the saw and focus on what’s really important, then that’s going to help you be successful long-term. 

Download the show notes below

BRAND SECRETS AND STRATEGIES

PODCAST #160

Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #160

Welcome to the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

I’m your host Dan Lohman. This weekly show is dedicated to getting your brand on the shelf and keeping it there.

Get ready to learn actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save you valuable time and money.

LETS ROLL UP OUR SLEEVES AND GET STARTED!

How to reach your 2020 Vision for your brand

Do you want to know what the top 10 strategies to ensure success in 2020 and beyond are? That's what we're going to be talking about today.

Welcome. You need a clear vision to succeed in 2020 and to help you do that, I'm changing up the format a little bit. In addition to my regular interview shows, I'm going to add on these smaller, shorter shows, and these episodes are going to be designed to help give you specific insights to answer your most pressing bottlenecks. They're going to be a lot shorter and in addition to that, there's going to be a YouTube component. On the YouTube channel, you might see illustrations to help frame or explain what I'm talking about more in depth, so you want to check out both, the Brand Secrets and Strategies YouTube channel and the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast.

Let's dig in today's episode.

It's the beginning of the year and everyone likes to talk about goal setting. What I want to do differently is highlight the top brand building strategies to help you get your brand on more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers. These are the best strategies used by the big brands. They work for them and they can work for you. Today, I want to focus on the top 10 strategies to grow and scale your brand in 2020 and beyond.

#1, review the prior year. Take an assessment of what worked, what worked well, what you could have done better, and what tasks were a distraction and need to be eliminated.

This is a critical step that most people overlook or ignore. The reason this matters is that a lot of the things that you're doing make sense and they work to some degree. So let's identify those things. Let's tweak them. Let's make them work more effectively.

Some of the things that you did were distractions. You might call that busy work - work with no real purpose. Let's identify what those were and let's eliminate those altogether. Identify which of those tasks can be delegated to someone else.

The goal is too continually look for little improvements that can make a big impact. Remember that retail is a marathon and not a sprint. Little improvements add up and multiply over time.

Have you ever heard of the domino effect? The momentum from the first block falling is amplified throughout the chain reaction. The effect is having a tremendous amount of inertia or energy capable of making a dramatic impact.

#2, get focused. Sharpen the saw. Exactly what I was talking about a minute ago, only now, we're talking about how do we get you focused?

How do you kill distractions? Distractions dilute your energy. They take you off task. They make you less productive. If we can help you sharpen the saw and focus on what's really important, then that's going to help you be successful long-term.

Focus on one course of action until you're completely finished. Make this a priority. This single idea will have a dramatic and lasting impact on helping you reach your goals.

It's been said that people can't really multitask. I'm guilty of that. Even though I've always said that, I was one of the best multitaskers around. The reality is, is what you focus on gets done. The reality is the more that you're able to focus and put all of your energy into one task at a time, the more effective you're going to be, the better the results are going to be and the more efficient you're going to be in terms of getting your projects finished.

Anthony Robbins once said that energy flows where focus goes. It’s true!

#3, establish well-defined targets. You simply can't hit a target that you don't aim for.

Think about it. A lot of people say that they want to do something, but their goals are ambiguous or not very specific.

The more specific you can be, the more effective your results are. For example, if you say want to grow sales next year. Well, here's a dollar. You just increased your sales by $1.

Well, that's probably not what you were thinking but because your goals were not well-defined and you were not specific you achieved your goal and fell short of your longterm objective.

So for example, instead of saying, "I want to grow sales," instead, you might want to say, "I want to grow sales by 20% next year." That means, in order to achieve that, I need to make sure that my product is going to be an additional 200 stores at retailer A. That goal is more specific. Later, in future episodes we're going to talk about how to drill down and you identify what stores are going to help you achieve that goal because not all stores are equal.

Always define the problem in solvable terms. When you're talking about growing distribution for example, the example I just gave you, now we're talking about specifically what stores do you want to gain distribution in? What store do your core customer shop at? Going after the wrong stores can derail you and actually dilute your success. This is a critical component to goal setting.

#4 build a bridge to success. Clarity equals power. The more clear you are, the more specific you are in terms of your goal setting, the better you're going to be able to achieve them. I've already said that. So what I mean by that, well, not only are you going to gain distribution in a specific 200 stores, but how are you going to do that? What steps are you going to take to achieve that goal?

