Developing a brand strategy can be one of the most difficult steps in the marketing plan process. It’s often the element that causes most businesses the biggest challenge, but it’s a vital step in creating the company identity. Your brand identity will be repeatedly communicated, in multiple ways with frequency and consistency throughout the life of your business.
Your brand strategy identifies three core components of your business, which can then be used as a blueprint for developing your marketing strategy and tactics. The three core components include:
Purpose: Your business must have a functional and intentional purpose.
Consistency: Without consistency, a business will struggle to survive.
Emotional Impact: Emotion is what helps customers connect with you. A brand strategy helps you develop that emotion.
To begin the development of your brand’s strategy you must have an understanding of these four marketing components:
- Primary Target Customer and/or Client
- Product and Service Mix
- Unique Selling Proposition
By identifying these components of your marketing plan you have the basis for crafting your brand strategy. An effective branding process creates a unique identity that differentiates you from the competition. That is why it’s often deemed as the heart of a competitive strategy.
Here are the seven steps for creating your brand strategy.
Why Branding Is Important
A strong brand is invaluable as the battle for customers intensifies day by day. It’s important to spend time researching, defining, and building your brand. After all, your brand is the source of a promise to your consumer. It’s the centerpiece of your marketing communications and an identity you do not want to be without. Here’s a look at the foundational concept of branding, what it is, and what it is not.
How To Define Your Brand
By defining who your brand is you create the foundation upon which all other components are built on. Your brand definition serves as your measuring stick in evaluating any and all marketing materialsand strategies—from what your office looks like to what your ad says to the color and font of your business cards to the design of your website.
Determining Your Brand’s Objectives
Critical to effective brand management is the clear definition of the brand’s audience and the objectives that the brand needs to achieve. Ask yourself two key questions to help determine your brand objectives. What is it that you want your brand to do for your company? And what do you want others to know and say about your products or services?
Focusing on Your Target Audience
The power of your brand relies on the ability to focus. That is why defining your target market will help to strengthen your brand’s effectiveness.
The key is knowing who your target market is. Zero in on your target audience by asking yourself:
- How old are they?
- What is their income range?
- What are their occupations?
- What other interests do they have?
Discovering and Crushing Your Brand Barriers
When creating your brand strategy for a product or service it is important to perform a careful analysis to spot barriers that you may come in contact with. These barriers are also known as market conditions, and they can keep your product or service from be ing successful.
Brand Packaging and Identity
Branding is as identifiable to our customers as your face is to friends and family. It’s how people see you in the marketplace. Is yours saying what it should? Your company image is all about the appearance of your packaging. What is your company image saying (i.e., conveying) to the marketplace? If your packaging doesn’t uniquely represent your business, change your packaging.
Top 5 Books on Branding
Need more information on branding? I have found five informative books that will serve as a resource when working on your branding. These top five picks will help you understand your brand and identify how you can develop your brand and make it stronger.
Branding = Purpose
Branding is often seen as confusing or not important to top-level executives because it’s often difficult for them to see the tangible benefits. Without a brand strategy, it’s a recipe for “anything goes” and even for the small business, this can be dangerous. Without a brand, the business lacks an identified purpose. And without a purpose, a business can’t stand out from the competition.