The Internet is a fast-paced, digitally driven society that offers convenience and instant gratification. This makes the human touch less valuable.
Businesses cannot afford to remain faceless entities. Businesses must connect with their audience on a deeper level to be competitive and different. This is where brand strategy comes in to play.
If you are looking for actionable steps to build a brand through strategy, this article will be a great reference.
We need to understand the problems surrounding brand strategy. Let’s start by defining some basics.
- Brand building
These terms aren’t new to marketing. Many business owners get so involved in their day that they forget to consider how their brands are developing in the minds of consumers.
What is a Brand?
Many businesses consider themselves brands. Many businesses use the term “Brand” for their mission statements towards customers and the communities. Let’s look at some examples of mission statements for large brands.
- “By creating joyful moments through our delicious, nourishing products and unrivaled brand experiences” (Pepsico’s statement)
- “The Adidas Groups strives for global leadership in the sporting goods sector…We are committed continuously to strengthening our brands, products to improve our competitive positioning” (Adidas statement)
What exactly does “brand” mean?
The perception of a business by its customers is what defines a brand. It is basically how customers perceive a company and what they do to it in the market.
What is brand building?
The process of building a brand is when a company generates awareness through direct strategies and campaigns. It can be done in three phases.
- Brand strategy: Define the brand’s unique attributes, characteristics, and values so that the marketing department can come up with a cohesive decision to grow and compete in the long-term.
- Brand identity: Define what your business looks like to consumers and distinguish yourself from others using the brand’s visual identity (logo color, website design, contents, packaging, etc.).
- Marketing your brand: How to increase exposure of your business’s brand to the community.
Brand building is a complex task that takes time and requires patience. It can take months or years to create a brand image that is lasting in the marketplace.
Brand vs. Brand Building
A brand is not just a logo and product. It’s all the tangible attributes of the business. It is the company’s overall reputation (the intangible asset). It connects emotions to the audience.
Although we can’t control everything, people will think of us. Businesses can influence the perception of their brand in consumers’ minds by using specific tangible attributes such as visuals, messaging and products.
This is a sign that you are in the early stages of building your brand and are ready to grow.
Definition of brand strategy
Brand strategy is the ultimate goal in brand building. It describes how customers feel about a company. These three aspects will help to establish a feeling connection.
- How products/services of the business can help solve the problems of the customers they are targeting
- What makes business solutions different from other competitors on the market?
- What that value proposition can do for audiences is make them feel connected
Brand strategy, in a nutshell, is how a company creates value for customers. It includes everything buyers know, feel, and experience about the brand.
Brand building is a key factor in ensuring that businesses succeed long-term, even when products aren’t the only thing consumers care most about.
What is a brand strategy?
A good brand can tap into the emotional and self expressive benefits that are sought by the target audience.
The brand strategy is a set of specific goals and tactics that guide business decisions until creating that special emotional connection. Because it draws out:
- The brand objective of a business: What the company wants to be in consumers’ eyes
- Detail tactics: What marketing strategies and tactics can a company use to achieve its goals?
You will create a consistent and coherent brand image that customers will remember. A solid knowledge of branding is essential to make your brand strategy more competitive.
What is a brand strategy?
Branding offers a great opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your target audience. This relationship creates significant economic value for the company over the long-term because it is deep and broad.
You can also cultivate loyal fans through well-designed brand strategies.
Take a look at the strength of brands such as Coca-Cola and Apple, Adidas, and Samsung. They are able to achieve significant premiums in mergers or acquisitions. These brands are the best examples of branding that leads to success.
A complete brand strategy outline
It can be hard to create a brand strategy. You can still create a brand strategy by answering four questions.
- What is your brand’s identity?
- What promises does your brand make to customers and the local community?
- What personality do you want your brand to portray through its marketing campaigns?
- What do you want to make your brand stand out from the rest?
Your brand strategy must include four elements in order to reach the answers to the above questions.
- Brand value (purpose/vision/mission)
- Research on competitors
- Target audience
- Brand attributes (Brand voice and message, story)
Three steps to create a brand strategy
Let’s now dive into the actionable steps needed to create a brand strategy.
Step 1: Create branding requirements
Identify your target audience. Who are you targeting?
It is crucial to understand the needs and wants of customers. During the economic downturn of the late 19th century, we can clearly see the power shift between customer and brand.
You need to identify your target market. This will help you create a comprehensive and practical brand strategy.
Some demographic factors:
- Gender and age
- Their income and occupations
- The lifestyle and geographical location of the target audience
- Principal interests
- Potential for purchasing
It is important to be specific. You can better understand your target market and unlock their emotional connection by being more specific.
Answering the question is most important:
- What do your customers want? – What are their pain points and challenges?
- What can you do then to solve the problems of your target customers?
To nurture your brand image properly, you need to do careful market research.
Customers-centricity is what makes brands successful.
Analysis of competitors: Who are your opponents?
It is only the beginning of a long-term, inter-departmental strategy for a brand. It is not enough to know your customers; you must also pay attention to your competition.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are your direct competitors?
- Which branding strategies are they using?
