However, with consumers able to pick and choose what they view online, including hiding ads they no longer wish to see, having a strong brand has even more of a role to play than ever before.
No, we are not talking having a bright coloured logo or a controversial strapline. Consumers are too savvy to think that’s genuine. It’s all about the strategy. A brand strategy is the most important first step in creating a respected and recognised brand which customers will know and trust.
After all, no matter what logo design you choose, or which colour palette you go for – there is no point having a great visual brand if no-one is actually looking at it or listening to what your business has to say.
A brand strategy has to be driven by business goals to help the company move forward in the right direction. Unfortunately, many businesses miss the point when they think about branding and go straight to the design phase, without looking at the bigger picture and the business benefits which great branding can bring.
However, if you think about the brands which you admire the most, it’s easy to see there is a clear business strategy behind everything they do. It should be the same for all businesses, no matter how large or small. Branding should always start with a clear, business-driven brand strategy and here’s why:
Brand strategy defines your customers’ perceptions
The brand strategy should create a focus for why your company exists and why it does what it does. It’s about asking the deep questions about your business and what makes it stand out from the competition. The strategy creates the foundation for building your unique brand identity, including your business values, mission and vision. All of these elements have to be in place so the branding can help to drive the business in the right direction and attract the attention of the right people. The strategy is the first building block to creating the public perception and customer behaviour which you need for your business to grow.
Brand strategy creates positive customer experiences
The strategy must be linked to your business goals and once it is in place, it maps out how your business will get there in a strong, cohesive way. The strategy will identify customer journeys through your marketing materials, conversion points and all the vital areas which bring new business to your door. From the website layout to how the phone is answered, your branding strategy will bring all of these elements together to ensure the customer experience of your company is consistent and positive.
This consistent approach helps to encourage customers who then know what to expect whenever they deal with your brand. It helps to enhance brand loyalty and promote brand awareness as happy customers are likely to recommend a positive experience to their friends and families.
Brand strategy helps you fight the competition
Brand strategy should be based on research into the market place, as your brand needs to stand out from the crowd and beat the competition. The strategy should be created after undertaking a thorough assessment of the current industry forecasts and trends which could impact the business in the future. It’s also good to look at key competitors and assess what they are doing to keep their brands on top, to learn lessons and work out the best approach to compete.
Brand strategy is based on thorough research and understanding of the marketplace in which your business is operating, which is why it has to be the first step in any kind of branding or rebranding process.
Brand strategy makes communication clearer
As well as improving the customer journey, a brand strategy will have clearly identified your business’s target audience, target stakeholders and ideal customers. Once you know who they are and have all of the data, it makes communication far easier and far more effective.
The strategy will explain who you need to communicate with and when, for example, if you want to increase sales, raise awareness or promote a new product. Having the strategy in place makes it far simpler and easier to communicate the right message to the right people at the right time.
Brand strategy helps to support staff
Having a strong brand strategy which guides the way the company communicates can make it much less stressful for staff who will always know how to approach talking about the business via any given marketing channel.
A successful brand strategy will lead to the creation of a positive brand story, which in turn can raise the company’s reputation in the marketplace. Having a strong, recognised brand and reputation goes a long way to attracting the right calibre of talented new staff into an organisation.
Brand strategy helps keep customers loyal
Once customers have found and tried your brand for the first time, the strategy and the way the company is portrayed is what keeps them coming back again and again for more. Brand strategy helps to differentiate your product from all the others out there, and helps to shape your customers’ perception.
That’s why branding has to be authentic and express the genuine values of the business – pretending to make promises to consumers which are then broken, will only serve to lose customers immediately. Brand strategy will ensure all communication from you is authentic and connects with your customers’ values, bringing them back as repeat and loyal buyers.
A good brand strategy should be simple
Pulling a brand strategy together shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth. It’s about getting to know the business, the values and where the business wants to go in the future. It’s all about identifying the purpose of the brand, what drives the business and why it was created. This purpose creates the driving force behind the strategy. It should be straightforward to define what your business does and what it stands for, which can then be built upon to create the strategy.
Brand strategy is what gets your company seen
It’s all very well creating a flashy logo and website, but if that’s where you start with your branding, what’s the point if no-one is looking at it and you don’t know who you want to show it to. Brand strategy clearly defines how branding can help to reach the business goals – it’s a serious business approach.
Your business has specific aims and objectives and a brand strategy will help you to become an attractive, engaging, and high-performing brand, no matter what size of business or type of industry you work in.
Brand strategy makes the design and execution simpler
Generating a logo and font from scratch, with nothing to go on is like finding a needle in a haystack. However, by starting with business goals and plans, which lead to brand strategy, it becomes far easier to generate an effective business identity through design.
The strategy helps to drive the designs by explaining their purpose and what they need to portray to the customers. The strategy can also help with effective execution as the research element will have explored the ideal customer and the best way to communicate with them.
Brand strategy, brand design and brand implementation all work hand in hand, but only if you have an effective strategy in place to start with.
Brand strategy creates effective branding and marketing solutions
Without a brand strategy, whether you are creating a new brand, or redefining an existing one, your branding and marketing will be without a strong foundation and far less effective. Brand strategy means all of your branding and marketing will be working effectively towards achieving business goals.
Brand strategy will help to keep marketing teams on track and provides everyone involved in selling and marketing for the business on the same page. It will prevent impulsive decisions to buy advertising that isn’t strategic, or to jump on the back of the latest fad in social media.
Having a brand strategy will provide a clear framework for all branding and marketing, making everything produced look consistent, professional and appropriate for the customers which you need to target.
At Frost Creative, we won’t consider helping anyone with brand design or any element of branding, without first looking at branding strategy. No matter what the size of your marketing budget, or the size of the business, brand strategy is always the vital first step in any branding project.
Want to know more? Contact us on +44 (0)1489 892 602 – or click here to drop us a line.