Consider you are trying to build a brand. The first step is knowing who you are trying to reach, following which you can devise a plan to show this target audience that your business has exactly what they want in a way that best resonates with them. This is the brand strategy.
There are all sorts of methods to uncover who your target audience is, what they want, and how to reach them most effectively. The brand strategy encompasses all of these methods and ideas in order to create a comprehensive plan for building your brand.
In this article, we discuss the importance of having a branding strategy, why it is absolutely crucial for your business, and how you can create a successful branding strategy for your business.
What role does a brand strategy play in branding?
Your brand strategy will also consider what you want your brand to stand for. This is the emotional connection that you want people to feel when they think of your brand. This is what sets you apart from your competitors and will be the driving force behind all of your branding efforts.
Your brand strategy is meant to put all of this together into a cohesive plan that you can then execute. This includes everything from your messaging and tone to your visuals and overall aesthetic. It will also lay out a plan for how you can reach your target audience and build relationships with them.
Why is your brand strategy so important?
Every professional team in the world takes time to study their market, their audience, and their competitors. They identify gaps in the market and weaknesses in their competitors, incorporating all of these into a working strategy and plan of action.
Not all teams that have a strategy succeed but every successful team needs to have a strategy. The same goes for brands.
Creating a branding strategy gives your brand direction, sets you up for success by helping you to make informed decisions, and ensures that everyone on your team is working towards the same goal.
Your brand strategy will also be a valuable asset when pitching your business to investors, partners, and customers. It will give them confidence in your brand and what you are trying to achieve.
Elements of a brand strategy
Branding exists only in the mind of the customer. It does not exist in the company guidelines or framework. At the heart of a brand strategy is the need to develop a long-term plan to achieve certain long-term goals through radical differentiation.
There are many elements to consider when creating a branding strategy. Here are some of the most important:
Since branding depends on perception. A branding strategy must first and foremost be based on a strong sense of identity as its foundation. Defining the purpose of your brand will help you determine what your company stands for, what it wants to achieve, and how it wants to be perceived.
Positioning is all about differentiating your brand in the marketplace. It’s about finding a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets you apart from your competition. The purpose of a business is to make money. We know this but what else does your business stand for? Identifying this will help your business to stand out from your competition.
For instance, in the case of Toms and Warby Parker, their USP is that for every purchase made, they donate a pair of shoes or a pair of glasses to someone in need. In the case of Patagonia, its USP is that they are an environmentally conscious company.
Creating a brand identity is one of the most important aspects of branding. Your identity is what makes you recognizable and differentiates you from your competition. It’s made up of things like your name, logo, slogan, and other visual elements.
Your identity should be consistent across all of your marketing materials, from your website to your business cards to your social media profiles. This consistency will help customers recognize and remember your brand.
For example, when you see a Nike swoosh, you immediately think of the Nike brand. That’s because Nike has done an excellent job of creating a strong and consistent identity. Everything they do across all platforms is in the promotion of the brand.
An emotional connection is another important factor in branding. Your customers need to feel like they have a connection with your brand in order to remain loyal. This connection can be emotional or practical, but it needs to exist in order for your branding strategy to be successful. This kind of connection is what contributes to their perception or opinion of your brand.
A great example of an emotional connection is the way that people feel about Apple products. Many Apple fans are extremely loyal to the brand and feel a strong emotional connection to the company and its products. The reason for this is that Apple has done an excellent job of creating an emotional connection by instilling its brand values of innovation, design, and simplicity in everything it does.
Creating an emotional connection with your customers is an important part of branding strategy, but it’s not the only thing that you need to consider. You also need to make sure that your branding strategy is practical and relevant to your target market.
It is important to reward consumers for their loyalty to your brand. It further develops that emotional connection with your target audience and gives them an incentive to keep supporting your brand.
There are a few ways to show customer loyalty, such as:
- Creating a loyalty program where customers can earn points or discounts for continued business
- Offering exclusive deals and coupons to loyal customers
- Sending thank you notes or holiday cards to your best customers
It is also important to find ways to stay in touch with your customers and develop relationships with them. This can be done through:
- Asking for feedback and engaging in conversations with customers on social media
- Hosting events or meetups for customers and potential customers
- Sending regular newsletters or email updates
- Creating a blog or podcast that covers topics related to your industry
A good example of this is the Starbucks rewards program, which offers loyalty points to customers for every purchase they make. This encourages customers to keep coming back to Starbucks in order to collect more points and redeem them for freebies.
When it comes to branding, being versatile is key. In today’s digital world, there are endless opportunities for companies to reach their target audiences. And with so many platforms to choose from, it’s important that your brand is adaptable and can be presented in a variety of ways.
Some of the most popular branding channels include social media, email marketing, content marketing, and paid advertising. But there are endless other options out there as well. The key is to experiment and find the right mix of channels that work for your company.
A good example of this is McDonald’s. The fast-food chain is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and they have a very versatile branding strategy. McDonald’s can be found on TV, billboards, social media, apps, and more. And they have different messages and campaigns for each channel.
How do you create a successful branding strategy?
A great branding strategy will give our business the best possible chance to succeed. Most businesses do know that they need some kind of branding strategy; however, most do not know how to devise a proper brand strategy.
Here is road map which will help you devise a great branding strategy for your business:
Step 1: Discover your identity and develop your internal brand
We already discussed having a purpose as an important element of a branding strategy. This purpose is part of your identity and forms the foundation for your branding strategy.
Your internal brand encompasses your purpose and consists of your brand mission, vision, and your values. The communication of this must stem from the leadership, at every rung of the corporate ladder. The reason is that the leadership determines the direction of your brand
Step 2: Research your audience and understand their needs
The second step to creating an effective branding strategy is understanding who your target market is and what they need or want. This audience may be internal (employees) or external (customers, clients, etc.), but in either case, you must take the time to understand them.
