The importance of Brand Strategy is easy to overlook. It sounds like jargon, but actually it’s a straightforward idea. A strategy is simply a plan that lays out what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. We do this with all other areas of our business, but often fail to consider something as vital as brand – the part of your organisation that customers see first!
Every organisation and product has a brand, even if no conscious decision has been made to apply one. Your brand is your image; how your present your product or service to both your clients, employees and other members, and suppliers. It’s their introduction to you, before they’ve found out the details of your service, or considered trying your product. So it makes sense to have even a simple brand strategy in place that ensures you’re showing it off in the best and most effective light possible.
Having a brand strategy affects a surprising number of areas, some more obvious than others.
Gain control of your image
Having a brand strategy gives you much better control over how your organisation is perceived.
A brand can include a lot of elements, depending on what makes the most sense for your market. There could be logos, visuals, colours, use of language, phone manner, building layout, product and packaging design… The list goes on! That’s a lot of keep track of, and they need to be used consistently. If you end up using a different shade of blue every time you print your logo, you’ll lose that sense of a strong brand who knows how to handle their own assets.
With so many elements, you need to have a strategic plan on how and when to implement them. As part of our brand design, we usually create a document for you of the ‘brand guidelines’. These detail how and when to use your brand elements under different circumstances, so you can always be consistent.
Stand out of the crowd
Often products in a market are fairly similar when it comes right down to it, so branding is how your differentiate between them and decide which one to pick. This is where you can gain an edge over your competitors, and help clients make that crucial decision. A lot of the perceived difference between two similar products will come from the branding. If a shopper feels they relate to your brand even a little bit, in that moment of indecision they’re more likely to pick you.
A strong brand, deployed strategically, means that you know exactly who your ideal clients are, and can therefore understand how and where to talk to them. It gets you the kind of attention you want, from the kind of clients you want.
Know who you are
Having a brand strategy does as much for your as it does for your clients. In order to create a brand strategy, you first have to know your own purpose, values, and audience. This is a great clarifying exercise for your organisation. We covered values in a previous post, and even have a Brand Words tool to help get clients started.
It lets you be really clear about what your core message is, and what you hope to achieve through your business. This in turn shines a light on what strategies are going to be most effective in getting you to those goals.
Having a strong sense of purpose can unite a workforce too. It means everyone knows how they fit into the big picture, and gives your stakeholders confidence in your vision for the company.
Helps plan your marketing strategy
Your brand strategy dictates your strategy for marketing too. There are so many platforms available to businesses that it can be hard to work out where to start. Do you even need a website? If you do, should it be a full site or a simple holding page? When you get into social media, do you scattergun them all, or is there a particular platform that you should focus your attention on?
Why and how to present yourself to potential clients and customers is part of what a brand strategy covers. The visuals, logo and web design we produce, and the tone of voice we decide on need to be appropriate for the platforms you’re going to use them on. Marketing and branding are inextricably intertwined, and so are the strategies for both.
Prepare for the future
Examining where your business is now, and where you aim for it to be in the future. From there you can plan a pathway that takes you in the direction, and aligns with the values your business embodies. Everywhere that your brand plays into this pathway, we get involved. We can guide you through the process of identifying some of those key values your business has. Then we spring into action, crafting brand elements that will support your service and take you towards your aims.
Having set your aims and decided your methods, you can then check in on your progress as time goes on. The real test of any plan is what happens when it meets the real world. As time goes on, trends change. Your business grows and adapts, the market shifts, and certain parts of the strategy may no become less effective. But because you have a clear understanding what what your brand strategy is designed to do, and how, it’s a lot easier to evaluate it. You can identify areas in your brand strategy that have stopped working and change them up for something better.