How to develop a brand strategy
Each of them has placed their companies in the minds of particular consumers – like you and me – through their unique positioning, messaging, personality, and feeling.
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BRAND STRATEGY MASTERCLASS
What’s a brand strategy for?
Brand strategy delivers specific goals and tactics to guide business decisions till creating that special emotional connection. It is the foundational piece for building a successful brand since it draws out:
This way, you create a coherent and consistent brand image in the customers’ hearts and minds. To make a brand strategy competitive, having yourself a strong knowledge base of branding is necessary.
As such, branding delivers a huge opportunity for a far more prosperous relationship with the target audiences. That depth and breadth of relationship, in turn, create significant economic value for the business in the long run.
Look at the success of strong brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, Adidas, or Samsung, who achieve a substantial premium in mergers and acquisitions. The power of those names is the proof of branding towards success.
Outline of a complete brand strategy
Step 1: Develop branding prerequisites
Identify the target audience: Who are you for?
Competitor analysis: Who are you against?
Digging deeper into your target audience group is just the first step of a long-term inter-departmental plan for a brand. Knowing your customers is not enough; you need to pay serious attention to your competitors.
One of the easiest ways to make a brand strategy is to learn from competitors, find out what makes them fail or succeed and modify your approach to compete. Most importantly, to become the best, you need to know who you’re competing with.
Step 2: Define your brand
You already gather enough information about your market, including the target market and the extent of competition. You’re ready for the 2nd step on how to make a brand strategy – Defining your brand.
By defining these things, you can open up possibilities to position your brand as a better version of competitors and give the audience a persuasive reason to pick you instead of other brands.
“To create and operate a national brand of value-oriented, business-travel hotels that deliver exceptional value to customers and superior profits to franchisees and investors.” (Candlewood Suites)
We can see a massive difference in how both brands deliver their value as well as define the development route. Of course, these statements are closely related to each brand’s objective.
Step 3: Establish the core brand attributes
Once you complete defining your internal brand, now is the time to devise a strategy of conveying your value and mission to the target audience through specific brand attributes.
Brand personality is a framework allowing an organization to shape how the target audience feels about its mission statement, products or services. It will entice positive actions of a specific consumer segment that benefit the firm.
By associating themselves with every moment you think of “Happiness,” Coca-Cola successfully builds a bubbly, friendly, and fun-loving persona in global consumers’ minds. Most importantly, this personality reflects exactly the spirit mentioned in Coca Cola’s mission statement:
Brand visual identity
The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of branding is regularly its logo, colors, typography, and other design elements. Thus, the brand’s visual identity is regularly known as the “face” of a brand.
As mentioned several times, a brand’s strength is determined by its consistency. This goes the same way with brand visual elements. In other words, a prominent visual identity should be purposeful, intuitive, and able to convey a brand’s personality.
Most professional bands will have a brand guideline that governs all the design and general look-and-feel of a brand. Its function is to guide and shape all brand content for logo, website, advertisement, and other marketing collateral in a consistent style.
Basically, Apple is a hardware and software manufacturer. Many companies can do exactly things like Apple in the world. But why does Apple still keep its role as a game-changer in the marketplace?
Though Apple doesn’t have an official mission statement on its website at the present, all its press releases, posts, brand voices & messages highlight a consistent brand personality.
Use your brand voice to share your brand’s history, challenges, successes, and value proposition – Things that differentiate your brand from competitors. Significantly, no other brand can copy yours.
Step 4: Analysis and Optimization
Still, depending on your customers’ reaction and the strategy’s effectiveness, you may need to change and modify your brand strategy that precisely fits customers’ insights. Understanding what’s working and what’s not to pivot, optimize and improve.
