Updated: Sep 18
In order to create a successful business you need more than just a company logo. In today’s saturated marketplace, how do you stand out in your industry? Beyond finding your niche, you need to create a brand strategy that will pave the way for success. So what is a brand strategy and is it really that important?
WHY IS A BRAND STRATEGY IMPORTANT?
By investing in your brand, you are establishing a clear vision that outlines your values, expertise, and distinguishes you from your competitors. By taking the time to truly chip away at what it is you are bringing to the table you can fine tune your messaging and marketing to revolve around what you’re trying to accomplish with your business.
Not only does this allow you to clarify your goals and vision, but it also helps you determine what you aren’t striving for as a business. This alone will help keep you on track for success and it all starts with a brand strategy.
WHAT IS A BRAND STRATEGY?
When it comes to creating a brand for yourself or your business there are a few key components for you to understand.
First, you have the logo. This is the face of the brand and usually provides the first impression to your potential customers.
The brand identity is your style and appearance. Beyond the logo, how are you presenting your brand to the world?
Then you have the brand itself. The brand represents the personality of your company and is how you connect emotionally with your customers. Ultimately, your customers will define your brand. This is why having a brand strategy is important.
The brand strategy defines your purpose. What are you trying to accomplish as a business? Why does it matter? This strategy will help control the narrative of your brand.
Ultimately, your customers will define your brand. This is why having a brand strategy is important.
HOW TO CREATE A BRAND IDENTITY
Before you can begin the brand strategy process, you must design your brand identity. Much of the brand identity design process will influence and carry into your brand strategy.
In The Value of Brand Identity Design and Your Business I outline the three key questions you need to ask in order to create a successful brand identity:
Who are you?
What do you do?
Why does it matter?
While these questions will allow you to get to the core of what you’re trying to achieve as a business, you need to spend even more time defining who your ideal customer is and how your product or service benefits them.
This discovery phase will influence your brand’s identity, from your logo design to typefaces and colours, and help pave the way for your brand strategy.
THE BRAND IDENTITY PACKAGE BIBLE
In designing a brand identity, you will establish your brand’s style. This means selecting the right fonts, colours, imagery and even the tone of your brand. Remember, the goal is to design a brand that both appeals and connects with your ideal customer.
Part of the brand strategy framework is to hire a graphic designer to establish brand identity guidelines in a brand book or style guide. This becomes your business’s holy bible. It will outline how your logo should be presented in different formats, what style of imagery should be used alongside your brand, and what tone of voice is behind your captions on social media or in emails.
HOW TO DEVELOP A BRAND STRATEGY
Once you’ve established your brand’s style, you need to take that framework further and dive deep into developing your brand strategy. We mentioned earlier that the brand is the emotional connection you have with your audience or ideal customer. So when developing a brand strategy, how are you defining your purpose and how it aligns with your audience?
Understand Your Ideal Customer
The best way to truly connect with your ideal customer is to put yourself in their shoes. Create two to three customer profiles for your business. Your profiles should be very specific and outline things like:
This tactic helps you better position your brand’s messaging so that it truly aligns with your target audience’s needs and values.
What is Your Brand Story?
To make that emotional connection, you need a brand story but it needs to be authentic. In order to capture your ideal client, spend time writing your narrative: why are you doing what you do? How does it relate back to them?
Some of the best brand stories are built on overcoming an obstacle. They were up against a challenge –> there was a lack of x –> they created a solution.
The heart of your brand’s story should be about why you do what you do and why it matters to your ideal customer. What problem are you solving for them and why do they trust you?
What Makes Your Business Unique?
The biggest challenge in the brand strategy process can be how you distinguish your uniqueness. If you can clearly define your unique value proposition, your brand will thrive in even the most saturated marketplace.
This is where you need to do some market research and spend some time analyzing the competition. What are you offering that your competitors don’t? What are you doing better than they are? Why should your customers trust you over the competition?
Find your niche and hone in on the things that make your business unique.
THE BENEFITS OF DEVELOPING A BRAND STRATEGY
Investing time towards developing a brand strategy will help you maximize your efficiency. By having a clear set of rules and guidelines steering your business, you’re not wasting time on ideas that won’t serve your brand. Any new idea you have should always be referred back to your brand strategy to see if it aligns with your core values and purpose.
Your brand strategy will allow you to attract more of an audience on social media. A quality content strategy when done as part of a brand strategy, is the easiest way to control your narrative and connect with your ideal customer.
This is your opportunity to provide them with free valuable content that they actually want. Build your reputation as an expert in your industry by offering useful advice, practical tips, and promote free resources. A brand content strategy will also help attract new clients and customers.
Having a strong brand identity will convey trust and credibility to your target audience. Having a strong brand strategy in place will allow you to keep your business goals in line with the needs of your customers. When done right, your brand strategy will lead to the success of your business through brand loyalty, all built on that emotional connection that keeps them coming back for more.