Well, the long list of such obvious questions and the search to find answers to these might end here! We are here to talk about some doable and cost-effective brand strategies and related tips which can work wonders for your small or medium-sized business.
In the highly competitive business environment, we recognize that small and medium-sized companies frequently struggle with the task of creating a strong brand strategy. The difficulties arise from maneuvering through the intricate realm of brand building, combined with the requirement for affordable approaches to guarantee enduring expansion and significance in the industry. That's precisely why we have endeavored to provide realistic and easily accessible knowledge, empowering enterprises to conquer barriers and foster an influential brand image without incurring excessive costs. Are you prepared to acquire fresh, captivating, and priceless insights?
Brand strategy, by definition, is a long-term inter-departmental action plan for brands to achieve specific, pre-defined goals that can be obtained with the evolution of a successful brand -- the combined components of your company's character that make it identifiable. A well-designed, successful brand strategy helps a brand gain a competitive advantage and grow the business fast. Now let’s quickly tell you an amazing fact about the meaning of this word (I bet you don’t know) and from where it originated.
Do you know the old Norse word ‘brand’ meaning ‘to burn’? This implies that your branding strategy will be fruitful only when you put remarkable efforts into building a brand strategy. However, to make it easier for you, we are here to help you on how to develop a brand strategy!
Let’s help you warm up with an example from an inspirational brand Airbnb. Airbnb distinguishes itself in the travel sector not only for its distinctive lodgings but also for its exceptional branding. The crucial aspect lies in their focus on "belonging anywhere," fostering a feeling of unity through genuine narratives shared by individuals like Mark and Jennifer.
By showcasing various and genuine lodgings that celebrate the local culture, Airbnb provides unparalleled travel experiences. Their effective public relations and marketing efforts, which involve collaborations and user-generated content, create an enormous buzz.
Furthermore, Airbnb actively addresses the concepts of inclusiveness and diversity, ensuring that everyone feels embraced. These strategies, deeply rooted in fostering a sense of community, authenticity, and inclusivity, propel Airbnb toward success, offering valuable insights for businesses aspiring to establish a resounding brand.
So, in this step-by-step guide on “how to create a brand strategy,” we will help you with best practices to create brand strategy and even help you with some amazing branding strategy templates that you can customize for your business.
We will also study some of the known brands, the story behind them, and how they become industry leaders.
Remember, when you are starting from scratch on a brand development strategy, then it is not just the strategy that is going to be helpful; it is the brand-building team that needs to be developed as well.
When you build a brand strategy for small businesses and start-ups, it is important to focus on the very first step, as this is going to be the foundation step. Having the right set of professionals working for your brand development strategy is integral. As a business, you need to analyze the pros and cons of outsourcing such a team or even having one in-house. This could be a decision that needs lots of evaluations done on various parameters. Understanding the role of various professionals in the brand-building team is essential, such that the tasks are divided well, and a good sync can be managed between them as well. A Brand Architect is a person who will play a pivotal role in developing the branding strategy from scratch. Before moving forward to how to create a brand strategy, let's gather some insights on how to develop one based on our research.
Well, the list of the reasons can be long however some certain and direct benefits could be:
Now, you can be one of the three following cases stated below, in case you are looking for what is a brand strategy. Let us find out your category, and then we can help you better with brand strategy development.
Your brand strategy is much more than your logo, brand name, or website! Wondering how to create a brand strategy? Don’t know the right approach for building a branding strategy. Don’t worry; take a deep breath because next, we are going to discuss how to develop a brand strategy.
Next comes the step-by-step process following which we can develop a robust brand strategy.
You can either develop a brand strategy from scratch or review your old one. It all depends on making sure if your brand strategy has the components or not. In case you were lacking defining the goals and values, it is time to start afresh otherwise you can just rework your old brand strategy to turn it into something impactful.
How to develop brand strategies for your brand such that you can be one of the most prominent industry leaders in the coming future?
We will walk you through a step-by-step guide that is simply designed and followed by the experts. However, to understand the steps you first need to understand the AIDA model which is paramount once you start framing your brand strategy.
