Brand-Led vs. Sales-Led Strategy

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What is a brand?

You might think of ‘brand’ as synonymous with a recognisable logo, a coveted label or talked-about name. Those things are important to a business, but are ‘branding’ not ‘brand’.

Brand is far more than a symbol, name or tagline. Brand encapsulates the essence of a person or business - hence being often referred to as ‘business DNA’.

DNA makes us who we are, it is inextricably linked with our purpose and higher context and comes from the sum of our experiences in life.

Brand represents who we are here to serve and how we want to serve them and therefore drives the full end to end revenue system. 

I introduced the concepts of purpose, context and brand in the first article in this series. Now we’re going to look in more depth at having a brand-led strategy as one of the 6 ways to grow a business (see also my previous article on Leverage).

A brand-led strategy starts with who (who we are in business to serve) and why (why we do what we do), to identify the core purpose, or DNA, of our business. Once we have this clearly articulated, then we can build our product set and work out the channels that we need to take these products to our target market. This ‘top-down’ approach significantly speeds up the process of business growth – in my experience of working with clients it accelerates growth to achieve the desired outcomes in three to six years.

The alternative is a sales led strategy, in which you first chase revenue (sales and partnerships), then look at margin, product and brand, putting you at risk of drifting away from who you are. Using this sales-led approach, it typically takes between 17 and 30 years to build a business to its maximum potential.

Research by the renowned economic commentator Darren Shirlaw shows that we are heading towards a time of economic acceleration, peaking between 2021 and 2031. If we want our businesses to be ready for this major growth opportunity, now is the time to be starting a brand-led strategy, ready to take full advantage ahead of our competitors.

In my previous article, I explored the principle of using resources as a leverage for growth – once we have those right, we can then apply a brand-led strategy to be able to handle and exploit the growth.

As you know, I believe that you have to be able to ‘measure it to manage it’ and I know that the metrics of brand are essential – understanding what you have now, what is possible and how to bridge the gap.

I’ve been lucky enough to work with global branding expert Linzi Boyd, and our regional expert Sarah Skeats. Linzi is the founder of Business of Brand (BOB), and who has helped build some of the best-known high street consumer brands in the world. Working with Linzi, our team has been able to calculate the measurements that make for an effective brand-led strategy and share that knowledge through brand workshops around the globe.

Brand is business and at BOB, we’re looking to shift the world into a new era. We’re preparing our clients to be the ‘face of modern business’, with an asset that is a balance between: 

Creativity + Commercial  = The modern day business plan

We’re passionate about educating the market to invest, then activate. Invest in building a powerful brand and activate a product architecture and channel and sales strategy.” 

When you get clear on brand, you get clear on vision, making brand a very powerful tool for growth. 


Tim Dwyer is a business growth expert, who specialises in helping businesses strategically grow their assets, increase their business value, and improve their capabilities. Tim would welcome the opportunity to share more with you about Growth Metrics for business. You can contact Tim, and read more of his business insights and advice via his profile and learn more about Growth Metrics here.

Connect with Tim on LinkedIn here.