Every business needs a brand strategy. Without a brand strategy, a business is just a money-making hopeful with all the odds stacked against it. Without a brand strategy, there can be no brand that lives in the hearts and minds of those who hold the potential to make it great…the customers, that is.
So what is a brand strategy, anyway? How can we define this thing that seems to determine the fate of businesses?
A brand strategy’s definition spills over all attempts at a one-sentence description, so let’s delve more deeply into this life-affirming, longevity-boosting tool necessary for staying in business today.
Brand Strategy: A More Comprehensive Definition
A brand strategy is a long-term plan designed to raise a brand’s value by differentiating it from its competition and influencing public perception of that brand.
Here’s what every brand strategy needs in order to accomplish that:
- Definition: A brand strategy defines, specifically, what a brand is by answering the questions of What, Who, How, When and Why. The answers to these questions guide all involved (owner, team members, affiliates, and even clients) in broadcasting a brand’s message.
- Touchpoints: Touchpoints are situations in which a brand’s ideal clients will come in contact (direct or indirect) with the brand. Social media, webpages and trade shows are just a few examples. All touchpoints should be named in the brand strategy, and a unique plan for imprinting the brand on the consumer’s mind should accompany each.
- Relevancy: Monitoring of the market will help any brand to remain relevant, and therefore remain interesting to its target audience. A brand strategy should always include guidelines for a market watch, as well as the flexibility to respond to the shifts that matter most to its target audience.
- Consistency: A brand strategy is not only consistent in its own language, it provides the information necessary for helping all brand ambassadors to deliver brand communications and experiences that are uniform in their message, support each other and deliver NO ambiguity or contradiction. Remember: a confused consumer becomes someone else’s client.
- Differentiation: The most successful brands have, hands-down, found ways to discern themselves from their competition. This is about doing something like it’s not currently being done, or finding a gap that isn’t being filled…and then planning for a way to accomplish it in your brand strategy. This is also known as your brand’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
- Story: Every brand has a story, and a branding strategy should provide not only that story, but a plan for sharing it. A brand story doesn’t just cover how the business got started, but also how the people who work in and with the brand view it and feel about it.
- Emotion: People aren’t just looking for products and services to buy, they’re looking for an experience, a feeling…an emotional attachment to a brand. When a brand strategy provides guidelines for eliciting the emotions most valued by its target audience, that brand will build more valuable, long-term relationships.
- Empowerment: When everyone involved with a brand (employees, partners, affiliates, clients) feels empowered to build that brand, the brand wins. Brand strategies accomplish this through reward programmes, collaboration campaigns, recognition and more.
- Measurement: There’s only one sure-fire way to know if the plans put forth in your brand strategy are building your brand. Measure them. Take full advantage of analytics. Conduct surveys. Ask for feedback. Keep records so that you can more easily cut waste and commit the majority of your time to the top 20% of your most profitable practices and clients.
This list is not exhaustive; however, it does provide what every business owner needs to get started on the road toward brand building success. We encourage you to use it to build a brand strategy that will give your brand leverage in the market to blast ahead of the competition…and to stay ahead.
Ready to learn more about brand strategies and brand success? Then I urge you to sign up for our B.R.A.N.D. Kick Starter Online Masterclass, your one-day, anytime ticket to brand visibility, credibility and profitability. Get started now by clicking here.