The AIDA model is a time-tested framework in marketing, representing the stages a consumer goes through before making a purchase. The acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Each stage is crucial in guiding potential customers through the decision-making process. So if you are going to establish your brand successfully, it's imperative to have a crystal clear understanding of this model so that you can effectively plan your branding as well as marketing strategy based on this model. In essence, the AIDA model guides marketers in crafting a sequential and strategic branding approach to lead potential customers from initial awareness to decisive action.
For ease of understanding, we have tried to highlight the concept briefly in a tabular form as below.
Based on this ingenious AIDA framework, our team came together, to pen down every minute step or process in such a way that your brand does not suffer. The planning of the steps were done in tandem with the AIDA model. Let us quickly dive deep into the process:
Here are steps to create a successful brand strategy-
Step1: Brand Discovery
Brand discovery is one of the most crucial steps when it comes to defining the business goals and values. This helps in maximizing the long-term success of your brand. When you talk about brand discovery, there are a lot of aspects to be considered such as brand image, communications, consumer perception, and competition. Extensive research could be helpful, and it adds to understanding the brand better, defining the brand personality also becomes easier. A better brand and better delivering what you promise to the customers is also owning to the brand discovery at the right time in the right manner.
Step2: Competitor analysis
In this step of branding strategy, you play an important role in determining the competitive position around you. The competitive analysis involves several levels of checks and research, such as identifying major competitors, researching the products, sales, and marketing strategies of your competitors, and much more. This would involve knowing every nook and corner of how your competition works and identifying potential opportunities such that you can outperform them and stand out from the competition.
Step3: Target audiences
Don't be mistaken to say that everybody is your target audience. It cannot be everybody, and you have to smartly identify and segment your target audiences. For high-growth profit firms, it is very important to make sure you are targeting only your target audience and not everybody. By narrowing your focus to your target audiences, you can directly increase the growth and make it faster. With a diverse target audience, it becomes difficult for you to have a good number of sales, orders, leads, and conversions. With increasing the number of people you are targeting, your efforts also get deleted and they make less impact.
To know if you have done substantial research and if that is enough or not you need to know the brand voice and identify and research about it.
Step4: Brand Voice
Brand voices are also known as brand tone. You might have to use different tones for different sets of audiences, and hence you must have a record of when to use which set of tones. When you are about to launch a product, you might have to use the difference internally compared to another case where a customer complains about your product or service.
Step5: Brand message & story
To make sure that your customers with a strong relationship with you will need to develop loyalty. it could be easily developed with some authentic and emotional stories that are related to your brand. This could turn out to be customer loyalty and long-term Association. You could leverage various platforms to convey success stories and talk about your brand. These platforms could include social media content marketing, SEO, SEM, public relations, videos, organizing events, delivering advertisements, Sales Collateral, and many more. It is important that you have one brand positioning for all your audiences however, when you are targeting a different set of audiences, you must keep in mind their interest. for a different set of audiences, we need to emphasize pertinent points. it is important to address the issues, concerns, etc.
Step6: Brand Personality
When it comes to brand personality you must identify your brand and imagine it as a person. it becomes easier for you to communicate in this manner and make sure what kind of brand personality you would choose and the tone that perfectly voices your brand to your audiences. Identifying a brand personality doesn't necessarily mean that you need to have a mascot in your logo or in your branding website. However, it helps you choose the right tone and, hence, address the audience in the right manner. World-siding the brand personality for yourself, make sure you try being as descriptive as possible to help you come out with better results.
Step7: Brand positioning
Brand positioning is also known as market positioning. If you have followed all the above-mentioned steps and have done your potential research you are at a good stage to determine your brand positioning. It helps you identify how your brand is different from others and why your potential clients should choose you to work with. A positioning statement is generally only four to six statements long, and it makes sure to be Captivating enough for your branding positioning. Make sure your branding strategy is sound with a robust positioning statement that would meet the promises of your brand. It must also be a bit aspirational, so it should be aspirational such that you strive for something good.
Step8: Brand perception
Brand perception is nothing but the feelings customers have about your brand. These thoughts and feelings only come when the brand is known to your customers. Additionally, a customer has brand perception when he or she sees contracts for something about the brand. The ultimate step of branding strategy should be creating brand perception. There are multiple ways of doing so, and you need to research what your competitors are doing so that you can do something similar and not yet create a unique and everlasting experience. Do you know some of the brand perceptions and the strategies used by a known branch that have worked wonders for them? Do comment below in the comment section.
