Brand strategy is the long-term planning used for building a brand from scratch and channelizing systematic as well as sustainable growth by using effective market research and brand messaging to accomplish specific goals.
Powerful brand strategies encompass values a brand stands for, promises that a brand makes to its customers, and personality that a brand likes to convey through its marketing, messaging, and advertising campaigns.
What is Brand Strategy?
The brand strategy encompasses all activities that a brand plans to do to convey what it stands for, what it promises to do, what experience employees and customers will have, how to stand out from competitors, etc.
It involves strategies regarding your brand name, logo, tagline, slogan, color schemes, fonts, etc. Having a brand strategy is crucial for a brand’s success as consumers can have a clearer idea of what the brand represents and how it is different from competitors.
Brand Strategy and Brand Identity
Your brand strategy is the foundation of your brand to establish it as a strong brand. It offers clarity around the brand’s mission, vision, purpose, people, and message. Your branding strategy would answer questions like-
- Why your brand exists?
- What is the mission of your brand?
- What is the vision of your brand?
- What are your brand values?
- Who are your target clients?
- Who are your competitors?
- What is your brand’s USP?
- How your brand communicates?
While on the other hand, brand identity reflects the strategy of a brand. Brand identity is used for creatively aligning the strategy of your brand into visuals. Different elements of brand identity are-
- Logo design(s)
- Color selection (informed by color psychology)
- Font selection/typography
- Illustrations (e.g., patterns)
- Imagery (i.e., photography)
Benefits of having a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy is the foundation of many successful brands such as Disney, Coca-Cola, and Starbucks. Let’s go through the points below to understand how brand strategy adds value to a business:
1. Brand strategy directs appropriate business actions
Think of brand strategy as the anchor that grounds all efforts in business operations. While there will be many opinions, ideas, and resources, a brand strategy is essential to direct all activities toward a single goal. It helps shape perceptions about the brand so that it reflects well on the brand’s reputation.
2. A brand strategy helps establish brand equity
Brand strategy is highly beneficial for increasing brand equity, which is the value your brand holds regardless of product quality, quantity, or experience. An effective strategy makes your brand a dominant player in the market, and any new venture will also quickly gain sales because of the value of your brand alone. The price sensitivity of consumers also decreases.
3. The brand strategy gives brands a competitive edge
One advantage of brand strategy is the ability to form emotional connections with target audiences. Hence, it offers a competitive advantage to brands as customers easily relate to your ideas and choose your brand over your competitors.
Components of a Successful Brand Strategy
Different purpose of a brand strategy can be-
- Functional which is associated with the success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons
- Intentional which is related to the ability to make money and do good in the world
Consistency is ensured by not talking about things that neither relate to your brand nor optimize your presence. For ensuring consistency, all the elements of your marketing should be related harmoniously. Coca-Cola is one such example that has used consistency quite effectively to make the brand one of the most recognizable ones in the world.
Most of the times customer are emotional than being rational. Therefore, developing an emotional connection is integral to every brand strategy. Because of this emotional connection, Harley users pay thousands of dollars more for Harley bikes instead of opting for any other bike which is equally good.
Flexibility is important for the brands to stay relevant. With the help of flexibility, a brand can be more creative with its marketing and advertising campaigns. It is one of the most important components of brand strategy that enables the brand to make adjustments that build interest and distinguish your approach with the change in times and competitions.
5. Employee Involvement
The involvement of the employees is one of the key elements of an effective brand strategy. When your employees are well aware of the adept ways of communicating with brand audiences, they will be able to project your brand in the most authentic manner. Companies have to incorporate strategies that involve employees in a result-driven manner.
Brand strategy should pay heed to reward those people who are loyal to the brands. Having a loyal customer base is one of the most crucial factors for increasing the market share of a company and ensuring success. From marketing efforts to story creation and messaging, all should be dedicated to having a loyal customer base. Incorporating loyalty-related strategies turns customers into brand ambassadors.
7. Competitive Awareness
Brand strategies should pay heed to incorporate competitive awareness in its marketing, branding, and research strategies. When a brand strategy analyzes its competitors and accordingly designs its campaigns then it helps to create greater value for the brand. For example, if your competitor is active on relevant social media channels then your strategy and brand messaging should also include social media promotions.
How to Build a Successful Brand Strategy
A brand strategy takes a lot of careful planning, time, and testing. But it pays to put in the work, as the effects of a solid brand strategy encompass all aspects of a business. Here are five steps to develop a powerful brand strategy:
1. Research your market and decide the niche of your product or service
A brand strategy is helpful when your brand knows its market and its place in it. There should be extensive research done to know the market, competitors, target audiences, and more. This allows brands to focus time and resources only on what will bring results.
2. Plan business goals and methods to achieve them
It is essential to have goals in place to drive action. Both short-term and long-term goals can help businesses be better than they were yesterday, last month, or last year. Unify teams and resources to realize these goals in time and measure results.
3. Work on what makes your brand stand out
One way for brands to be at the top of their game is to be something people can’t ignore. This is done by highlighting what makes your brand unique. This is not only limited to unique products. A brand can thrive by giving a unique message, experience, or strategy as a whole.
4. Humanize your brand
Now it’s time to give your brand a personality. This assigning of attributes and quirks to your brand can help your brand stand out and connect deeper with your target audience.
5. Engage with your customers and the community
The experience of customers with a brand is an essential aspect of any business strategy. Treat your customers in a way that satisfies their needs and motivates them to buy again. Moreover, it is helpful to engage with the community can gain massive publicity, support, and customer loyalty.
The strategy of a brand includes all the things that can optimize the presence of the brand, widen its reach and empower it to stand out from competitors.
From creating visual identity and positioning to brand messaging and customer services, brand strategy is responsible for improving position and converting more consumers. It also makes guidelines to let your audiences perceive your business in a specific manner.
Now, after going through the post, how would you define brand strategy? How important do you consider it for the future of a business?
Pinky is an MBA in Marketing from the University of Mumbai. She loves helping people out in learning Marketing and sharing latest ideas and tactics for growing businesses.