To do this, you can conduct market research or simply ask questions. Try to get a feel for what they think of your brand and how they perceive it. You need to get into the mindset of the people you are trying to reach—demographics, psychographics, pain points, etc. This will help you get to the emotions of your target audience.
Step 3:Research your market
After you have a good understanding of your target market and what they want, it’s time to do some research on your competition. See what they are doing that works and doesn’t work. Look for any gaps in the market that you can fill. This will give you a good starting point for developing your branding strategy.
You need to understand exactly what your target audience already has in the market and make sure that you differentiate yourself enough to ensure you don’t just become part of the market noise.
Additionally, once you have mapped out the market landscape, you can establish how you can fit yourself in this market and what will give your customers a reason to turn toward you.
Step 4: Shape your brand personality
Once you have figured out how to impact your customers, be of value to them, and how your going to make a difference, you need to go about trying to devise a plan to convince them of that value and show them the impact your going to make in their lives.
Your brand personality is the way your brand speaks and interacts with the world. It’s what makes your brand relatable and human. When customers connect with your brand personality, they are more likely to become loyal, long-term fans.
To shape your brand personality, you need to think about the values that underpin your business. What your saying is important but how you are going to say it is even more important as it will make a big impact on how your message is being received.
Step 5: The tone and vibe of your content
The next step is to think about the tone and vibe of your content. This is how you want your brand to come across to your audience. Do you want to be fun and friendly? Serious and professional? Clever and witty?
Understand the personality that your audience will be attracted to and use your tone and vibe to inject that personality across all your content. This will allow you to attract and establish that connection with the target audience that your reaching out to.
Your tone and vibe should be consistent across all your channels, from your website to your social media posts. This will help create a strong and cohesive brand identity that your audience can easily recognize.
Step 6:Develop your messaging strategy
Now that you know who your target audience is and what kind of tone and vibe you want to emit, it’s time to develop your messaging strategy. This will be the foundation for all your content, so it’s important to take the time to get it right.
Your messaging strategy is the “what” you going to say to your customers to communicate what kind of value you offer to your consumer. Any consumer on first contact with a brand will immediately think of “what is in it for me.”
Your message strategy needs to communicate two things. The value that you are going to offer before following up with the kind of relationship you want to establish with your consumer that is more than just transactional.
Step 7: Have a compelling brand story
Source: Larry Kim
A compelling brand story is what will differentiate you from the competition and make your target market want to buy from you. Your story should be authentic, focus on customer needs and desires, and be aspirational.
Humans are more inclined to listen and retain story-based information rather than fact-based information. It is like putting a name to a face rather than just being another face in a sea of faces. It allows you to be more relatable and engaging to your target audience.
Some elements that make up a great brand story are:
- Starting with a problem that your target market has
- Featuring a hero (your customer) who overcomes this problem
- Introducing your brand as the solution to this problem
- Showing how your brand has helped other customers like the hero
- Concluding with a call to action for the reader to buy from you
A compelling brand story is what will make your target market want to buy from you instead of your competitors. So start crafting your brand story today!
Step 8: Create an engaging name and tagline
Your brand name is a culmination of all the information you have been able to discover and generate so far. It is the embodiment and representation of your brand.
So it is important to choose a name that is not only relevant to your industry but also one that is memorable and easy to pronounce. Your tagline, on the other hand, is a brief statement or claim that reinforces what your brand stands for. It should be catchy and able to capture the essence of your brand in just a few words.
Pick a brand name that utilizes and incorporates all the aspects we discussed earlier in your brand strategy.
Step 9: Creating your brand identity
The identity of your brand is what will make it recognizable and distinguishable from other brands in your industry. However, it is more than just a logo, color palette, font, or image style. It utilizes these aspects as tools to connect and bring to the visual all the conceptual concepts we have discussed so far.
Step 10:Brand collateral
Your brand collateral is anything that represents your brand visually. It is the dressing room to bring together everything related to your brand. This can be business cards, letterhead, product packaging, website design, vehicle wraps, and more. It is important to make sure that all of your brand collateral is consistent with each other and across all platforms.
Step 11: Create your brand awareness strategy
Now that you have your brand identity complete, it is time to start getting the word out there. There are many ways to do this and the options are endless. You will want to sit down and brainstorm the best way to reach your target market.
You will also want to consider what kind of budget you have for marketing and advertising. Once you have a plan in place, start executing and tracking your results.
It is identifying the framework for your marketing strategy. It involves the tactics behind making sure your message reaches your target audience to generate the maximum impact.
Step 12: Launch your brand
This is completely the execution of your strategy. Now, this depends completely on your budget. A decent-sized budget means you can have Facebook and Instagram ads scheduled, your google ads generate leads and other such methods. If yoy dont have the budget, then you will be down to manually putting yourself out into the market via free platforms and other such methods.
it is also important to determine or set what success looks like to you in your brand strategy or what your position is meant to look like in a particular timeframe.
Step 13: Analyze, optimize, and evolve.
The purpose of this step is to make sure you are always fine-tuning your efforts, making changes when required based on your analysis of all the data that is available to you. It is meant to focus and maximize your efforts, and minimize waste of time and effort.
A brand strategy is a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve specific goals. A good brand strategy should include a market analysis, a target market, positioning, marketing mix, and a brand identity.
It is important to continuously monitor and evolve your brand strategy in order to stay ahead of the competition and keep your brand relevant. At Pixel Street, we are a branding agency that is focused on guiding you with a framework to help evolve your branding strategy and giving your business the best possible chance to succeed.