Brand Strategy: What is it and how do you make one?
What comes to your mind the moment you come in contact with your favourite brand? Memories of your first experience using their product? Product quality? That time you needed help and their customer service was fantastic? Their social impact?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re already feeling the impact of great branding. Branding is the process of creating a strong, positive perception of your company and its products in your customers’ minds. So it goes beyond just the logo and colour, even though they’re essential parts of branding.
Branding also involves the design, tone of voice, story, culture, values, and other elements that distinguish your company from its competitors and makes it identifiable. As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, describes it, “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.
A brand strategy, on the other hand, helps you explore sustainable means to reach your target audience. Simply put, a brand strategy is a detailed plan that outlines what you want to accomplish and how you intend to accomplish it. You can create, grow, and support a brand with a brand strategy because it gives you clarity about your goals. In fact, all successful brands are supported by effective brand strategies.
Brand Strategy, Business Strategy, and Marketing Strategy
The word ‘strategy’ intersects with different business concepts and often gets people confused. For example, we’ve seen people use the term brand strategy interchangeably with business and marketing strategy simply because a well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business.
However, there are clear distinctions between these concepts in reality as much as meeting points. According to Brand Matters, “a business or organisational strategy details a firm’s vision, mission and long-term objectives. The organisational objectives form the heart of the strategy. Once an organisation has signed off its brand strategy, it will need to create a marketing strategy and a marketing plan. Marketing strategy is shaped both by business strategy and brand strategy”.
Do I need a Brand Strategy? How will it benefit my business?
You might be wondering how creating a brand strategy will help your business. Of course, it’s normal to have doubts when you’re just starting. But, as time goes on, you’ll come to appreciate the importance of having a brand strategy in a competitive market.
A brand strategy benefits you in many ways, but essentially, the most significant advantage is that it helps you achieve your business objectives effortlessly. In other words, it is the framework you need for growth and profitability. According to a 2019 press release, about 77% of consumers would prefer to buy from companies that share the same values with them. How do your customers know you share their values? A carefully prepared brand strategy.
Having a brand strategy helps you define your purpose, saving you years of trial and error. In short, you have a lot to gain and everything to lose by not having a strategy.
Having read this far, the question on your lips must have changed from ‘what is a brand strategy’ to ‘how do I make one’. We have the answer!
5 Steps to creating a strong Brand Strategy
Creating a formidable brand is achievable if you know what to do. Not to worry, we’re here to help you gain some clarity. Let’s quickly go through the 5 basic steps you need to create a strong brand strategy.
1. Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Defining your USP is the first and most fundamental step towards building a solid brand. Your USP helps you stand out from other brands in your space. It’s your ‘why’ – why people should do business with you, why they should ditch your competitors for your services and why they should trust you. You need a clearly defined USP that you can succinctly communicate.
2. Define your brand personality
Every brand has a belief system that sets the tone for and influences its business operations. This belief system defines their brand personality and lays the foundation for long-term stability. To define your personality, you’ll have to identify your purpose, vision, mission, and values. This would allow you to create a thriving company culture and community necessary for your business success.
3. Articulate your brand messaging
It’s not enough to know what you want to say. How you say it also matters. That’s where crafting a unique brand message comes in. Whether you’re creating your tagline, slogan, or sales pitch, it’s important to develop something that’s truly unique to your brand. The ultimate goal of your message is to shape your audience’s perceptions of your brand, and your personality and tone of voice play a significant part in it.
4. Design your visual identity
Your visual identity helps you create a first impression. It comprises your logo, imagery, typography, colours, and creative design. A solid visual identity should reflect your purpose and create an instant connection with your audience. It needs to be defined enough for continuity and flexible enough to accommodate future adaptations, comprehensive, and intuitively designed.
5. Create your Brand Guidelines
Brand guidelines are where you keep the record of all the aforementioned steps so that all your employees and contractors can produce work in line with who you are. Having clear brand guidelines will enhance the quality of business operations and produce better outcomes for your business. Your guidelines should be comprehensive and cover all the crucial aspects of your brand strategy such as the values, tagline, logo, tone of voice, typography, imagery, colour, and iconography.
Now that you’ve learnt how to create a proper brand strategy, putting it into practice will help you in your mission to create a long-lasting brand.
If you need help improving your current brand strategies or you want a team of professionals to create an entirely new one, we’ll be happy to go over it with you.