In today's highly competitive landscape, building a strong brand has become more critical than ever. A well-defined brand strategy can serve as a guiding compass for businesses, enabling them to differentiate themselves from competitors and forge meaningful connections with their target audience.
In this article, we will delve into what brand strategy is and reasons why it is essential for long-term success.
What is brand strategy?
Firstly to define brand strategy; it is a documented framework for how a brand is defined, to encourage resonance and connection with the audience. A brand strategy encompasses several different elements like brand substance, positioning, persona, messaging and visual communication.
Just like a tree, there are strong foundational roots that you can't see and the leaves and flowers that you can see, which gives the tree it's visual characteristics.
This is much like brand strategy with the brand's roots being the internal compass and brand expression is what the audience sees on the exterior.
At the root of brand strategy is the brand's substance, the 4 pillars that refers to the inherent qualities and characteristics that define a brand's essence and differentiate it from its competitors. It encompasses the core values, purpose, mission and vision – unique attributes that make a brand authentic, trustworthy, and memorable.
More and more brand's today are sharing their substance with customers to show their inner qualities and help further develop authenticity and customer resonance. Brands are becoming more human and vulnerable, which in turn makes them more appealing to their audience and increases chances of connection and brand advocacy.
Also at the root of brand strategy is the positioning strategy, which is made up of audience, competitor and differentiation research.
Much like roots provide stability, nourishment, and sustenance to a tree, a thoughtfully crafted brand strategy serves as the foundation upon which a business can flourish, thriving when it invests in a well-defined brand strategy.
Once the brand's roots are established we then move up the tree to the brand expression, the external facing brand.
This is the part where we set out an archetypal mix which helps the brand to resonate on a human level with the audience. From the customer research already performed we have a good insight into the fears and desires, so we can chose a mix of characters to appeal on a psychological level.
We then move onto communication, which is made up of messaging, storytelling and tagline. This is where all the ground work done so far comes to life and we can communicate a series of crafted messages in the brand's voice with the audience. Having a series of messages and the brand's story set out will help to keep marketing consistent, with purpose and targeted.
The final stage of brand strategy is visual expression, which is everything you can physically see as part of the brand, bringing it to life with it's own unique identity. We set out a logo design, graphics, images, colours and font style to represent the brand's persona and bring's everything together in a cohesive look and feel that will appeal to the audience. This can then be applied, with the rest of the strategy, to website design and other marketing to set the brand's presence and how it will be perceived in the marketplace.
So that is brand strategy in a nutshell, now let's look into the benefits. Here's the top 5 reasons why brand strategy is good for your business:
Clarity Brand strategy helps everyone within the business to gain clarity on where the brand is currently and set out a pathway for success. It helps the leadership team to set goals and expectations, so colleagues can see how they fit into that journey, which in turn boosts morale and creates advocates within the team. When all colleagues are onboard with the strategy and on the same page, it helps to build a stronger brand from the inside out.
Consistency Consistency is vital in establishing a strong brand presence. A well-defined brand strategy ensures coherence across all touchpoints of your business, creating a unified experience for customers. Just as a tree displays consistent growth patterns, from its trunk to its branches and leaves, a brand that maintains consistency in its messaging, design, and customer interactions cultivates trust and reliability among its audience.
Differentiation In a crowded marketplace, a well-crafted brand strategy sets your business apart from competitors. It allows you to identify your unique value proposition and establish a distinct presence. A strong brand strategy differentiates your business, attracting attention and enticing customers to choose your offerings over others.
Emotional Connection A successful brand strategy goes beyond transactional relationships, aiming to forge emotional connections with customers. People are drawn to brands that align with their values, aspirations, and beliefs. By developing a brand strategy that resonates with your target audience, you cultivate an emotional bond that fosters loyalty and builds long-lasting relationships. A brand that connects with customers on an emotional level becomes an integral part of their lives.
Customer Loyalty and Advocacy A well-crafted brand strategy fosters customer loyalty and advocacy, turning satisfied customers into brand ambassadors. When customers feel connected to your brand, they become loyal advocates who willingly share positive experiences, driving valuable word-of-mouth referrals and attracting new long-term customers.
Investing in a comprehensive brand strategy is crucial for businesses aspiring to achieve lasting success. Just as a tree's roots provide stability and the ability to weather storms, a well-crafted brand strategy empowers businesses to navigate the competitive landscape and market fluctuations by attracting loyal customers and cultivating growth opportunities.
A strong brand strategy enhances the company's reputation in the hearts and minds of the audience and paves the way for sustainable growth and expansion. With a clear strategy, a brand is an invaluable asset, increasing its value and attracting investors, partners, top talent and brand advocates.
About the Author
Gemma is a logo and branding designer at Emotion Brands and enjoys working across strategy and design. During her 20 year career she has worked with global brands, such as Davines, Secret Escapes, Wella Professionals and L'Oréal. She's constantly evolving her skills and enjoys taking a holistic approach to branding, with a particular interest in sustainability and eco print practices.
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