How to lead a brand turnaround to revitalize your business



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When your brand faces poor external results with a decline in sales, shrinking market share, and lower profit margins due to lower prices or rising costs, the brand leader needs to create a turnaround plan that will fix it. From my experience with a brand turnaround, you will need both a short-term and long-term fix. Equally, the quick fix helps address the hemorrhaging results that are impacting the bottom line of the company. 

However, most fix it situations have a more in-depth cause, hidden beneath the surface level. Above all, you will need a change management leadership style that challenges everyone and everything. As a consequence, losing can be contagious to the culture of a team. You will need to create a new attitude. Admittedly, explore the need for different people to join the team. Correspondingly, you will need a new plan, which includes a new vision filled with new ideas.

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Business Review

Address your brand situation before you make your next move

In our playbooks, we outline four distinct situations your brand could face:

  1. Fuel the momentum
  2. Fix it
  3. Realignment
  4. Start-up

Apply the right strategy and leadership to the right situation you face

When business results are healthy, fuel the momentum by staying on course and attacking small weaknesses. For this reason, when things are going well, everyone within your organization will resist a change plan. 

When the external results are abysmal, your management team will look for opportunities to turn around those results quickly. Consequently, your management will be impatient. In that case, you need to manage the short-term and long-term fix it plans at the same time. 

When different silos operate entirely autonomously within your organization, it causes unnecessary conflict and confusion that holds your brand back from maximizing its full potential. Importantly, build a realignment plan to get everyone moving in the same direction. 

Whether you are in an entrepreneurial start-up or entering into a new business from within a corporation, follow the plan for a start-up.

Start with a deep-dive business review

Before moving towards a brand turnaround, you must fully understand the situation you face. Each year, conduct a deep-dive business review to assess the health of your branded business. Undoubtedly, a smart brand strategy is a smart business strategy. You are running a live business, with a need to drive sales, manage costs, and produce profits. Without addressing the competitive and consumer factors you face, all your great strategic thinking will come collapsing down around you.  

Dig in on the five specific sections—marketplace, consumers, channels, competitors and the brand. As a result, draw out conclusions to help set up your brand’s key issues, which you answer in the brand plan.      

The business review should help you understand the underlying causes happening in the market. Evaluate changing consumers needs, new competitors, changes in the retail landscape, and changes in technology. Importantly, close leaks using a brand funnel analysis. Go through every investment decision. Moreover, cut all spending that fails to drive results and reinvest in the new plan. Particularly, invest only in programs that give you an early breakthrough win and payback. Once you have the plan in place, make sure you have the right talent in place to make it happen. 

Read more on how to conduct a business review: Business Reviews

Brand turnaround plan

How to lead a turnaround

When different functions operate in silos, you see the marketing and sales team each delivering distinct brand messages, and the product development team invents products in a lab without any direction from brand or input from consumers. Obviously, you want to make sure everyone on the team is moving in the same direction to the same brand plan. 

  • Assessment indicators: Poor external results, declining sales, shrinking profitability, falling share position, and losing competitive battles. 
  • Strategy: Quick wins stop declines. Dig in deep to find underlying causes. Need long-term fixes for communication, innovation, selling and in-store 
  • Leadership style to engage: Use a transformational change management style to challenge everything and everyone.
A high-functioning team must agree on the following: 
  • Target market 
  • Main consumer benefit
  • An organizing brand idea 
  • Articulation of the brand idea for each function
  • Brand vision
  • Brand purpose and values
  • Shared goals
  • Key issues 
  • Strategies
  • Execution plans and activities you will invest in

The quick fix plan

For any brand turnaround quick fix can buy you time with management to implement what you see as the longer-term fix it plan. Clearly ,any immediate wins also give the team a much-needed boost of motivation. 

  • Find early, and obvious potential wins to stop the hemorrhaging.
  • Emphasize results to fuel a performance-driven culture. 
  • Use all early wins to boost team motivation.
  • Celebrate every victory, big or small.  
  • Eliminate wasteful spend, low margin or resource draining projects 

Does your brand have unrealized potential?

Above all, here are five questions you need to be able to answer about your brand:

  1. Can you describe your brand in seven seconds in a way that motivates consumers to engage and in a space that is own-able for your brand?
  2. Are you making the right investments that will create a market impact for your brand, and lead to a performance result for your business?
  3. Does everyone on your team know their role and know how they contribute to building a successful brand?
  4. Does your marketing execution establish your desired brand positioning and move customers to purchase?
  5. Are you investing in your people to ensure they make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth?

If you cannot answer these five questions, your team will be confused. Your brand investments will be scattered and won’t pay back. You will see inconsistent execution in the market. As a result, consumer will not know how to define your brand. And, you won’t grow! It is time to make decisions. 

We will help you define your brand positioning statement, select the right strategic investments for your brand, and build a strategic plan that everyone can follow. 

We ensure that your marketing execution builds your brand reputation in the market and moves customers along their purchase journey. When you invest in your team better, you will see them make smarter decisions and produce exceptional work that drives business growth.

Our brand strategy process will help you define your brand and map out a strategic plan for the best possible future for your brand.

Brand idea

Invest in a brand idea that is supported by a unique brand positioning

First, to kickstart your brand turnaround, you need a brand positioning statement focuses on the consumer target your brand will serve and the emotional and functional benefits your brand will stand for. If you don’t position your brand the way you want, then your customers and competitors will do it for you, and you might not like their answers. 