Branding Strategy Steps Associated With The AIDA Model
Now let’s walk you through some of the examples of famous brands who have taken the market by storm with their impeccable and flawless branding strategies.
Just Do It: It is well known to all of us! The reason behind the fact that we all know it well is the impactful branding strategy. However, the mission statement of Nike might not be something that we all know. The mission statement for Nike is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”. Everything that the brand does aims at meeting the mission. And we all see this mission everywhere around us. Every type of athlete is on the Nike list, and Nike has a product for every Nike user or athlete.
Additionally, the brand mission of Nike goes on adding, “If you have a body, you are an athlete”. Now, can you understand how they have lent an emotional touch and tried to connect their mission with the emotions of customers? The width of the targeted customer base is instantly increased with this simple statement. The brand added immensely to the reputation and brand following over the years, and now we all can see how their target audiences have increased to literally everyone out there.
When you start on how to develop a branding strategy, start with smaller steps, and then you know the researched audiences that need to be followed. With time, your brand loyalty may grow enough to expand your reach.
Along with all this, the brand has also focused on determining who your exact customer base is. And it becomes very important for you when you are starting your business. As already mentioned, start small; you need to know your niche very well and focus specifically on it initially. This could be a robust foundational step working in your favor.
Let us talk about one more brand strategy
Apple has grown way beyond just being known as yet another computer company. Their clean design and easy-to-use devices which they have been designing make them stand out.
Apple makes sure that every new launch is announced in such a way that it feels out-of-the-box to the customers. Right from the packaging to selling and to user experience, everything is made in an awestruck manner. Well, back in 1997-2002 Apple came out with the slogan: “Think Different“ and even now, they believe in the same notion. They have been putting in efforts to make sure this still holds true, and not just they but also their customers feel the same.
Now it’s time to let you know about the crucial components of brand development strategy. These components are like ingredients that help you streamline your brand development strategy.
Your business needs to define the purpose as this is one of the most important components of Brand Strategy. The purpose could be further broken down into two sets and it depends on the business to choose the one for their need. The purpose can either be functional or intentional. When you define your purpose, you are sure of what to offer above profitability. You create brand value among the customers, who just choose you every time, as they know you sell what they are looking for and in the same budget range as well.
Everything you plan to do after defining your brand’s purpose should be consistent. Also, it is important to understand if at all it is relevant to your brand or not. For example, when you are working towards changing elements of your website, make sure that you are working only on those that match the intent or the newly defined purpose for your brand. Also, it is important to see that all your platforms, be it your website or social media are conveying the messages and are designed with the same intent such that your user is not confused.
It is important to build an emotional connection with the customers which makes them believe that no matter what price they pay for your product(s) or service(s); they are getting the best of it. This could help you beat the competition and stay connected with your customers for the long term. It is not just customer acquisition that is important to the business but also customer retention which matters equally!
You have to be consistent and flexible at the same time! Sounds confusing? Well, you need to set a purpose for your brand and make sure to stay consistent to it however you need to understand the current situations and adjust accordingly so that you are flexible enough. Does this make sense to you?
For a cohesive digital experience, make sure your employees are able to understand you and convey the same to your customers. They are the ones representing your brand to your customers and hence every message they convey is highly important. You can involve them in many different ways such as training, conducting sessions, brainstorming sessions on defining some strategies, and many more. You empower your employees and they empower your brand’s vision and value-adding to the branding.
Loyalty counts in both the long and short term! You can do it over a period of time, however, every small and big step towards making your customers understand that you care about them is important. Create a customer experience that is flawless and makes them believe in you and your brand. Reward your customers for the love they have poured in for your brand. This also helps in new customers acquisition from word of mouth.
To stay ahead of your competitors, it is important for you to understand them. Take their every step as a challenge and try beating them. You can even challenge your strategies and goals such that you stay ahead of what they are offering. You are most probably having the same customer base; make sure you make a difference that is noticeable to your customers.
