A powerful, succinct brand strategy should underpin all of your activity. Read on for the definition of a Brand Strategy, and for the 5 things your brand strategy can’t survive without…
Brand Strategy Definition:
At Mackman our definition of Brand Strategy is:
“A document that plans the development of a brand in order to meet its agreed objectives. The strategy must evolve from the brand’s vision and be driven by the need to be different and clearly defined to a target audience. It should also seek to deliver a consistent brand experience underpinned by appropriate brand behaviours.”
In Designing Brand Identity, Alina Wheeler explains brand strategy as:
“A road map that guides marketing, makes it easier for the sales force to sell more, and provides clarity, context, and inspiration to employees.”
You’ll recognise a good strategy because it’ll be easy to talk about and communicate to all the stakeholders in your organisation.
Your brand strategy has to respond to the needs of your market place (for a quick refresher take a look at our run down of the relationship between marketing and branding, here). Typically, deciding and designing your brand strategy comes at the second stage of the branding process: Positioning.
How do you develop a Brand Strategy?
Your brand strategy needs to:
1. Deliver product or service offerings that match the needs of the market
Your brand strategy needs to address exactly how your product or services meet the needs of your consumer, business 101.
2. Develop a positioning that positively differentiates your brand from that of your competitors
If you are aware of your competition you’ll be able to create a brand strategy that highlights to the consumer why your business unique and emphasises why they should choose you. Keeping an eye on your competitors will also allow you to learn from what they do. But be careful, don’t fall into the trap of copying their tactics. Your every marketing move needs to demonstrate what makes your brand unique
(For more on competitors, take a look at our post “What is a Competitor?“)
3. Look to create a brand essence that connects brand and customer on an emotional level
The majority of decisions are made with emotion not logic. This means that developing an emotional connection between your brand and your consumer is a necessity you cannot overlook.
Brand essence that your consumer can become emotional connected to can be created in a number of different ways. For example, your brand itself may provoke an emotional reaction from your consumer, think about heritage brands like Coca Cola with their classic logo and colour scheme. Or as a part of your brand strategy you can design a brand purpose, or in other words, the reason your brand exists outside making a profit.
Many brand’s brand purpose is socially responsible and highlights how they’re giving back to their communities. This, in turn, gives the consumer something to identify with beyond the product.
4. Ensure that at each touch-point perceived value is delivered as part of the brand promise
Every interaction between the consumer and your brand must deliver to the standards you set out in your brand promise. This helps to create consistency across your marketing, which will help fuel brand recognition and in turn bolster customer loyalty.
5. Use an integrated and effective communications strategy to create widespread reach and awareness of brand positioning amongst targeted segmented customers and stakeholders
Your communications strategy must be informed by your brand strategy. Content marketing is more important than ever; companies that published 16 or more blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published four or less posts a month. (Source: Hubspot)
In today’s rapidly changing market place, creating a brand strategy that will stand the test of time is a challenge. But ensuring your brand strategy can confidently answer all five of these questions is a recipe for success.