Next, you want to create a specific roadmap. So for example, "I want to gain distribution in stores one, two, three, four, in that order, followed by stores 10, 11, 12." Your specific roadmap identifies exactly how you plan to achieve your goals. I want to gain distribution in what stores, in what retail chains, in what regions and so on. In other words, you want to gain distribution in the specific stores where your customers shop in order of importance.

#5 Your goals need to be SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely

They need to be specific, like I've been talking about, specifically exactly, what is your goal? What do you hope to achieve it and how do you plan to get there?

Your goals need to be measurable. You need to set goals where you can measure their impact or progress toward a set objective

They need to be attainable. What does that mean? Don't set pie in the sky goals that you're never going to succeed. Don’t set yourself up for failure. How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time.

Don't say you want to get distribution in a retailer that you have no business being in. For example, let's say you're a small brand. Don't say, "I want set a goal to gain distribution at Costco or Walmart”, if there is no way that you can handle the volume increase as a small brand. Instead, identify the retailers that you can support and then grow in.

Set goals that are realistic that you can support completely. What can you reasonably accomplish this month, this year, etc.

Next, the goals need to be timely. How do you plan to achieve the goal and in what order and by when? And then what is your strategy to get there?

In other words, I need to do A, B, C, D, in that order, to achieve to reach my 2020 distribution target. Identify what that looks like. You want to get distribution in 50% of those stores by the end of Q1, another 20% of those stores at the end of Q2, and so on.

Being timely holds you accountable to your goals.

#6 plan for success. You need expert help. Not all amateurs have a coach, but all professionals do. Let me give you an example. I once heard this analogy and it made a lot of sense to me. If you want to become a millionaire, well then don't ask someone that makes only $30,000 a year. Learn from experts, real world experts who have a proven track record. Don't learn from someone that only read a textbook or read a blog article. Learn from someone who's actually accomplished the specific goal you set.

So how does this work in my world? There are a lot of “so called experts” trying to tell you how to grow and scale your brand but not all of them have a proven track record or real world experience with small retailers and large national accounts. There are a lot of people that claim to be category management experts without ever competing against the biggest brands in the largest national retailers or without being able to pass the most basic professional category management certification. I am the first person certified at the highest level of category management proficiency - a Certified Professional Strategic Advisor (CPSA).

There's a big difference between someone who can populate a canned topline templated report than an expert who can provide actionable insights to grow and scale your brand. There is a big difference between someone who uses the same generic template to sell both organic baby food and motor oil.

This is where a talented category management expert is worth their weight in gold. This is where small disruptive brands are able to compete head-to-head with the most sophisticated brands in any category and in any economy.

My point is this, this is where you truly get more than what you pay for. One of my biggest wins includes huge double digit growth quarter after quarter in a category that was flat.

Get expert advice to help you stay focused and help you realize your goals faster. One of the other benefits of doing this and using this strategy, is helping you achieve your goals a lot faster than it would if you had tried to do this on your own.

For example, for me, starting my business out, there are a lot of mistakes that I made along the way. I finally found the right people to give me the right advice, to build the right infrastructure, to be able to provide to you brand-building information like this podcast, the YouTube channel, my online course, and my weekly newsletter.

I constantly strive to provide the best brand-building advice and resources including actionable insights from leading CEO’s, founders, and thought leaders in our industry. This would not have been possible had I not surrounded myself with the best coaches and guides.

#7, Write it down and schedule it. If it's not written down, then it's not a goal. No goals equal no growth. Schedule it. What gets scheduled gets done.

Use a scorecard. I talk about a scorecard and the importance of them on a lot of different podcast episodes. I've even included a module teaching you everything you need to know about scorecards in my Effective Broker Management course and my Trade Marketing Essentials course.

Scorecards are the most effective way to help you manage projects, projects like goal setting. If you can put together a scorecard and then identify who's going to do what, when, where, why and how. Pulling together all the different resources that you need to be successful, well, that's going to help you achieve your goal.

Let me give you a quick example. If one of your goals was to gain distribution in a store and part of that goal requires that you support your brand with an in-store demo, well then on your scorecard, you would include the specific stores the demo will be in, the incremental product required to insure no out-of-stocks is ordered and by when, that the demo people are well trained experts about your product, you have a way to survey shoppers and build community, the signage is in place, the product is well merchandised, and so on. Using a scorecard will with this level of detail will guarantee maximize results for the demo promotion.

By being able to leverage a scorecard to help you achieve your goals, it's going to make your goals a lot easier to manage. Another key benefit is having other people help support you and hold you accountable.

