4 min read
You know all about branding. You understand the value it adds to your business and why you should invest in it. In fact, you see branding as the key to gaining a competitive edge. But how do you make it work for your business? How do you put that branding knowledge into practice to get results? Well, it all starts with your brand strategy.
What is brand strategy, you ask? It’s the how behind the what. In other words, it’s the plan that helps you convey what your brand is all about — consistently. To this end, it ties everything together to make your brand come to life in the eyes of the consumers: your content, your culture, and your core business.
Basically, your brand strategy is the engine that puts your branding efforts to work. But let’s go beyond the brand strategy definition and see how you can get started.
Why should you activate your brand strategy?
It is almost a cliché to state that establishing a strong brand presence is essential. Every business is acutely aware of this notion. But very few have established the principles that, when put into action, will maximize the potential of their branding efforts. Truth is, it’s all in the brand strategy.
Yet defining a comprehensive brand strategy is not an easy endeavor. Not when there is never enough time or resources to keep up with ever-growing customer expectations. But this is exactly why you need to make brand strategy your top priority — to make sure that your brand beliefs are always aligned with your business goals. After all, customer expectations are always going to change. Your brand should not.
This is particularly important with the rise of the omnichannel approach that is shaping the customer experience today. New media channels and platforms are emerging every quarter. And the customer is always right there. So every message, every visual, every story should be aligned with your brand — at every touchpoint.
In spite of all the variables that will impact your brand journey, your brand strategy should be built to last. It might take time, resources, and commitment, but it will never lead you astray in the face of constant change.
Brand Strategy — Get Started in 1-2-3
A brand strategy should be as unique as the brand itself. But at the heart of each brand strategy framework lies these 3 steps that act as a foundation to your brand strategy template.
Step 1: Know Your Space
Understand your target audience and identify your competitors. You need to respond to your customers’ needs and you need to do it better. To this end, you should zoom in on your competitors and identify gaps in their offering. You can use this knowledge to communicate your brand offering.
Step 2: Define Who You Are
In short, identify what you stand for — your principles, values, and beliefs. These elements clarify who you are and should inform your business goals moving forward. With a solid set of values, you can easily forge communities around your brand and create a sense of identity.
Step 3: Express Yourself
Once you know who you are, share it — and make sure it resonates. To this end, you need to craft your brand personality and determine how you want to express and talk about who you are. Most customers resonate with a relatable brand, so don’t overlook the human touch. Once you’ve established your personality, you can get started on your tagline, logo, color palette, font, messages, and other elements.
The Benefits of Putting Brand Strategy First
Your brand strategy is important and its benefits extend to all areas of the business — on your brand image, your customer base, and ultimately, your position in the market. Let’s zoom in on the possible outcomes.
1. Consolidate Your Brand Identity
A lot of businesses perceive their brand identity through their product offering. But it’s more than that. A good brand strategy can help you refine who you are as a business and use this knowledge to inform your decisions across the organization.
Ultimately, your brand strategy will help you grapple with all the tough questions: Who are you? What is your promise? What do you stand for? How do you contribute to the lives of your customers and employees? Where does your value reside? What risks are you exposed to?
2. Communicate Your Brand Consistently across Channels
In business, as in all walks of life, seeing is believing. But if your brand image is inconsistent across channels, believing could easily turn into disbelieving. A strong brand strategy could help you avoid this because it acts as a blueprint for everything that you put in front of your audience — be it blog posts, social media presence, or customer service.
Once you establish your brand strategy, you are well on your way to creating content that not only informs, but forges emotional connections with your customers
3. Turn Customers into Brand Champions
Customers don’t just buy products. They are looking for authentic brands that resonate with their own values. If those values cascade across your business — from the leaders to the workforce — that’s when you turn customers into brand champions. But to align these values across the business, you need a brand strategy.
And it pays off — once you have a loyal customer base, your brand is set for growth. In fact, 90% of customers consider themselves to be brand loyal. So use your brand strategy to make sure your values are reflected across channels and keep customers coming back
4. Gain a Competitive Edge
Each business is struggling for competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded market. That’s why working with a solid brand strategy can help you answer one key question: Why should people choose me over the competition?
Once you understand where your value resides, your business is poised for growth. Why? Because you can easily communicate those differences to your audience and help them understand what you’re all about.
From Brand Strategy to Business Growth
Your brand strategy development might be difficult to formulate, but it’s setting the pathway to future business interactions. And a solid brand strategy will never lead you astray.
That’s why it’s time to build your own brand strategy — a clear headed approach to enhancing your market presence and helping your business grow. Once you’ve put in the initial effort, you will have the guiding principles that will eventually engage an entire brand ecosystem, from your workforce to your customers.
Whether you want to grasp the basics of branding for your new business, want to work on your brand strategy, are stuck with your brand visuals or want to find branding tips on how to grow your business, check out:
- Foundations — Learn the basics of branding
- Strategy — Plan your brand strategy
- Build Story — Build a brand 1: Your brand story
- Build Visuals — Build a brand 2: Your brand visuals
- Management — Control your brand: Brand management
- Growth — Grow your brand: Brand marketing
- Improvement — Improve your brand: The rebrand
- Measurement — Measure your brand: Brand analytics and KPIs