6 Steps to Forming a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy is a long-term plan for discovering, shaping, and implementing your brand across all platforms of your business. Creating a brand strategy is a challenging step for most businesses.
Although challenging, establishing a well thought out brand strategy will help keep your branding process on track. A brand strategy will help to maintain consistency between your company goals and your target audience or projected customers.
There are many different approaches to creating a brand strategy, and it can be difficult to know where to begin.
Let’s take a look at some easy steps you can take to get your business started with the development of a brand strategy.
1. Understanding Your Target Audience
A great starting point when rebranding or building a new business is to take a look at your target audience. Start thinking about your ideal client. Who are you trying to attract? By understanding your desired clientele, you can develop a vision to match their specific needs.
Think about the distinct qualities, behaviours, and lifestyles of your target audience.
Consider the following:
You want to create a brand that your target audience can connect with and relate to. By understanding and defining who your customers are, you can tailor your brand strategy to meet their specific needs. This will help to make sure your message and advertising reach the right people.
2. Defining Your Brand Values
An important step in developing a brand is understanding your business. Now that you’ve taken a look at your target audience and determined some of their needs, you are ready to take a closer look at your business. This is where you can use your target audience’s characteristics and desires to define your company vision.
Your company vision should focus on your target audience’s needs, and explain the role of your company in meeting those needs. Define what values and goals are important to your company and work from there. What is the purpose of your business? What is your brand passionate about?
3. Identifying Your Brand
After determining your target audience and company vision, you’ll want to start forming a better understanding of your brand. This can be done by creating a brand personality. A brand personality is a set of keywords that help define a brand’s identity.
Imagine your business as a person with unique characteristics. These characteristics help your client audience to understand and relate to your brand.
Begin by brainstorming a list of characteristics and personality traits for your company. These are words like “exciting, loyal, comical, rugged, nurturing, cool, worldly…” Think about the history of your brand personality, does it tell a story? What kind of relationship does your brand have with the customer? e.g. Sister? Father? Leader? Buddy? Mentor? Lover?
Establishing a brand personality helps form a connection to your target market. Building a strong brand identity also helps to build customer loyalty, commitment, and consistency throughout your brand.
4. Positioning Your Business
At this point, you should have a good idea of who your brand is and what values define that brand. It’s important now to understand where your brand fits in comparison to other competitors. By researching similar brands in the industry, you can get an idea about what sets your business apart from others.
Conduct some research on similar companies. Take note of what these competitors are doing well, and what they could be doing better. Do research into the quality of their products, read customer reviews, visit their social media sites. Look at how they are marketing their brand and use this as inspiration.
Now you need to consider what your company has to offer. Why should clients choose your company over its competitors? Make a list of the advantages, benefits, and qualities that make your company unique. Branding will allow you to highlight these qualities throughout your business.
5. Designing to Match Your Brand
To make a successful brand, all your designs, from the logo down to the website have to be cohesive with what you are providing. For example, if you’re a company that sells vegan snacks, you wouldn’t have a picture of a cow on your packaging, this would be misleading. Things like colours and shapes also tie into the psychology of how your company is perceived and should be considered in this step.
By incorporating design as a crucial element in your brand strategy, you can ensure alignment between your company values and the image you’re presenting. When you pair design and branding, the client immediately has an idea what to expect and the design conveys the message almost instinctively.
There are many tangible design elements which need to be considered. These design elements include your company name, logo, colours, typography, slogans, packaging and website. The idea is for customers to recognize your brand name as well as your values in every aspect of communication.
6. Marketing and Advertising
It’s a numbers game. The more people who can be exposed to your product, the more you can grow your business. It sounds obvious but this aspect is sometimes overlooked. Ever wonder why good restaurants close? Or why McDonalds has so many locations?
Being able to be seen and heard by the right people is a valuable resource. By following a brand strategy, you can make sure that your marketing and advertising are presenting the right image to the right customers.
There is a lot to consider when creating a brand strategy, and even more to consider when actually implementing it! But this process is essential for creating any successful brand.
Seeking help from a branding agency will assist with the entire process. A lot of companies will hire designers, but tend to neglect the importance of investing in their brand strategy. You can have a great product, with amazing designs, but fail to reach the right audience if your branding isn’t cohesive.
However, by following these steps, you’ll be on the right path to branding your business.