#8, persistence. You've got to stick with it. There are a lot of brands that'll try something once or twice and then give up. Persistence is the key to being able to achieve your goals.

Think about it. Professional athletes don't run around a track once and give up because they are not automatically the fastest. Instead, they practice day after day after day. Olympic athletes get up early every morning and they push and they push and they push to get better. My point is this, you've got to continue working toward achieving your objective on a regular basis consistently and you've got to put your best foot forward each step of the way.

#9, get your entire team on board. Goal setting should be fun. Goal setting should be something that's not just left alone to you, the founder. Goal setting should include everyone in your organization. The more you can get them engaged in what you're trying to achieve, the more effective you're going to be. The best part about that is that not only will they start owning different aspects of the goal, but they'll also provide insights, ideas, and strategies to help you achieve your overall objective.

#10, rinse and repeat. Once you've got a solid strategy, then you need to practice it. Practice it every single day. You need to make sure everyone who touches your products is on board with your objectives.

Everyone throughout your entire sales funnel. You’ve got to make sure, for example, that you're communicating the value of your mission, the value of your brand, et cetera, to everyone throughout your entire sales funnel, exactly why I created the free Turnkey Sales Store Strategies course.

Hardly any brands have the discipline to leverage the strategies taught in this free course. This how I was able to push around big brands like P&G and Frito. It’s worked for my clients and it can work for you.

Here's a quick example of one strategy I teach in the course. Have you ever played the game where you tell someone a story and they tell someone else and so on? By the time the story comes back around you, it's literally unrecognizable.

One of the goals of the free course, is to teach you how insure that your selling story remains consistent throughout the entire organization and throughout your entire sales funnel with the same clarity, passion, authenticity, and enthusiasm as the founder.

If you have the discipline to do this, I guarantee you're going to have a significant competitive advantage over any brand out there. Literally, this is what set me apart from all the brands that I worked with and all the brands that I competed against. If you can do this one thing and then layer on all your goal setting and all the things we've talked about thus far, this is going to help you gain a significant and sustainable competitive advantage that's going to set you apart from your competition in 2020 and beyond. This is the foundation that you need to build your brand on.

Now for a couple of additional things to think about as you're setting your goals. First of all, you always need to be grateful. Anger and fear are distractions. It's easy to get distracted by all the things that are coming at us all the time. We practically drink through a fire hose on a regular basis with all the distractions, all the things going on in the news and in the world, and with everyone begging for a piece of your time.

Being grateful, by being positive about what you have and trying to focus on the good, try to focus on what's important to driving your business and not getting distracted by the things that really don't affect your business. In other words, be grateful for what you have, for everything that you have, be grateful for the people that work with you, that support you. Being grateful means that you can step back and you can look at the big picture. This will allow you to focus on your objectives for 2020 and beyond.

This will also help identify those people are going to help you with your journey. Those people who are going to help you stay on track. Those people that want to help you succeed, like your customers, for example.

Here's some other things to help you.

1, begin every day with a definite plan. Don't wake up in the morning not knowing what you're going to do. Before I go to bed every night, I write down what my objectives are for the next day so that when I wake up, I can hit the ground running.

2, tap into the power of purpose. What is the purpose of the goal you set? What does it matter? What are you trying to achieve? If you got a purpose behind your goal, that increases your drive and your enthusiasm and your focus. By being able to focus on the power of purpose, that helps you achieve your objective because you know that's the goal, that's the thing you need to focus on every day.

3, set priorities. Think about the things that are important and put those in the order of importance and then do those things in that order.

Many, many years ago, while working for Unilever, I went through a class on how to use the Franklin Planner. Franklin was bought out by Stephen Covey. I'm sure you've probably heard of his, 7 Habits of Highly Success People. What they taught us was brilliant. What we did is we identified the goals that we needed to achieve and then we took the time to rank those goals in order of importance so that we didn't get distracted doing things that weren't important.

A lot of people like to first check off the things that are easy to achieve, the things that distract them from what really needs to be done that day. So by ranking your goals in the order of importance and then by restating those in solvable terms, I was able to move mountains.

This was the secret to my success. This allowed me to become a leader in the industry and in my categories, literally, and push around some of the largest, most iconic brands in the planet. If you leverage this strategy, it's going to help you as well.

4, The next thing I want you to do is schedule blocks and time to work on the most important results first. This will help you focus.

5, use the power of deadlines. Have you ever heard of the Parkinson principle? It says that work tends to expand to fit the amount of time allotted to it. Set a deadline and stick to it.