- How successful are your competitors’ branding strategies?
- Their strength and their weakness
- What are the areas where you can do better than your competition (Products and customer service, distribution, selling prices, etc.
- What makes you different from other brands? It is what makes people care about your brand.
Learning from your competitors is a great way to create a brand strategy. Learn what they do well and adapt your approach to win. You must know your competition to be the best.
Step 2: Define your brand
You have already gathered enough information about your market including the target market and extent of competition. Now you are ready to move on to the second step of creating a brand strategy: Defining your brand.
This phase is where you must create a strong foundation for your brand. Let’s start with these 4 points.
- Brand Purpose (Answering to the Why question): This is the core reason your business exists, apart from revenue
- Brand Vision (Answering to the What question): Let us know where you are going and what position we want to be in the future.
- Brand Mission (Answering to the How question): A brief statement about your brand’s purpose and how it can help create that future
- Brand Values: What principles guide your behavior?
These things can help you position your brand as a superior version of competitors. They also give your audience a compelling reason to choose you over other brands.
Step 3: Establish the core brand attributes
After you have defined your internal brand, it is time to create a strategy to communicate your mission and value to your target audience using specific brand attributes.
To reach your target audience in real life, visualize them as specific attributes.
- Personality of the brand
- Voice of the brand
- Brand visual (logo and tagline)
- Brand Store & Message
Every aspect of the personality, voice, message and visual should be consistent with the mission statement.
Your communication and display of these brand values within your organization will determine whether or not you get a positive response to your initial message.
Personality of the brand
A brand personality is a framework that allows an organization to influence the feelings of its target audience about its mission, products, or services. It will encourage positive actions from a particular consumer segment to benefit the company.
You need to be able to successfully project your brand personality
- Find and develop the characteristics of your business that appeal to your audience.
- You can create a consistent brand personality by focusing on the right characteristics. This will be powerful enough to attract an emotional connection with customers.
A brand personality should be attractive and reflect the values of its audience.
Let’s look at Coca-Cola for an example!
Coca-Cola has succeeded in creating a positive, fun-loving personality among global consumers by associating them with the word “Happiness” every time they think of it. This personality is a reflection of the spirit that Coca Cola has stated in its mission statement.
“To revive the world’s mind, body and spirit, to instill moments of optimism, happiness, and create value, and make a positive difference.”
Voice of the brand
The importance of brand personality is similar to the importance and role of the brand voice. It’s how you convey your brand attributes to external audiences.
A strong brand voice will:
- Make sure that the tone and grammar of the voice, as well as word choices, are consistent. This will help you deliver the brand message effectively.
- Relevant and appealing to the characteristics of the target audience group
- Make sure that the brand personality is consistent across all communications with the outside world. Help build brand equity
You can differentiate yourself from others by creating a consistent brand voice and empowering the brand value in all of your messages and content.
Visual identity for brands
When most people think about branding, the first thing they think of is its logo, colors and typography. The brand’s visual identity is often referred to as its “face”.
Brand identity typically includes 6 components
- Color palette
- Image style
Consistency is a key factor in determining a brand’s strength, as we have said many times. The same applies to brand visual elements. This means that a brand’s visual identity must be clear, concise, and easy to understand.
Professional bands have a brand guideline. This guides the brand’s design and overall look. It is responsible for guiding and forming all brand content, including logos, websites, advertisements, and any other marketing collateral, in a consistent style.
Referring to the brand guide by Spotify will allow you to imagine the structure and purpose of a complete brand guideline.
What is Apple? This question is strange because Apple is so popular among smartphone users, with products such as the iPhone, iMac and Macbook.
Apple, by definition, is a technology company that produces digital devices and develops software and services.
Apple is basically a hardware and software company. There are many companies that can do the same things as Apple around the globe. Why is Apple still a market leader?
Apple has been telling its customers a story for years through its brand strategy. Here’s what Apple is:
- A company that creates products that improve the world
- There is no other company that sells products at low prices than this one
- This brand is unique because of its commitment to excellence, innovation and quality. Modern beauty is the definition of it all
Apple does not currently have a mission statement on its website, but all of its press releases and posts, brand voices, messages, and brand voices highlight its consistent brand personality.
To tell your story, you don’t need to be a huge company like Apple. Apple’s success took 40 years.
Your brand voice can be used to tell your brand’s story, achievements, and value proposition. This will help you stand out from your competitors. Your brand is unique in that no other brand can duplicate it.
Step 4: Analysis, Optimization
These are the most important steps to take to create a brand strategy that is competitive. Your brand’s backbone will lead your brand to the top of the market.
Depending on the reaction of your customers and the effectiveness of your strategy, you might need to modify and change your brand strategy so that it is more in line with their needs. You need to understand what is working and what isn’t so you can pivot, optimize, and improve.
It’s time to transform your business into a brand
It’s no longer enough to offer customers the best solution in your niche. We all live in a competitive marketplace filled with thousands of other competitors and millions of new content every day.
While the internet has made marketing easier by making it more accessible, it also makes it harder for brands to stand out. If your ultimate goal is sustainable growth, it’s crucial to create a brand strategy.