A brand strategy is essential to successful marketing. If you fail to work it out properly, you risk losing all the investments in your business. Learn What is Brand Strategy and What’s Included in our article.
Have you ever wondered what makes great brands great? Their product, customer service, or pricing? Well, this isn’t quite true. Legendary brands have a solid back-up – a strong brand strategy.
That means that before choosing a branding agency or brand strategist or investing a fortune in graphic design services, brands need to work out a plan for how they will deliver their message and product to an audience. Think about outstanding brands that are ultimately associated with leaders – Apple, for example. Why do we consider it one of the best tech companies in the world, let alone in the USA?
The answer is simple: Apple is more than just smartphones and laptops. The company poses itself as an innovator that brings advanced technologies to ordinary life. Its aim is to create innovative gadgets with a simple interface so that all users enjoy leading technologies.
This is reflected in Apple’s branding: monochrome colors (predominantly white and black shades) are everywhere, from packaging to the website. This is complemented by the iconic apple-shaped logo, which is easily recognized. It seems to be pretty simple, but simplicity lies in the heart of the company. Therefore, this is one of the examples of successful branding in USA and the world.
What’s Brand Strategy?
Everyone would love to repeat the success of Apple, which accounts for not only innovations but also the brand strategy. So, what does brand strategy mean? If we are to refer to its definition, it’s a long-term inter-department plan that is primarily focusing on achieving pre-defined business goals.
It means that the brand strategy affects all business functions in order to improve financial performance, customer experience, and competitive advantage. Companies with a well-developed brand strategy have an outlined business blueprint that states what makes the brand unique: its mission, goals, and the ways of transitioning them to an audience.
While it may seem like no challenge to define brand goal and mission and determine communication patterns, in reality, it is. The thing is, business needs to be authentic to win over consumers. In fact, more than 85 percent of people claim that brand authenticity defines whether they support a brand or not, according to Stackla’s survey.
With this in mind, faking brand values can cost you a lot. The majority of customers can abandon you in favor of honest and transparent competitors if they notice you lying about your core principles.
Now that you know how brand strategy affects the brand, you hardly want to hurry up and make up fake values. However, it doesn’t mean that you can launch a business until you are sure about your principles. Some of them change with time, which is a normal pace of life. Brands adjust their strategies by turning to partial rebranding when they realize that their mission has changed. Therefore, you should set up the vision, which is the core, in the beginning. Everything else can be figured out along the way.
What Does Brand Strategy Include?
We have already mentioned that a brand strategy affects all business activities. However, to get a better understanding, let’s dive a bit deeper and find out what it includes. Basically, there are six core aspects you need to define.
The sub-strategy covers the goals and approaches. At this stage, a brand should develop what it wants to achieve. This will serve as the North Star as the purpose of branding is to reach specific business goals.
This step is about defining who you are and why you exist. You should be clear about your vision, mission, and values. Start with the vision as it shapes the other two aspects. The ultimate goal of this stage is to determine what value your brand brings to the world and society.
Today, consumers want to see brands as living organisms that also have their position. Long gone are the times when companies were perceived as machines for collecting cash. In order to win your audience, you will have to show it that you are worthy: not only in terms of high-quality products but also in terms of social contribution. After all this, do you need any reasons why brand strategy is important?
In order to find an approach to a person, you need to know him: his interests, values, and beliefs. The same works in business. Define who your audience is and describe it. For this, you will need to carry out solid research. However, skipping this step undermines your chances for success.
Now that you know what you stand for and who your audience is, it’s time to connect the dots. You need to carve out your market share. Here you should answer the following brand strategy questions:
- How can you become meaningful to your audience?
- What strategies are to be implemented to win your market share?
Brand identity is about your look, or in other words, what people see when they interact with your brand. However, this isn’t limited to visuals like a logo design only. This also includes your voice and tone, customer support, and, of course, reputation.
If you wonder how to develop brand strategy and transition it to the audience, you should align all the touchpoints to the first elements of the brand strategy. This will help you to make a solid first impression wherever you interact with consumers. For example, it takes only around 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion about your website. That’s why it should be branded and consistent with other branding elements.
When speaking about marketing strategy, brands should determine how and through which channels they will communicate with the audience. Moreover, you should think through how to nurture your relationships with customers and make them loyal brand-ambassadors.
The message of tune to the masses plays a determining role. After all, what is brand strategy in advertising? It’s transitioning your values to customers by choosing relevant channels and the right ways of content presentation.
How to Build a Successful Brand Strategy?
The value of a brand strategy for small businesses, as well as large corporations, is the same. It allows a company to be something more than just, for instance, a retail marketplace. Although there are many ways to learn brand strategy basics and implement them after, theory alone can’t deliver an outstanding outcome.
To ease your journey around branding, we have prepared some useful tips that will help to establish a truly successful brand strategy.
Define Your Value
It goes without saying that the main purpose of any business is to make a profit. However, to drive income, you need to reach the audience. And the audience will come to you if it gains something from this.
Think about what value you can offer. Define how your product, service, or overall business activity helps society on the whole and individuals in particular. Soul-searching can be hard, but it’s an indispensable part on the way to authenticity.
Consider the Environment
You don’t exist in a vacuum. Out there, on the market, there are many more brands, probably even with similar offers. You need to determine here two things:
- Your uniqueness
- Market trends.
This will help you to maintain an up-to-date offer and highlight your exclusiveness. Moreover, you should explore the competitors’ SEO activity. In fact, branding and SEO are connected not only in terms of the presentation of your website but also in terms of SEO brand awareness. The thing is that Google tracks how frequently users look for a particular brand: it affects the order that the sites appear in organic search results.
Set SMART Objectives
Although it’s more about start-up hype, the approach is really working. This implies that your goals should be:
When setting up the goals, don’t focus solely on financial results. Consider strategic areas as well. For example, you can focus on increasing a market share at a certain timeframe or work on how consumers perceive you.
Why can’t we stop highlighting the importance of consistent presentation? Because it primarily affects your income. According to a survey by Lucidpress, brands with consistent presentation increased their revenue by 33 percent.
First of all, this is driven by enhanced brand awareness: consumers know and recognize you. Secondly, it’s how professionally it looks. Remember, everyone only wants to deal with professionals only.
How to define brand strategy that will keep performing for years? Probably, it’s an impossible task. The key to success is monitoring performance and making adjustments if necessary. Changes are inevitable, and you should remain flexible and respond timely.
Any business that wants to prosper in the long-term and make a difference in its niche should allocate a lot of resources for the sake of a successful brand strategy. Otherwise, you risk to be remembered as a mediocre company – or you may not be remembered at all. Do you have a brand strategy? Was it a challenge to set it up?
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If you’re looking to learn more about brand strategy, we highly recommend eRESONAID with our friend and acclaimed brand strategist and author Fabian Geyrhalter, it’s packed full of knowledge and insights you will need to learn to become a brand strategist or apply what you learn within your own business.
This article was written by Anthony Kreychmar from Lasting Trend, a digital marketing and SEO agency in New York