“People don’t buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” – Dan Wieden
The year 2020 will be marked as the time which transformed the way businesses operate. With the ongoing pandemic and more time on our hands, we have been introduced to more new businesses, traditional products and services moving online, and employees working remotely or in a hybrid setting for over a year.
With the world changing so much around us, brands have come to the difficult realization that they can’t really succeed without a sound brand strategy. Or perhaps worse, they have a strategy in place, but it is ineffective in generating traffic, leads, or revenue. In short, it’s not persuasive.
If you are brand and can relate to the above-mentioned situation, do not panic! Crafting a sound branding strategy is not an overnight job; it takes time, planning, commitment, and a lot of introspection.
In this article, we will take a step back and get back to the basics. As more detailed you are in your branding strategy, the easier it will be to execute on a larger scale and meet your business goals.
So, What Is A Branding Strategy?
According to Danish author and brand strategist Martin Roll, branding strategy is the ‘big picture’ plans and tactics deployed by an organisation/brand owner to create long-term brand equity and competitive advantages from branding.
Long story short, your brand is more than your product, logo, name, or website. A well-defined branding strategy goes beyond the superficial facade of marketing and encompasses all aspects of business especially connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competition
Consider it as a blueprint that will help you understand and communicate your audience and stakeholders efficiently.
And, Why Is It So Important To Have One?
Truly effective and well-crafted branding strategies try to understand their audience; what do they like, what excites and motivates them, or what ticks them off. Well, that being said, what are some of the other values brand strategies provide to the brand.
- Thanks to globalization, the market is overflowing, and competition is fierce. A great brand strategy sets you apart from the competition.
- Today, we have numerous counterparts of the same product. An effective brand strategy helps position the brand better, hence, saving the product from being labeled as a commodity.
- Your brand is much more than the product you sell — it’s the intangible stuff like care and nostalgia that creates loyalty. But it’s that hard-to-pin-down. A brand strategy helps create an emotional connection with the customer and foster loyalty in their hearts and minds.
- As the definition suggests, the brand strategy shows you the big picture. It allows you space and flexibility to grow and expand your range of products.
- No matter how much marketers plan and position, buying decisions occur in split seconds. The brand strategy considers minute details to create a well drawn-out process based on a verbal and visual identity that increases your chance of a conversion.
How To Create A Perfect Brand Strategy For Yourself?
Define Your Brand & Its Purpose
Like every person, every brand has a purpose. It’s the reason they exist in the world. While understanding your business, it is necessary to know the specific purpose of your brand, the problem it solves, and the value it imparts.
A defined purpose helps marketers to position better and differentiate between you and your competitors.
Here are some of the question every brand owner should ask itself:
- Imagine, if my brand was a person, what would its personality be like?
- What values will it cherish and the issues it would stand for?
- What problem does my brand solve in the marketplace?
- Is there someone else who does it better?
- What do I make my target customer feel? What emotion do I want to be associated with?
Lead With A Brand Story
When Ian Rowden said, “the best brands are built on great stories.” He was 100% right. A brand story is more than your product or service description, website content, or the presentation you used to dazzle your investors.
A brand story is a cohesive narrative, encompassing facts and feelings that you aspire to convey to the customers. It is one of the key elements that elevate your product from a commodity to the status of a brand.
While leading by a story seems easy, combining a story strategically is much more complex and nuanced. It is about thinking beyond the superficial functionality of products and services and striving to create something that people care about. However, it is only through a brand story you can foster loyalty and forge meaningful bonds with your customers.
Understand The Subtext. Communicate Better
Humans are complex creatures. What they say and what they mean are oftentimes two different things. That’s why it is all the more important to pay attention and understand the sub-text. Listening to the said and unsaid words, actions, behaviours, and silences will give you more insight into your customer’s mind than any market research data or survey could ever do.
Margo Aaron best describes the situation in her article, The Best Marketers Read Mind (2017)
What They Say: “I try to cook 3x a week. I just don’t have time.”
What Untrained Ear Hears: “They’re busy. They really want to be healthier. We need to emphasize convenience and low-cal in our marketing!”
What Trained Ears Hear: “They want to cook because they think they should, but honestly, they don’t give AF. It’s not a priority for them. They just feel guilty about how much they order take out. They’d be happier if they allowed themselves to not feel like shit about how much they order out.”
The difference in insight between ‘being healthier’ and ‘reducing guilt’ is the billion-dollar industry.
Create Your Unique Visual Identity
Let’s face it, no matter how great your product and messaging are, visuals will always reign over text and is usually the most effective way to capture your audience’s attention and build brand recognition.
Contrary to popular opinion visual identity is more than colour and design, it is the reflection of a company.
So, when you’re building your brand, and getting into nuances like the brand story, brand purpose, brand personality, and brand promise, strategically tailoring the visual components to build cohesive brand identity is the way to go.
Things to remember while creating a visual brand identity:
- A logo is crucial and likely to be stamped on everything. Get it right.
- Create a colour palette that reflects your personality and be consistent with it.
- Font speaks volumes about your business. It has the power to create a perception of your brand.
- Creating perfect individual elements is great, but making them work together flawlessly is the real test. Always test your concepts and optimize as much as you can.
- Lastly, present your visual elements as a unified front. They have the potential to resonate with the audience and impart a favourable impression of your brand.
Be Flexible In Your Approach
While consistency is required to create a default standard for your brand, flexibility caters to the changing interests and trends of the marketing world to remain a step ahead of the competition.
So, if you are an established business with a set branding strategy, it is time you re-evaluate and change tactics. Take this opportunity and connect with a branding agency like Vowels to engage with your audience in a fresh and meaningful way.
Make Bold Moves. Take Hard Decisions
Creating a brand strategy means envisioning future scenarios and placing your bets on those dreams. And a good brand strategy requires you to step out of your comfort zone and make difficult choices.
It also means pushing your consumers, internals, and external stakeholders against their instincts to trust your conviction and take the leap of faith forward into the future.
Taking bold actions is a double-edged sword, and a well-thought-out strategy gives you the authority and confidence to take the risk.
Also read – Logo Design: Its Place In Brand Strategy
Brand strategy is similar to self-discovery. You introspect to understand yourself and find your core values. If the journey seems difficult, consult the professionals who challenge you and assists you to delve deeper and take the best approach.
If the thought resonates with you, it’s time we get in touch. We are Vowels, a professional branding agency that assists businesses with branding and rebranding projects. Whether it is a logo design, a website design, tailored messaging, or a complete brand makeover, Vowels will make your vision come true. We specialize in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.
Extended across multiple countries like the Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain, we believe in providing exclusive solutions to all your brand problems.