Updated: Mar 1
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 give you a solid foundation for your business and pave the way for success. So let's dive in on what a brand strategy is and why it's so important.
WHY IS A BRAND STRATEGY IMPORTANT?
By investing in your brand, you are working towards establishing a clear vision for your business, one that outlines your values, your mission, and your unique selling proposition. 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 why you're in business and what you’re trying to accomplish as a result.
Not only does the brand strategy process 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 and give you the proper foundation for your business.
Ultimately, your customers will define your brand. This is why having a brand strategy is important.
HOW TO DEVELOP A BRAND STRATEGY
Before you can even begin to develop your brand identity, you need to focus on the 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, a large focal point is spent 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:
pain points and struggles
This tactic helps you better position your brand’s messaging so that it truly aligns with your target audience’s need, wants, and values.
What is Your Brand Story?
To make that emotional connection, you need a story that bridges the gap between you and your customer. Spend time defining your why:
why do you aim to exist?
why do you get up in the morning and go to work?
what is your purpose?
When you know your why, you need to go one step further and find a way to create a story that shows how your why impacts your audience. For instance, as a brand designer who quit her salary job to start my own small business, that story is something that many of my clients can relate to. Many of them have taken the leap from gainful employment to going out on their own to pursue something they love full-time.
When you can make this connection through your story telling it becomes a great asset in your brand messaging and marketing.
In a different light, 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 should they trust you?
What Makes Your Business Unique?
The biggest challenge in the brand strategy process can be how you distinguish yourself. 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 because it gives you the roadmap for your business. 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.
HOW TO CREATE A BRAND IDENTITY
Once you have a solid grasp on the strategy and the things that drives your business, now you can work towards designing your identity. Much of the brand identity design process will be influenced by your brand strategy and the things you've learned along the way.
THE BRAND IDENTITY PACKAGE
In designing a brand identity, you will establish your brand’s style. This means selecting the fonts that both function and celebrate your unique personality, colours designed to attract your ideal clients, and an image style that aligns with 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 brand designer and strategist to establish brand identity guidelines in a brand book or style guide. While your brand strategy will be the holy bible for your business, this guide allows you—and anyone else who works on your brand—to uphold a consistent brand experience. It will outline the role of each logo, the hierarchy of your brand colours and the role each font plays in your brand, just to name a few things.
With your brand strategy and identity established, you will now be able to attract your ideal clients and customers 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 allow you to both attract and retain new clients and customers.
Having a strong, consistent 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.