Despite the fact that having a written brand strategy is very important and beneficial, not every company has one.
In a sense, this is understandable. If you’ve puzzled Google with a search for information on brand strategy at least once, you’ve definitely found hundreds of different lists, charts, and different ideas on what should and shouldn’t be included in a brand strategy.
If you’re ready to create a brand strategy but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place. I created a simplified structure with step-by-step instructions on how to optimize this process and make it as simple as possible.
1. Assessment of basic brand identity
Your base personality is the essence of your brand (and brand strategy). This is your vision, which is a symbiosis of your company’s values, mission, and goals.
- Vision: why your company exists
- Mission: what your company is trying to achieve
- Values: how you are guided to achieve your goals
It is possible that you already have a similar “manifesto” in the form of generalized ideas forgotten in the far drawer of your desk or an entire petition engraved on the floor of your lobby. Review with your team what you have outlined to decide how relevant and true your statements are.
It will also be useful to conduct a “revision” of the current communication with the target audience – do your messages convey the true essence of your brand? Which thought should be developed and which one should be abandoned altogether?
2. Analysis of the target audience. Ideal client portrait
In order to draw up a portrait of an ideal client, draw up demographic and psychographic maps of potential clients: who they are, where they work, what worries them, what their goals and problems are.
It is an essential element of a brand’s strategy. If you do not know who you are addressing, your message will not stand out among millions of others or will not reach the addressee at all.
However, creating a customer profile doesn’t just mean collecting demographic data. The goal is to understand what motivation is behind people’s decisions and what goals they pursue when becoming your customers.
3. Market research and competitive analysis
To help you properly identify your brand and position it accordingly, you need to understand your level compared to your competitors. Find out with the products or services of which companies your customers are comparing you. Like if you want to brand environmentally conscious items, then you should do proper market research and competitive analysis. Very often these are not the brands that you yourself consider competitors.
Analyze your strengths and weaknesses to determine which qualities can help you attract more customers and for which market segment they are most important.
Based on this information, you can move on to the next stage of building your brand strategy.
Stage 2: Personality
Having clarified your positions, you need to start the most difficult job – to define and formulate who you are, what you do, and how to communicate about it.
1. Formation (or improvement) of basic personality
Based on an assessment of your brand’s basic personality, you need to come to a consensus about what you want to communicate about your vision, mission, and values. This is what reminds your team of who you are and for what purpose you exist. It is a compass that helps you make the right decisions and walk in the right direction.
Without this clarity, building a strong brand is impossible.
Again, clearly articulate and write down on paper:
- Vision: why your company exists;
- Mission: what your company is doing and what it is striving for;
- Values: how you achieve your goals.
Make sure these elements of your brand identity are clearly defined and properly articulated.
2. Brand positioning
Your brand positioning is what makes you visible in the market, how you differentiate yourself from your competitors, and who cares the most.
Here you need to put together all the components:
- Your main difference is what you do better than others.
- Identify the type of people for which your main differences are most important.
- Key Benefits – Turn the best you can give your customers into the benefits they get.
- Create a sales proposal. Communicate to the consumer the value of getting all the benefits – both material and emotional. Prove why you solve their problem more effectively than your competitors.
- Mark your place in the market – what you do best, in what industry and for whom you do it.
It is important for your team to have a clear understanding of where you are, especially in the areas of leadership, sales, and marketing, as these efforts are designed to strengthen your position.
The slogan expands and strengthens the position of your brand. Sometimes it becomes a kind of interpretation of your company’s values. Chances are, your slogan will complement both your position and value. The perfect balance is yin-yang.
Stories about the creation and development of your brand have special meaning. They inspire your team to create new original content, adapt your messages for the correct perception by various groups of people, the media, etc.
Every element of communication, from your blog posts to your employee-focused content, needs to reflect your communication style in some way. Bring it out, polish it to a shine and stick to it by all means.
Stage 3: Implementation
Once you figure out who you are and what your brand story is, your challenge changes course. Now you need to convey this very story as effectively as possible, in particular through marketing.
Formation of brand strategy
Brand strategy should give you and your team a clear understanding of how you will develop your brand. To do this, she must answer three main questions:
1. Who is our brand for?
Your brand strategy should include a detailed description of your target audience: demographic and psychographic characteristics of potential customers.
Who are these people, what are their goals, fears, and experiences? How can you make their lives better?
2. What channels will we use to communicate with the audience, developing our brand?
Communication channels are most often determined by the audience itself. You shouldn’t try to impose your communication method on your target audience. Better go where your audience already exists. For example, if you conduct an event for your sportswear business branding, then you can design custom running shirts for your event to convey the right meaning to the audience.
Decide through which channels you can best communicate with your audience. Social networks, instant messengers, media sites, or conferences?
Also, based on the characteristics of your audience, determine the tone of communication. What is the best vocabulary and voice to use when shaping a marketing or advertising campaign?
Strict and formal or youthful with slang?
3. What do we want our audience to associate our brand with?
As I said before, a brand is a collection of emotions that people get when they see your logo, view ads, or use products.
Your brand strategy should clearly define how you see your brand in 5-10 years from now. What words and things will he associate with? What image do you want to create?
Anchor the brand mission and core brand values in your brand strategy to guide you in achieving your goals.
Accordingly, a comprehensive brand strategy includes two components:
1. Brand book: Your brand identity
Your brand book is the fruit of all the work you’ve done so far.
This guide will now guide you like a compass, pointing out the direction in which to develop your brand, especially in terms of content and communication. This is especially important if you work with freelancers or external contractors.
Your brand book should contain comprehensive instructions so that anyone who starts to rely on it for work will make the brand stronger, not weaken it.
Remember, brand strength is determined by consistency or lack thereof.
Checklist of guidelines for creating a brand book.
It includes both visual and verbal identity:
- Brand positioning
- Value proposition
- Voice and tone of communication with the audience
- Fonts and typography
- Data visualization
- Interactive elements
- Video materials
2. Content strategy
There are different views on the relationship between brand strategy and content strategy. Some argue that these are different things, while others insist that these are two components of one whole.
The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between.
I prefer to view content strategy as an integral part of the entire brand strategy. They are in a bundle. Brand strategy defines marketing goals, and marketing goals define content strategy.
The content you create (of course, according to the brand book) is how you attract people, rather than aggressively implanting your products and services. Your content strategy determines how you share your brand with others.
This is why having a written content strategy is so important. It improves the company’s vision and guarantees brand promotion.
If you have the impression that all this is difficult and impractical for your business, you are mistaken. In our time, competition is high in absolutely all industries. And if in the old-fashioned way you assume that “it will somehow work without it”, I hasten to disappoint you – it will not work. Not in this world and not in this case.
A good brand strategy will ensure consistency and consistency in your marketing and advertising campaigns. This, in turn, will help build a strong brand in the long run.