A brand is often mistaken for being a logo, name or slogan. It is much, much more than this — it’s the entire experience your prospects and customers have with your company, product or service.
Your brand strategy is therefore how you come to shape this experience.
Another way of looking at it is that your brand strategy is the visual and verbal articulation of your business strategy and how it comes to life. It defines why you exist, what you stand for, the promise you make, and the personality you convey – it is how you create the emotional connection you make with your audience.
While it is often expressed by visual assets such as your logo, colour palette, slogan, imagery and design motifs, those are only creative elements that convey your brand. Your actual brand strategy is much bigger than that, it is how your business lives and breathes via the every day-to-day interactions it has with your audience:
• What you stand for and the image you convey
• The experience customers have when they interact with your business
• The messages you deliver via all external communication (e.g. on your website, proposals and campaigns)
• The way your employees interact with customers
• The reputation you want to establish within the market
• How you want your customer’s to perceive you versus your competition
• Why talent choose to work for you over your competition
• The reason your suppliers want to be associated with you
Your brand strategy should define how each of these are managed in a consistent way across all touchpoints along the customer journey as well through internal and wider brand communications that shape your image and reputation within the industry.
Why do you need a brand strategy?
Branding is crucial for products and services sold in huge consumer markets. However, it is equally important for smaller businesses because it helps you stand out from your competition and create differentiation and distinction away from aspects that can be commoditised – this means you compete less on price and more on values.
Your brand strategy brings your competitive positioning to life and works to own a certain “something” in the mind of your prospects and customers. Think about successful consumer brands like Disney, Nike or Apple. You probably know what each brand represents and what it stands for. Now imagine that you’re competing against one of these companies. If you want to capture significant market share, you will struggle on price or product alone – you need to build a strong brand that will help you stand out, be different and align to specific needs and wants of your audience.
What is the financial incentive to building a strong brand?
There are a number of financial incentives to building a strong brand. Some of them include:
• When you put two companies up against each other, the one that represents something valuable to its audience will be more effective at reaching, engaging, closing and retaining customers. Here the cost of acquisition and lifetime value of customers is increased
• Successful branding will also allow your business to create a price premium – customers are willing to pay more for brands they aspire to – here your margins and profitability are increased
• A strong brand will generate greater brand equity. This means you will build the value of your brand as an asset. The more equity your brand has the more valuable it will make your company over the long term
For more information on the value of building a strong brand see our blog: Reasons why a strong brand is important
If created effectively, your brand can become one of your businesses most valuable assets – a brand strategy is therefore the plan for how to create this asset in a way that will add the most amount of value to your business.