If you have spent any amount of time recently around the startup ecosystem, you will be very familiar with the term “Product-Led Growth (PLG)”, it gets used a lot these days and for a good reason.
Product-Led Growth (PLG) is a business strategy in which customer acquisition, expansion, conversion, and retention are driven primarily by the product itself. It is a customer-centric approach focusing on user experience and perceived value as the primary driver of sales and customer acquisition.
In its basic form, PLG focuses on a low barrier to entry, quick signup, easy integration, a freemium, try before you buy tier, habit-forming usage cycle, a tight and fast customer feedback loop, and a word of “use” recommendation process.
The experience customers have with your product and the value they gain from it can make or break a startup. So, focusing on these key values is important to any startup’s success.
But Product-Led Growth, although a proven and highly effective strategy, should not be the only driver of your business. A lesser-mentioned but still highly effective strategy, when used alongside Product-Led Growth (PLG), can be “Brand-Led Growth (BLG)” when implemented correctly.
Table of Contents
What Is Brand-Led Growth?
Brand-Led Growth is a term used to describe the process of building brand loyalty through a variety of focused marketing strategies. This includes creating meaningful connections with customers, increasing customer engagement, and fostering an emotional relationship between customers and your brand.
In today’s crowded brand landscape, it’s more important than ever for startups to understand their customers and create a positive and compelling brand presence. This is where Brand-Led Growth comes in. Brand-Led Growth is the process of creating a recognizable brand with an engaged customer base that will result in long-term success.
A successful Brand-Led Growth strategy transcends any single product or service a brand offers and creates an authentic, cult-like loyalty that is hard to break.
Brands like Apple and Adidas are great examples of successful Brand-Led Growth strategies; loyal Apple Cultists consume almost everything that Apple puts out, Laptops, Phones, Earphones, Watches, Apple music and more. Whilst devoted Adidas Cultists are seen dressed head-to-toe in the brand.
Brand-Led Growth as a Strategy?
It is important to note that Brand-Led Growth does not just involve promoting products or services; it is about creating a deep emotional connection between your brand and its customers. Brand-Led Growth focuses on delivering value to customers by understanding their needs, interests, and behaviors while also providing them with tailored lifestyle experiences.
The goal of any focused Brand-Led Growth initiative should be to create a strong and lasting connection between your brand and your customer so that they become loyal to the brand for years to come.
How It Works
As the world of product marketing rapidly changes and becomes more complex, so must the strategies companies use to grow and get noticed. Methods such as mass advertising are no longer effective in this new landscape. Instead, businesses must look to Brand-Led Growth to stay ahead of the curve.
For most new startups, reaching the cult brand status of an Apple or Adidas is a heady goal, but a good starting point is to focus on building associations with a set of solid brand attributes like Reliability (FedEx), Innovation (Apple), Safety (Volvo), Sophistication (Rolex), Convenience (Amazon), Excitement (Red Bull) or Adventure (Jeep).
Leading companies such as Amazon, Uber, and Airbnb have all utilized Brand-Led Growth to achieve massive success. Amazon, for example, has focused on building a brand synonymous with convenience and customer service. This has allowed them to dominate the e-commerce space and expand into new areas such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
Uber, on the other hand, has built a brand that is all about convenience, innovation, and disruption. This has allowed them to quickly become the dominant player in the ride-sharing industry and expand into other areas such as food delivery and electric scooters. Bringing their brand’s positive reputation into these new areas and guaranteeing a successful interaction.
Airbnb has also utilized Brand-Led Growth to become the go-to platform for short-term rentals. By focusing on creating a unique and trusted brand, Airbnb has been able to tap into a vast market and establish itself as a major player in the travel industry. Customers trust that the AirBnB brand will deliver a great vacation experience. It is that trust that is the brand, not the product.
These are just a few examples of how Brand-Led Growth can be used to achieve success in today’s business world. Startups would be wise to emulate these companies and focus on building a strong brand in order to fuel long-term growth.
Start With Why
The key to successful Brand-Led Growth is understanding your target audience and what they want from your product or service.
Before you can start acquiring new customers, you need to know why they would want to buy from you in the first place. What problem are you solving? What need are you filling? Once you know your unique selling proposition, you can start to craft your brand around it.
It is important to build an emotional connection with your customers. Your customers need to feel something when they interact with your brand. Whether it’s happiness, relief, or excitement, make sure your branding evokes positive emotions that will make your customers want to keep coming back.
You should have a compelling story that speaks to your customers. This story should be reflected in everything you do, from your website copy to all your social media posts. Consistency is key when it comes to successful branding. Share your story in an authentic and relatable way, and your customers will be more likely to connect with your brand.
But remember, keep it simple. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. It’s important to focus on a specific target audience and craft you’re branding around it. The more targeted and focused your branding is, the more likely you will connect with your target customers.
Once you’ve identified your target market and have a compelling, consistent story, you can start to build relationships with your customers through various channels such as social media, public relations, email campaigns, discord channels, YouTube videos, events, and webinars. These activities should build trust and loyalty with your customers while showing them why your product or service stands out from the competition.
Additionally, it would help if you focused on creating content that addresses common customer questions or problems to provide additional value for customers. Be sure never to sound like a sales pitch; customers will tune out and move on.
Measure Your Success
Keep track of your brand’s Growth and performance over time. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not and adjust as needed. There are many online tools that can help you track brand sentiment, but the best method out there is always to talk to and keep an open and honest dialogue with your customers.
Brand-Led Growth is essential for any startup looking to succeed in today’s crowded consumer landscape, where competition is fierce among businesses vying for attention online, on store shelves, in search engines and on social media platforms alike.
It requires understanding consumer behavior while also providing value through tailored content and experiences designed specifically for each customer or group of customers.
A successful Brand-Led Growth strategy requires strategic thinking combined with creative tactics such as providing incentives for repeat customers, engaging with followers on social media channels regularly, developing content that educates potential buyers about your product or service offerings, and maintaining a continuous and ongoing dialogue with customers — all of which helps foster trust between companies and their consumers over time resulting in increased sales and stronger relationships overall.
With an effective Brand-Led Growth strategy in place, companies can create long-term relationships with their customers, build strong brand recognition, cultivate brand loyalty, and drive brand visibility. Investing in a Brand-Led Growth strategy is an investment that will pay dividends for many years to come, helping your company stand out from the competition and create a brand that customers love.