How does your business show up to the world? How will people remember your business when they come across it?
The answers to these questions lie at the core of your brand strategy. If you can’t answer them, then it’s probably safe to say you do not have a clearly developed brand strategy for your business.
The good news? By the end of this blog, you’re going to understand the following about brand strategy: what it is, how it differs from (yet works with) marketing strategy, why it’s important to your business and how to create one.
What is a Brand Strategy?
Simply put, a brand strategy is like having a long-term plan for how to show your business to the world. It helps you make sure people understand what your business does and why it’s special. It also helps people remember your business and feel good about it.
To get a little technical, a brand strategy is the blueprint for developing your brand to ensure that it is well-positioned in the marketplace. It outlines your company’s mission, goals and values, so you can successfully keep your message consistent and build relationships with your target audience.
The Key Elements of a Brand Strategy
A solid brand strategy has several key elements, including:
- Brand Positioning: This is the process of determining how you want your brand to be perceived by your target audience. It involves understanding your target audience, your competition and your own unique value proposition.
- Brand Messaging: This involves creating a consistent message that communicates the benefits and values of your brand to your target audience.
- Brand Identity: This is the visual representation of your brand, including your logo, color palette, typography and other design elements.
- Brand Culture: This is the set of values, beliefs and behaviors that defines your brand and sets it apart from others.
- Brand Experience: This is the sum total of all interactions that a customer has with your brand, including your products, services, customer support and overall customer journey.
- Brand Reputation: This is the public perception of your brand and can be influenced by a variety of factors, including customer experiences, media coverage and the behavior of your company and employees.
- Consistency: A successful brand strategy requires consistent implementation across all touchpoints, from your website and advertising to customer interactions and employee behavior.
By incorporating these elements into your brand strategy, you can build a strong, recognizable brand that resonates with your target audience and differentiates you from your competitors.
Brand Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy
As mentioned earlier, brand strategy is the overall plan for developing a strong, recognizable brand. It focuses on building and maintaining a company’s reputation, defining its brand identity, and creating a consistent brand experience for customers. A brand strategy helps you to establish your company’s unique position in the market and differentiate it from your competitors.
Marketing strategy, on the other hand, refers to the overall plan for promoting and selling a company’s products or services. This includes tactics such as advertising, public relations, pricing, product development, distribution and sales. A marketing strategy focuses on how to communicate the value of a product or service to the target audience and drive sales.
How Marketing & Brand Strategies Complement One Another
Marketing and brand strategies complement each other by working together to achieve a company’s overall business goals. In a nutshell, a brand strategy provides the foundation for a company’s marketing efforts, while a marketing strategy implements the brand’s messaging and positioning in order to drive sales and grow the business.
More specifically, here are some ways in which marketing and brand strategies complement one another:
- Consistent messaging: A strong brand strategy establishes a consistent message across all marketing efforts, helping to build a recognizable and trustworthy brand over time.
- Clear positioning: A well-defined brand strategy clarifies your business’s unique position in the market, making it easier to develop marketing efforts that effectively target the target audience.
- Improved reputation: By building a strong brand through consistent messaging and clear positioning, you can improve your business’s reputation and establish a positive relationship with your customers.
- Differentiation from competitors: A strong brand strategy helps you differentiate your business from its competitors, making it easier to stand out in a crowded market.
- Improved customer loyalty: By creating a consistent brand experience and delivering value to customers, your business can build customer loyalty and generate repeat business.
Why is Having a Brand Strategy Important?
Having a brand strategy is important for several reasons:
- Differentiation: A well-defined brand strategy helps to differentiate you from your competitors and sets you apart in a crowded marketplace.
- Consistency: A strong brand strategy provides a consistent framework for all of your marketing and communications efforts (both images and messaging), helping to build recognition and trust with your target audience.
- Clarity: A clear brand strategy helps to clarify your company’s purpose, values, and unique selling proposition, making it easier for employees to understand their role in representing the brand and for customers to understand what sets you apart.
- Direction: A brand strategy provides a roadmap for your company’s growth, helping you make informed decisions about product development, marketing efforts, and other initiatives.
- Increased value: A strong brand can increase the perceived value of your products and services, making it easier to charge premium prices and increase customer loyalty.
- Improved reputation: A well-executed brand strategy can improve your company’s reputation and strengthen your relationship with customers, partners, and stakeholders.
In short, having a brand strategy is essential for building a strong, recognizable and successful brand. It helps to focus your efforts, clarify your company’s purpose and differentiate you from your competitors.
How to Create a Brand Strategy
Creating a brand strategy for a small business can be a straightforward process if you follow these 8 steps:
Step #1: Define Your Target Audience
Start by defining the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your ideal customer. This will help you tailor your brand strategy to their needs and preferences.
Step #2: Conduct a Competitor Analysis
Study your competition to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and to identify any gaps in the market that you can fill with your brand.
Step #3: Define Your Brand Values and Personality
Decide on the values and personality that your brand represents. This will help to guide all of your marketing and communications efforts.
Step #4: Develop your unique value proposition (UVP)
Identify what makes your brand unique and what sets you apart from your competition. This will help you to create a compelling message that resonates with your target audience.
Step #5: Create Your Brand Identity
Develop a visual representation of your brand, including a logo, color palette, typography, and other design elements that embody your brand values and personality.
Step #6: Define Your Brand Messaging
Develop a set of messages that communicates the benefits and values of your brand to your target audience.
Step #7: Plan for Consistent Implementation
Make sure that your brand strategy is consistently implemented across all touchpoints, including your website, advertising and customer interactions.
Step #8: Monitor and Adjust
Regularly review your brand strategy to ensure that it remains relevant and effective, and make adjustments as needed to stay ahead of the competition.
By following these steps, you can create a brand strategy that helps to build recognition, differentiate you from your competitors and establish a strong, recognizable brand for your small business.
Key Takeaways on Brand Strategy
Understanding what a brand strategy is, how it complements your marketing strategy, why it’s important and the key components of one are crucial to developing a strong brand strategy for your business. And without a brand strategy in place, your business is unlikely to show up to the world in the way that you want it to.
By developing a brand strategy for your small business, you will make sure people understand what your business does and why it’s special, so they will not only remember your business, but feel good about it!
P.S. We’re all about helping small business owners to better understand the need for a Strategy-First approach and our content sets out to do just that! For more insights on marketing and brand strategies, delivered to your inbox weekly, sign up for our newsletter below!