Updated: Mar 17, 2022
Well strategized branding will allow your business to stand out above the rest. It’s what catches your attention, making the decision to choose your product or service over competitors a simple one. By building a cohesive, strong, and relatable brand strategy, you’re ensuring that your brand is consistent across platforms and into the foreseeable future. No matter how many people work for your business, with a well-defined and executable brand strategy, everyone is on the same page. Ultimately a solid brand strategy puts one goal above the rest: to build an experience that your target audience simply can’t forget.
What exactly goes into creating the foundation of a strong brand? As a creative marketing agency, we’ve highlighted what we believe to be the most important elements of creating not only an executable strategy but one that can stand the test of time.
Pillar #1 - Brand Core
When developing your brand core consider answering these questions: Who are we as a company? What do we do? Your brand core is your very essence, so it’s critical to have a thorough understanding of this before marketing your company or product to your target audience. For a more specific look at brand core, you can break this down into three elements:
You started your business for a reason. What exactly was that reason? Finding the purpose of your business is crucial for brand strategy. Start by asking yourself, why does your business exist? For example, a non-profit that focuses on charity work for refugees’ purpose is to provide support for refugee families. Using CBD as an example for a product-based purpose, we can say their purpose would be to help find relief for women and mothers. Start by asking yourself, what do you want your business to accomplish?
How do you see your business contributing to the existing landscape? How can your vision be unique and stronger than your competitors? What does the future of your successful organization look like? Your vision should be attainable, but don’t worry if you want to dream a little when thinking about where your company is going. Here’s an example of what McMillan & Phillips envisions 2022.
Values are becoming increasingly important to younger generations of consumers. For example, many Gen Z women place a priority on sustainability in the world of menstrual products. What does your company value? Clearly stated values can help you connect with your customers, because you’ll attract people with similar long-term values and a similar outlook on life.
Pillar #2 - Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is about reaching the right people to ensure your success. Who are you in the marketplace? Who are you selling to? Here’s how brand positioning breaks down:
Who are you trying to sell to? Ideally everyone would want to interact with your business, but trying to market to the masses isn’t going to help you reach your target audience. By pinpointing your audience, you’ll be able to define what their likes and dislikes are, find out where they spend their time, what type of content they are interested in, etc. With this information you’ll be able to build better content and messaging catered directly to them. Knowing exactly who your consumers are only strengthens your creative marketing efforts.
Do your research, so you know which market segment is most appropriate for your brand. Are you focused on smaller, niche markets or more encompassing markets? Do you want to support mid-sized businesses or enterprise-level corporations? Who are your competitors? What are your competitors strengths and where can you improve on their model? Spend some time on other people’s websites. By understanding your competitors’ brand strategy, you can make yours unique while potentially filling a gap in the current landscape.
What are your goals? Can any of them be measured in a quantitative way? How do you benchmark and measure your success each quarter or year? Are you basing your goals off of money and sales or are you mostly just trying to get engagement to set yourself up for those sales? Make your goals realistic and then make a stretch goal. By identifying a more realistic stretch goal, you may meet your goal earlier.
Pillar #3 - Brand Persona
Now for the fun part! A huge part of your brand strategy is the personality of the brand. How will you communicate with your audience? Here are three components of brand persona:
Think of Wendy’s on Twitter. They’re standing out and appealing to a younger generation by roasting their competitors online. How do you want to be perceived by customers? For a personal fitness website, your language can be more informal, like they’re going to come and workout with a friend. Whereas, if you’re marketing your law firm, you’ll want to showcase that you’re professional, knowledgeable and trustworthy. It is common for successful companies to have more than one persona that they cater to. Think of a persona as a fictional character that could stand in the shoes of a real customer. It’s important to be able to visualize this persona and create content, products and social media posts that will attract their attention.
What sorts of words do you use? Are you authoritative, fun, witty or ironic? Maybe you’re a mix between a few. How does your voice help you speak to your demographic? Specific language will help you create your voice.
You don’t necessarily need a tagline, but some businesses find it useful. Do you have a motto or slogan that helps customers remember and identify with your brand? Apple has “Think Different,” which perfectly encapsulates their goals, mission and values in two simple words. Even if you don’t advertise your tagline, it may become a sort of mantra for your business and employees.