Well, now we have a clear understanding of developing a brand strategy as well as what components to have while we create a brand strategy. Now the question is, what next? Let’s find out in the next section!
Once you build a brand strategy; you need to follow it. However, following a branding strategy comes along with something else. And this forms the next level which needs to be understood. Along with competitive positioning understanding, your brand strategy should be able to represent your brand. It needs to be effective enough such that it helps in connecting your brand with prospective customers.
So when you have the branding strategy with you, you need to follow it. However, following a branding strategy comes along with something else. This forms the next level, which needs to be understood.
Along with an understanding of competitive positioning, your brand strategy should be able to represent your brand. It needs to be effective enough such that it helps in connecting your brand with prospective customers.
However, it is important to make sure that your marketing strategy is not exactly the same as your branding strategy. Here, we have tried to learn some of the important aspects of marketing strategy and the differences between the two.
Undeniably, marketing and branding are the front aspects that you need to consider for your brand. There is one area that is very common in both of them. The images related to your brand have an important role to play in both marketing as well as branding strategies. When you start either with a branding strategy or marketing strategy, selecting the right images is important.
The colors, graphic logo everything represents your brand, and it is important that you use them correctly in either branding or marketing strategies. These images play a substantial role in your ongoing campaigns.
Most experts think that differentiating between branding and marketing strategies is quite difficult, and there is a very thin line between these two. However, understanding this difference could help you perform better. Both strategies are aimed at helping the brands become profitable. However, each has a distinct role and individual goals. In order to succeed, you along with your employees should be able to understand the difference between these two.
In case you are starting new, and so is your business. Here is a list of questions that can help you develop a brand strategy.
Lack of Clarity: Failing to define a clear and concise brand strategy can result in confusion, hindering effective communication and customer understanding.
Inconsistent Branding: Inconsistency in brand messaging, visuals, and tone across platforms can dilute brand identity and erode consumer trust.
Ignoring Audience Needs: Neglecting to understand and address the specific needs and preferences of the target audience can lead to disconnect and a lack of resonance.
Overlooking Competition: Failure to conduct a thorough competitive analysis can result in a brand strategy that doesn't differentiate itself, leading to obscurity in the market.
Short-Term Focus: A strategy lacking a long-term vision may lead to tactical decisions that sacrifice sustainable brand growth for immediate gains.
Mistakes in these areas can undermine the effectiveness of the strategy and lead to brand failure. Hence it’s imperative to steer clear of such mistakes while curating your brand strategy.
Brand strategy is a long-term action plan that outlines the goals and components of a brand, shaping its character for successful, identifiable growth.
In a competitive landscape, small businesses benefit from a robust brand strategy to establish a powerful presence, overcome challenges, and ensure sustainable growth.
Key components include defining purpose, ensuring consistency, building emotional connections, maintaining flexibility, involving employees, fostering loyalty, understanding competition, and ensuring a cohesive brand experience.
The process involves brand discovery, competitor analysis, identifying target audiences, defining brand voice, crafting brand messages and stories, establishing brand personality, determining brand positioning, and shaping brand perception.
Competitor analysis helps identify opportunities, understand market dynamics, and position your brand uniquely to outperform competitors.
Involving employees through training and engagement empowers them to represent the brand effectively, ensuring a cohesive digital experience.
Brand perception is shaped by customer feelings and experiences, influencing customer loyalty and the long-term association with the brand.
Nike's "Just Do It" and Apple's commitment to innovation and design showcase effective branding strategies that connect emotionally with diverse audiences.
Your branding strategy is solely based on your research and understanding of your customers as well as your competition. Understanding the brand story and conveying the same to the audience is important. Your strategy could be defined by including all the components in the right manner, and this could surely be worthwhile. There is no shortcut to researching what you perform for your brand; however, a guided direction can help you be more effective and efficient. You can focus on emotional and loyalty-building with customers too. Also, make sure you speak a secret language to develop trust and loyalty with your customer base. Only then you will be able to come up with a killer brand strategy. Need more help? Reach out to us by dropping a comment or giving us a call. Our team will reach out in no time. We help businesses establish a strong brand with extensive market research and tried and true strategies. Check out our page for more information.