What IS a Brand Strategy?
What IS a Brand Strategy?
Simply put, a Brand Strategy is built on understanding where your business is and who you’re serving, knowing where you’re going long-term, and projecting all of that in how you present yourself through your branding – ie. the visuals and the tone of your messaging. Your brand strategy is about how you intend to transform your clients, and transform your business into the future too.
“This is exactly what good branding does — it inspires action, change, aspiration, or in some cases, gets your customers to fix something that ails them or change their minds. When your brand is an awesome experience, it literally transforms your users!” (- Marketing Land)
Your brand strategy needs to shine through all your messaging – whether that’s visual or written, or any other form your brand expresses itself.
A brand strategy is, like all good strategies, knowledge about your business in documented form.
Following your brand strategy religiously means your brand remains CONSISTENT. And consistency builds recognisability and trustworthiness.
So what should you include in such a document?
That’s principally determined by YOUR business and YOUR aims, but some areas to consider are:
What problem/s does my business solve?
This can be so much more than simply the “answer” to your client’s “problem”. Consider also your client’s ultimate aim – how can your solution point in them in the direction they want to go? Giving them this help so they can clearly see exactly what their next steps are can make the difference between a customer who is merely satisfied, and one who sings your praises.
You can also consider here the possibility of including other problem-solving aims that are outside your direct field – eg. you might choose eco-friendliness or social inequality issues as something to weave into what you do.
Who is my absolute ideal customer?
While your audience’s demographics are important, probably more important are their psychographics – what are their motivators? What are they trying to get away from and what are they striving towards, and why? How does your service or product fill that gap for them, and point them in the direction they want to go?
Who is my competition and how do I differentiate myself?
Yes, you should regularly check in on your competition, to ensure you’re across the latest developments in your field, and also to see how they relate to their audience which will be very similar to yours. This is not so you can copy, but to incorporate some of those ideas, to build on them and make them your own.
What/how does my brand make my audience feel?
Ultimately, THIS is what a brand is. Your brand should stand for something. It should feel like something – because this is what your audience responds to. Why buy a Gucci bag when a $5 one from Kmart will do the exact same job? It’s never just price alone.
Creating a community around your brand is another way to make your audience feel like they’re part of something bigger. Humans are, and always have been, social. We like hanging around other people who “get” us, and have similar likes, dislikes, and aims as us.
How do I create that all-important know/like/trust factor in my customers?
People need to have a certain level of trust in you before they’ll spend money with you. This is especially important if you’re going for the high-end market.
Consider your long-term strategies, as well as your short-term ones (eg. testimonials). Long-term strategies include providing lots of useful, free information on a regular basis, so that your audience can see you’re consistent and knowledgeable. Depending on what you’re offering, some (many) people don’t become paying customers for 2-3 years – I know, it’s happened to me.
What is the story behind why my brand was created?
Your brand’s story can not only be a great connector between you and your audience (everyone LOVES a great story and it makes you infinitely more relatable), but it’s also a fabulous guide and reminder to you as to where you’ve come from and what your ultimate goal is for your business.
If my brand was a person, what would their personality be like?
People relate to people – we’re social creatures, through and through. And we like who we like. So, the clearer we are on the personality of our brand, then the more relatable our brand becomes (and it also does the job of pushing away those who are really not right for us too. Hooray!).
What’s my brand’s ultimate mission and vision? And how do you define success in relation to that?
YOU know what you need to do here. Write it down.
When you’re clear on all of the above, and you have it all documented, THEN you can translate it all into its visual components (colours, fonts, image style, graphic style, logo) and the content and tone of your written messaging.
Regularly refer back to this document. It’ll keep your brand on track, and remind you of what you’re aiming for.
Your brand is NOT just a logo by itself. It’s not just a colour palette. It’s not any one thing by itself – it’s how you continue to show up in EVERYTHING.
As I said above, consistency builds recognisability and trustworthiness.
But as vital as remaining consistent is to your brand, you must also remain flexible too. Because the world changes, constantly. But being flexible doesn’t mean unconsidered.
If ever you feel the desire to change your brand, then you need to go back to the beginning of your brand strategy and think through all of it again, properly.
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