Importantly, a smart brand positioning statement should narrow the target to those consumers who are most capable of loving what the brand does. Clearly, with your consumer in mind, the brand positioning should find the ideal balance between functional and emotional benefits.

Thoughts on bringing the brand positioning statement together:

  • Who is your consumer target? Keep your target definition focused. Never go after two target markets at the same time. Especially, bring the target to life with need states, consumer insights, and a consumer enemy. 
  • Where will you play? Define the space you play in, measuring it against those brands you compete with. 
  • Where will you win? Narrow your benefit down to one thing. Never try to stand for too many things at once—whether too many functional benefits or too many emotional benefits. You cannot be all things to all people. Unquestionably, make sure you talk benefits, not features. The ideal space must be unique and motivating to the consumers while being ownable for your brand. 
  • Why should they believe us? The role of support points is to resolve any potential doubts the consumer might have when they see your main benefit. Ensure these support points are not just random claims or features that you want to jam into your brand message. Indeed, all claims should support and fit with the main benefit.
Completing your brand idea
Above, in this example for Gray's Cookies, the common words are healthy, taste, guilt free, and control over your weight. The brand idea "best tasting, yet guilt-free pleasure." To illustrate, click to zoom in.

Marketing Plans

Build a new marketing plan that everyone can follow

When engaging a brand turnaround, you should build a smart marketing plan that gets everyone in your organization on the same page. Importantly, everyone drives against the same vision, key issues, strategies, and tactics. 

A smart brand plan makes choices on how to allocate your brand’s limited resources to drive the biggest return. Clearly, you need the he plan to gain approval from senior management around spending, strategies, tactics, goals, and projects. And, your plan aligns, steers and inspires all functional areas of the organization. 

Importantly, the plan must align marketing, sales, finance, supply chain, product development, human resources and any outside agencies. Lastly, the brand plan even helps the Brand Manager who wrote it. 

Moreover, you need to stay focused on delivering on what they said they would deliver. Make focused investment decisions, and take smart risks to fix the brand communication, product innovation, purchase moment, and the consumer experience.

Brand Toolkits

Our Brand Toolkit is our most comprehensive template with every PowerPoint slide that you need to run your brand.

Discover a comprehensive approach to brand growth with our diverse collection of templates:

  1. Brand Plan Template: Featuring slides for outlining your vision, purpose, analysis, key issues, strategies, and execution plans. Additional slides include sales forecasts, financials, and activity calendars to ensure a well-rounded plan.
  2. Brand Positioning Template: Equipped with slides to help you define your target profile, create a brand positioning statement, and develop a brand idea, concept, values, story, credo, and creative brief for a strong brand identity.
  3. Business Review Template: Complete with slides for conducting in-depth analysis of the marketplace, customers, competitors, channels, and your brand, empowering you with insights for informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Choose the right brand toolkit for your business needs

Brand Toolkit for brand consultants

Our Brand Consulting Toolkit provides all the necessary templates, allowing you to streamline your process and concentrate on your clients! We have combined our brand toolkits in one package. 

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b2b brands

the b2b playbook for how to create a brand your customers will love

As a B2B marketer, you know that the key to driving growth is a strong brand. But how do you develop and execute a winning B2B brand strategy? Look no further than the B2B Brands playbook.

Prepare to think differently about your B2B brand strategy with B2B Brands. We want to challenge you with thought-provoking questions and take you through our process for defining your brand positioning. Our goal is to expand your mind to new possibilities for your brand by using real-life examples of successful B2B brand positioning strategies.

We’ll start by showing you how to create a brand plan that’s easy for everyone to follow, ensuring that all stakeholders understand how they can contribute to your brand’s success. Moreover, we guide you through the creative execution process, including how to write an inspiring brief and make decisions to achieve smart and innovative communications.

Finally, we’ll teach you new methods to analyze your brand’s performance through a deep-dive business review.

Our B2B Brands playbook offers a wealth of knowledge and insights, including B2B case studies and examples to help you learn new techniques. It’s no wonder that 85% of our Amazon reviewers have given us a 5-star rating. So, join us on this journey to unleash the potential of your B2B brand.

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Phone: 416–885–3911

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the playbook for how to create a brand your consumers will love

With our Beloved Brands playbook, you will learn to think strategically, define your brand positioning, write a marketing plan, make execution decisions, and analyze your brand. Our readers tell us they reach for Beloved Brands as a reference tool to help them with the day-to-day management of their brand. We are proud that 89% of online reviewers have rated Beloved Brands a 5-star. As a result, Beloved Brands has been a #1 bestseller in brand management. We also have the B2B Brands playbook and our Healthcare Brands playbook

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As a marketing team leader, you know that your team’s success is essential for your company’s growth. Our Beloved Brands marketing training gives your team the skills they need to make strategic decisions, produce exceptional work, and drive business growth. They will learn to define brand positioning, write effective plans, improve brief writing, make informed execution decisions, and analyze their brand’s performance.

We have designed our marketing training program to build the fundamental skills to help your team reach their full potential. We will work with your team to help them learn to take on Strategic Thinking, Brand Positioning, Marketing Planning, Marketing Execution, and Brand Analytics. 

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