Many mistakenly believe that branding strategies are limited to the creation of great company logos or memorable taglines. This is a huge misconception.
In reality, your brand is a combination of all the elements that make you different from your competitors. Your visual identity, your messaging, and your customer experience all contribute to your brand’s success. Not to mention the perceptions people have of your company, including all the emotions and thoughts they associate with it.
How then do you build a brand strategy for your business? What are the effective steps to take, and the factors to consider?
This article will answer these questions and more.
WHAT IS BRAND STRATEGY?
Brand strategy is an outline of specific long-term goals which can be achieved in the development of a successful brand. It is the combination of these elements that makes your company identifiable.
A brand strategy well defined and executed is closely related to the needs of consumers, emotions, and the competitive environment.
Firstly, one of the biggest misconceptions relating to brand strategy is that your brand is just your logo, your website, your product, or your company name.
Truth be told, your brand symbolizes more than just that. It’s the things that feel intangible. It is the ethereal quality that separates superlative brands from the average ones.
In order to help you master what many marketers consider to be a bit of an art, and less of a science, we have outlined some steps you should take for an effective brand strategy that can help keep your business sustainable for years to come.
STEPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE BRAND STRATEGY
FIND YOUR PURPOSE
Branding is often seen as confusing or insignificant to many of the top-level executives because it is difficult to see tangible results. Operating without an established brand strategy will lead you to accept anything.
Even small businesses can be at risk of failure when they do this. An organization without a brand lacks a defined purpose. Without a clear purpose, a business lacks the capability to differentiate itself from its competitors.
There are various ways to define and identify the purpose and mission of your brand.
RESEARCH AND COMPARE
It is a bad idea to build a brand strategy within a bubble. When analyzing how your competitors and other businesses engage with your audience, it is important to determine how they brand themselves.
You understand that you cannot be a copycat. What you can learn, though, is how your competition approaches branding, how their audience responds to different tactics, and even what tactics they do not use. Studying established brands will provide both creative inspiration and strategic insights that will help you separate yourself from the competition.
The key to ensuring consistency is refraining from mentioning things that do not relate to your brand or do not enhance it. Do not add new photos, videos, blog links, captions that do not relate to your band on your business’ website or social media pages. Posting random unrelated information will put your brand identity all over the place and confuse your customers.
By ensuring that all of your messaging is cohesive, you provide a platform for your brand to stand on. Consistency leads to brand recognition, which ultimately inspires customer loyalty.
TREAT YOUR BUSINESS LIKE A PERSON
Each individual has a unique personality, as does every business. In either case, however, not all personalities will stand out. To avoid branding that is easily forgotten, it can be helpful to imagine your business in the form of a person.
Ask yourself: If I were my business, what type of person would I be? What are the characteristics that will make me memorable, appealing, and able to influence others? How would people describe my voice, style, and tone?
This exercise will assist you to visualize the characteristics that you want to emphasize in your brand strategy and how best to accomplish that.
EXCEPTIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE AND EXPERIENCE
Customer satisfaction is the constant equalizer between businesses. Sure, competitors may offer the same products and services at a considerably lower price, but if they treat their clients poorly or fail to take care of small but important details, it won’t matter. People are willing to pay a little more for better service or a better experience.
Plus, satisfied consumers can act as mini brand ambassadors for your business by promoting your products and services to their friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances.
Lastly, your brand begins with you, but ultimately, it is determined by the perception of the consumer, and the actions they take or do not take, as a result. By shaping your brand purposefully, you can enhance the perception and response of your audience, as well as boost your advertising.
No matter how large or small your business or company may be, making your brand strategy a priority will pay off in a number of ways. Do you wish to strengthen your relationships with your audience, gain a greater reputation, gain more exposure, and increase revenue? If so, dedicate time and effort to this important aspect of your business plan.