Brand strategy refers to a long-term plan to win in a competitive situation. In business, it's about the moves you make to beat the competition and become a market leader in your category.
It may sound nebulous, but brand strategy is a process that is both established and repeatable. You can use it to multiply the effectiveness of your sales and marketing efforts, helping you to achieve your business growth goals.
To make this practical, anyone can use this repeatable process to guide branding efforts.
A Simple Brand Strategy Process
There are five basic steps in creating a stellar brand strategy.
Step 1: Research
Every branding exercise begins with conducting detailed research. A deep dive helps you understand your target audience and their needs, wants, and desires so that you can align your value propositions accordingly.
In terms of competitors, research helps you understand their market positions so you can craft a compelling one of your own.
Once you have established a comprehensive understanding of the target audience and competition, you can move on to the more creative elements of the branding process.
Step 2: Brand Identity
In this step, you must clarify your brand's higher-level ideals---the heart of your brand. In other words, who you are and what you stand for.
You will have to consider your brand positioning. Positioning refers to the unique space that your brand occupies in the minds of your customers. Consider it your 'lane' in the marketplace. You must determine what makes you different from your competitors and ensure that difference permeates your entire brand.
Next, you'll want to clarify your brand's voice and how to express your messaging across all platforms.
Consider elements such as:
Brand Essence (Personality, Character, Voice, Tone)
Step 3: Visual Identity
Appearances matter, and an image is worth a thousand words. During this step, you develop the visual representations of your brand. Your visual identity includes:
Step 4: Brand Style Guide
Once you have developed all of the elements, plus their expressions and representations, pull them together in an organized manner in a brand style guide (aka your brand bible). This document contains usage guidelines for all elements of the brand.
Step 5: Evolve According to Customer Feedback (Optional)
A brand is not static; it is a living, breathing thing. Over time, as new insights about customers reveal themselves, a brand can make slight shifts or incorporate additional components into the brand identity to better reflect who the brand is and what it stands for.
Although core values never change, they may be refined, distilled, or combined with new values.
Aligning Brand Strategy with Business Objectives
Since radical differentiation leading to increased awareness and sales are the goals, branding must align with business goals. To accomplish this, you must embed your branding efforts in the organization's DNA.
Specifically, branding must align with and enhance the overall business strategy, with full support from:
Define Your Brand
Branding is a foundational element of the business strategy if the business goal is to sell more products and services to customers at an ever-increasing margin.
The basics of brand strategy are simple, but the magic happens in the subtleties that, together, form a favourable perception in the customer's mind that drives solid business outcomes.
At Good Digital, we love talking about branding and creating memorable brands for our clients. Check out some of the work we've done for other organizations: https://www.gooddigital.ca/work