What is Brand Strategy?
A brand strategy is what you need to create, manage and communicate a brand that appears in the mind of consumers. It is the brand’s vision of where it wants to based on its goals. This will determine how brand managers should handle brand direction, brand design, brand positioning, brand promotion, and all other aspects of branding.
The term brand is often associated with the logo or the look of a certain company, but it is so much more than just the looks of a company. Brand is about recognition, loyalty, and value. A brand strategy helps create a strong identity which will have a positive impact on the companies overall brand experience.
Why Do You Need a Brand Strategy?
Without a clear understanding of who you are, what pain point you are addressing, or what you believe in, your company will undoubtedly struggle. Without a brand strategy:
- You can’t clearly portray your brand, resulting in an unclear brand image to consumers.
- Your brand will not be cohesive and consistent throughout all departments, resulting in a brand experience that is less than desirable for the customer.
- You can’t identify brand advocates with your brand experience, resulting in a poor reputation and low equity.
- The list goes on… Bottom line:
What to Know Before you Start your Brand Strategy
As with any brand strategy, there are certain things you must keep in mind before starting. Let’s start off by talking about brand positioning.
Define this term as the brand promise delivered through essence and character. It is how your brand delivers on your brand promise to customers/consumers. In order to sell products to a given market, the key is to understand who the target market of your company is. By doing this, you will be able to properly communicate and serve the needs of the ideal customer.
For example, Nike’s brand positioning is “Authentic athletic performance”. As you can see, Nike has targeted athletes as their main customer base. Their brand promise comes in the form of developing the best training wear for athletes to wear during sports activities.
Who is your Company Against?
No, this doesn’t mean your company has a rivalry with another, but identify the brands that are doing something similar to what you are doing. Once you have identified these companies, identify what makes you different. If your company is a startup, this might be a little bit harder as you don’t have a lot of experience in the market. In that case, identify what it is about your product or service that makes you different from other companies.
Is your company:
- more affordable?
- higher quality?
- more accessible?
How to Build a Brand Strategy
Now that you have a better understanding of what brand positioning is, let’s get started on building a successful brand strategy.
Develop your Internal Brand
A great way to start the process is by developing a realistic and reliable internal brand audit. This will help you identify your strengths and weakness as it pertains to branding and marketing. An internal brand audit is used to perform an analysis of various components within your organization that affect your brand from an internal standpoint.
In order to develop your internal brand, answer these four questions:
- What is your purpose?
- What is the vision?
- What is your mission?
- What does the company value?
Once you have answered these four questions, you are ready to move on to the next stages of building your brand.
Develop Your External Brand
This is where most companies miss their mark. A lot of companies are too focused on the internal brand to take a second look at how the external brand is being portrayed.
Your external brand should be able to deliver your internal brand promises in a way that your target market can recognize and understand. A lot of companies fail when it comes to creating an emotional connection with their consumer because they are too focused on making something cool when in reality, they miss the mark completely.
In order to develop an external brand, identify your target market and deliver on their expectations.
For example, Coke and Pepsi are both soft drinks (carbonated beverage) companies that focus on delivering an emotional connection with their consumers by making them feel like part of a group. This allows the average consumer to relate to either brand through social identification, which builds stronger connections between the product and the consumer.
Identify your Brand Personality
Your brand personality is the voice of your brand. It is how people will recognize and understand your brand from a consumer standpoint. In order to develop a strong brand personality, you need to know what kind of emotions your product or service evokes in customers by identifying their character traits.
Brand Personality Traits:
Define your Brand Awareness Strategy
Your brand awareness strategy is a plan of action designed to tell your story. It allows people to understand what you have to offer and makes people more likely to trust your business.
A brand awareness strategy can be as simple as having a decent social media following, good customer service or just making sure that you’re visible wherever you happen to go.
To build your brand awareness strategy, you need to first determine how your target market will recognize you. From there, you can set measurable goals to help you stay focused on your objectives.
The next couple of steps is about identifying the key messages that will be featured in your brand awareness strategy. Key messaging helps people to understand what makes your business different from other companies in the marketplace. It is important to make sure that these key messages are consistent throughout each platform the company is featured on.
A successful brand strategy is essential for capturing the attention of your target market. For instance, if you are an e-commerce business hoping to build trust with your customers, it is important to have a well-thought-out brand strategy that delivers on your promises. A lot of companies understand their purpose and have a good understanding of what they want their brand to portray. Keep in mind these strategies as you build your brand strategy!