Think about it. What kind of student were you in school? Were you the student that always waited to the last minute your homework was due before you even started? If you can use the power of deadlines, then that's going to help you prioritize things effectively.

In a perfect world, this where I want to get you. I want you to start doing your product planning, your promotional planning and everything else several months out. The big companies are now doing this sometimes two years in advance. This is where you want to be because this takes a lot of pressure off your plate and this allows you to do other things, like plan for innovation and so on. We'll get to that more in other episodes.

6, don't waste time worrying about things you didn't do or things you can't control. Don't allow other things to distract you. Focus on what's important. Focus on the task at hand and don't let things that you can't control distract you from what you're trying to accomplish.

7, measure your progress and celebrate the results. This is why a scorecard is important. If you can put on your scorecard what you need to achieve, how you need to achieve it and when you need to achieve it by, then you can celebrate your success because you'll know that you hit the goals at a certain time. By the way, this is a skill that will improve over and over time, so don't worry about the first couple of times you use this. The more you use a scorecard, the more comfortable you are with using a scorecard, the better it's going to help support your brand and what you do, the better it's going to help support your goal setting, the more effective and more efficient you're going to be.

9, spend 90% of your time on the solution and only 10% of your time on the problem. Think about it. The more time you spend in planning, the less time you have to spend in execution. By making sure that you've got everything planned out properly, it's going to make execution that much easier. For example insuring your product demo is a huge success.

There is a famous quote by President Lincoln who said, "If you have six hours to cut down a tree, then you want to spend the first five hours sharpening the saw." The point is this, in that example, the sharper the saw is, the more effective you're going to be at being able to cut down the tree.

That's a strategy that you should use as you begin to plan. As you begin to use these strategies, if you plan ahead of time, thoroughly plan everything, then the execution will become the easy part. This includes delegating tasks to others.

And 9, the most important thing to consider. Be excited about your vision and goals and imagine what it will look like when you accomplish them. Imagine what it will look like when your brand is the leader in the category. Imagine what it will look like when a retailer highlights your brand and celebrates it on their shelves. Imagine what it looks like when customers choose your brands over others and then take your product home and share it with their friends and family. This is where we want to get you. This is the strategy that I think, again, a lot of people overlook.

I hope this episode helped. I hope that you've got a better idea of what you need to do to accomplish your goals in 2020 and beyond. I hope that this is going to help you achieve those goals.

Stay tuned to the podcast and the YouTube channel for more brand-building advice. Go back and listen to prior episodes where we discuss strategies to solve your most pressing bottlenecks. Please share them with a friend or any brands wanting to grow sales. Subscribe so that you will be the first to receive the most current tips and strategies to help grow and scale your brand.

Todays free downloadable guide is my Retail Scorecard. You can download it instantly along with todays show notes at brandsecretsandstrategies.com/session160. Thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode.

Thanks again for joining us today. Make sure to stop over at brandsecretsandstrategies.com for the show notes along with more great brand building articles and resources. Check out my free course Turnkey Sales Story Strategies, your roadmap to success. You can find that on my website or at TurnkeySalesStoryStrategies.com/growsales. Please subscribe to the podcast, leave a review, and recommend it to your friends and colleagues.

Sign up today on my website so you don’t miss out on actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save you valuable time and money.

I appreciate all the positive feedback. Keep your suggestions coming.

Until next time, this is Dan Lohman with Brand Secrets and Strategies where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

Listen where you get your podcast

Like what you’ve heard? Please leave a review on iTunes

FREE Trade Promotion ROI Calculator:

Click Here To Maximize Sales And Profits

Retail Scorecard

Scorecards are powerful goal setting tools. You’ve probably heard that “what gets measured gets done”. Scorecards map out objectives in bite-size manageable chunks that keep you on-track and focused. They’re what you need to succeed. 

Empowering Brands | Raising The Bar

Ever wish you just had a roadmap?  Well now you do!

Don’t miss out on all of these FREE RESOURCES (strategic downloadable guides, podcast episodes, list of questions you need to be asking and know the answers to, weekly newsletter, articles and tips of the week.  You will also receive access to quick and easy online courses that teach you how to get your brand on the shelf, expand distribution, understand what retailers REALLY want and address your most pressing challenges and questions.

All tools that you can use, AT NO CHARGE TO YOU, to save you valuable time and money and grow your sales today!

Image is the property of CMS4CPG LLC, distribution or reproduction is expressively prohibited.