Elements of a Brand Strategy
|Sub-strategy||Goals and approach|
|Brand objective||Your vision, mission, and purpose. Why does your company exist and what impact will you have on your audience, community, or even the world?|
|Target audience||Speaking of your audience, who are they? What are their interests, needs, passions, and habits? Understanding them intimately is critical for your success – so don’t skimp on this.|
|Brand positioning||Carving out your slice of the market. What does it take for you to be a big deal in your audience’s life, and what strategies will you implement to get there?|
|Brand identity||What people see when they interact with your brand – your visual identity like logos and images, as well as your tone and voice, customer support, and reputation. Bonus points for storytelling that incorporates your brand objective in a meaningful way.|
|Marketing strategy||Playing the long-game, how will you communicate what you’re all about, in a way that your audience is actually receptive to? How will you build and nurture your customer relationships? This can include everything from social media to paid ads to email marketing .|
- Plan: This is the intel phase. Before you start your brand-building strategies, do your research to make sure you have a solid handle on the market, your specific niche, your competitors, and the roots for your marketing strategy.
- Build: Once you have a basic plan in place, dive into those brand-building steps. Create your brand identity, including your logo, color palette, and other visuals. Create your website, social channels, and other media through which you’ll execute your brand strategy plan.
- Execute: Marketing is the fuel for your brand engine. Launch your brand and fully utilize all the messaging strategies you planned and marketing channels you built. Don’t stop until … ever. Just don’t stop.
Do Your Research
Create an Awesome Brand Identity
During your research phase, it’s basically impossible to not get inspired with ideas for your own brand identity. That’s why we recommend dipping your toes into the market before making any final decisions over your identity and aesthetic.
Color palette: Pick three to five colors, and stick to them for all of your branding and marketing materials. This will help to solidify brand recognition. Oh, and don’t forget about color psychology to set the mood.
Photos and art: In the world of online shopping, killer visuals are key. If you’re dropshipping, take awesome gorgeous product photos . Set the stage with lighting, imagery, models, and accessories, and then carry those themes throughout.
Storytelling: Emotion goes a long way. Create a bond with your customers by giving them your backstory. How did the brand start? What are your values and mission? Your dreams and promises? Get personal.
A beautiful website: Please don’t send people to a glitchy, slow, or sketchy website. This is exponentially more important for an ecommerce business, where your site is your backbone. One study showed that 94 percent of respondents have rejected or mistrusted a site based on the web design alone … don’t be that site.
Develop an Actionable Marketing Plan
Social media marketing: The world – and all its online shoppers – are at your fingertips with platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and more. In addition to organic posting, try paid tactics like influencer marketing and social media ads .
Content marketing: This is a big deal. Technically, every product video you create, social media post you make, email you send, or blog post you publish is content marketing. When you use content marketing best practices to pull customers through your sales funnel, it can be massively impactful.
Email marketing: Email marketing is yet another effective tool for your sales funnel. One study found that email is 40 times more effective at helping companies acquire new customers than Twitter or Facebook. It’s powerful stuff.
Be Reliable and Trustworthy
Consistency is key. Don’t start out with haute couture branding and then veer left field into soccer mom chic territory. Likewise, don’t use deeply emotional messaging and switch to sarcasm and jokes.
Before making any merchandising, branding, or marketing decisions, ask yourself – Is this in line with my branding strategy? Does it “fit” with everything else and enhance the narrative I started?
In addition to keeping your branding and messaging consistent, it’s also critical that you keep all the promises you make. If you offer shipping in one week, those packages better darn well get there in one week.
Creating a Brand Strategy: Examples to Inspire You
Target audience focus: Mollyjogger
You can see this profound understanding of the brand’s audience in virtually every aspect of its brand identity – from the deep forest greens and river blues in their color palette, to the fun and adventurous brand fonts, to the lifestyle photography that showcases their products in action.
You can’t beat the personal touch of that red station wagon packed to the brim with camping equipment. The type of vehicle alone is a clear example that their audience lives a more humble lifestyle that leans away from luxury and more toward rugged.
Brand storytelling: Tropical Sun
It connects “the UK’s thriving ethnic communities” back to their culture and brings them together. Humanizing the brand is so much more powerful than any generic list of health benefits or product quality.
Cohesive marketing: Harper Wilde
Right off the bat, you can see that Harper Wilde donates a portion of profits to The Girl Project , an initiative that puts girls through primary school. The owners also work with a manufacturer that strives to empower Sri Lankan women.