What does an effective brand strategy look like? In short, it’s a well-defined one. It’s detailed and in-depth and involves questions and, ultimately, on point answers. There are various things to be taken into consideration and it begins with an honest assessment of your business, highlighting strengths and pinpointing any weaknesses. It’s about getting inside the minds of your customers and prospects. Brand strategy is defined as “how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages”. The branding strategy can be broken down:
Research: brand strategy starts by asking questions about your business to get the most accurate idea of what the brand is about and what you want to achieve. Detailed research and analytics at this stage lay the foundation for what comes next.
How: planning needs to take place on how to get your brand message out there. For example, will be visual or verbal? What distribution channels will you use?
What: discussing what your brand message should communicate is a vital part of the branding process. Keep the message succinct and relevant: it will be better understood.
Where: identifying where you want to deliver your brand message sharpens overall communication focus.
When: establishing a timeline and working out when the brand launch or re-brand will happen gives a deadline to work towards and sharpens time management.
Brand identity is when you really drill down on the details; no relevant question should be left unanswered. This is the moment you define your brand. Defining your brand is the journey of business self-discovery and there are 4 key points to consider:
- Define your company’s mission.
- Explain the benefits and features of your products/services.
- What do people think about your company?
- What qualities would you like to be associated with your brand.
This business self-discovery, of course, involves research, and lots of it. This is the only way you can truly learn the needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and habits of the people who are going to engage and buy into your brand.
Once you know what your brand represents and who it will appeal to, you can really get the brand ball rolling. Here are key points to consider:
Brand logo: your logo is going to go everywhere. So, it needs to be a good one.
Brand messaging: whatever you want to say about your brand, it needs to be communicated clearly and effectively. Your employees should also know exactly what your brand is all about so they can promote the brand at every opportunity with confidence and clarity.
Brand integration: every single thing that moves, breathes or relates to your business gets the branding treatment. Not just obvious stuff such as packaging, uniforms, or signage but all the rest too, including email signatures and what you/staff say when you pick up the phone. Like glitter, the brand message should get everywhere.
Brand voice: set a tone and stick with it. Ask yourself what you want your brand voice to “sound” like. Do you want to come across as friendly and chatty or more grown-up and formal? The tone should reflect the brand. This “voice” will be consistently used across all communication from email correspondence and marketing material to newsletters and social media content, so make sure you like the sound of it.
Brand tagline: think of something short and snappy that sums up what your brand’s about in a few words. Attention spans are short these days so you’ve got to get your brand across in the time it takes to thumb swipe.
Brand design: whenever you get creative, be consistent. Choose fonts and colours, then stick with them. Know where your logo will go. Design work should have the “same” look and feel to it – this will make it instantly recognisable.
Brand promise: only say it if you mean it. If you make a brand promise, always follow it through. If you get caught out on a lie, customers will never trust or recommend your brand.
Brand reputation: what people think of your brand, their expectations of your brand, and their belief in your brand promise – this is what your brand reputation is made of. Whatever you do in connection with your brand, it should make you proud.