Creating a brand strategy is an important first step in building a successful brand. A brand strategy sets the tone for your entire brand and will continue to be a guide for many future decisions. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of launching a new product or service, but it’s essential to take time at the beginning to think through all of these details. Without a strong foundation, you risk ending up with an inconsistent and confusing brand that doesn’t stand out from the competition or support your business goals. A well-executed brand strategy can not only help you avoid pitfalls, but also position you as a thought leader and drive traffic to your business. Let’s take a moment to define branding. According to Forbes, branding is “the process of creating meanings around a company, services, or products—and then communicating those meanings to desired target audiences so they understand and value them as much as we do.” A strong brand makes customers trust your company and its products above competitors. This is achieved by developing a clear, consistent, and memorable visual identity that reflects what makes your business unique and different from others in your industry.
A brand strategy will include a set of goals for your business, a breakdown of your target customers, a description of your unique value proposition, and a look and feel guide and examples of how you will visually communicate your brand. You can use a brand wheel to help illustrate the main components of your brand strategy. A brand wheel is a visual representation of your company’s brand. It will include many of the components outlined above and can be used to create a visual timeline of the key messages associated with your brand throughout its lifecycle.
Creating a brand strategy isn’t a one-time activity. Rather, it’s an ongoing process that is cyclical in nature. Because your customers and competition are always evolving, you’ll want to revisit and adjust your strategy as needed. A brand strategy isn’t just about what your brand looks like; it’s about who you are as a company and why your customers should choose you. This is a great way to get everyone in your organization on the same page and thinking about how their role impacts the overall brand. It’s also a good way to shake up the team and make sure everyone is on the same page. If your company has recently made changes, acquired a new company, or is experiencing some growing pains, it’s a good idea to revisit your brand strategy to make sure everyone is on the same page and communicating consistent messages.
A critical component of creating your brand strategy is to first define your business goals. What are your short- and long-term goals for your business? What do you want your business to look like in five years? Ten years? How do your goals relate to your brand? How will your brand help you achieve your goals? For example, if one of your goals is to increase brand awareness, you might decide to increase the number of times you attend industry trade shows and events. By doing so, you’ll likely increase the number of times you have the opportunity to speak with potential customers, which can help you achieve your brand awareness goals.
Once you’ve defined your business goals, the next step is to define your target audience. Who are your customers? Who do you want your customers to be? Are there certain demographics or people you want to reach? How are they different from one another? What are their interests? What challenges do they face? How do they consume content? Defining your audience is important for a number of reasons. First, it will help you better understand who you are selling to and what challenges they face. This information can be useful in developing your product or service offerings. It will also help you identify the best ways to reach your customers and the best marketing channels to use. For example, if a majority of your customers are female dog owners in their 40s, you may want to consider advertising on female-focused forums that discuss dog care.
Once you’ve defined your business goals and audience, the next step is to define your company’s unique value proposition. What makes your company special and different from others in your industry? What challenges do customers face that your company can solve? What problems do you solve for customers? Your UVP is an important part of the brand strategy because it is a promise customers can expect you to keep. For example, if your UVP is to provide a high-quality and reliable product, customers can expect that they will receive a high-quality and reliable product each and every time they purchase your product.
The final step in creating your brand strategy is to identify the branding touch points and messages you will include in your visual communications, including your website, social media channels, advertising, packaging, etc. This is where all the components of your brand strategy come together. For example, if your company’s logo is blue, you might want to consider using blue in your website design as well as in other branding touch points like your company email address, business cards, and social media icons. An important note about branding touch points: not all of these will be visual. In fact, most branding touch points will be verbal and auditory, such as the audio on your website, the names and slogans you use in your advertising, and the tone of your social media posts.
Branding and marketing are important aspects of any business. From the logo and color scheme to the messaging and tone of your communications, your brand should be consistent and recognizable. A brand strategy will help you create and communicate your brand. Start with defining your business goals, audience, and company’s unique value proposition to begin the process of creating a brand strategy. When all is said and done, you want to feel confident that you’ve created a brand that customers will love and that will grow your business. A brand strategy is a great place to start.