If you are looking for ways to build your brand and grow your customer base but you are not sure where to start or how to do it, you need a clear and well-defined brand strategy. A brand is one of the most essential elements of any business it represents the identity of your company and is a culmination of all touchpoints your audience comes into contact with. In this brief but detailed guide, you will learn how to build a brand strategy in 8 steps and create a memorable brand that attracts and engages your target audience.
What is Brand Strategy?
Brand strategy is a plan of how you are going to build, shape, and grow your brand. Your long-term roadmap is to achieve brand awareness and help your business become a primary choice for your target audience. A successful brand strategy will result in brand identification, making your company recognizable among competitors with similar products and services.
To resonate with your target audience and achieve long-term success, you will need a plan of action with clear brand goalsof what you want to achieve. Each brand lives in its ecosystem, working on reaching a target audience, growing its business, and achieving goals. While each brand is distinctive and should strive to achieve uniqueness, every brand has a similar set of crucial elements:
- A unique marketplace
- Distinctive characteristics
- Brand platform
- A unique set of competitors
Because every brand has its own unique characteristics and exists within a business microverse of its own, no brand strategy is the same. Every brand incorporates similar elements and characteristics, however, in different ways and magnitudes.
How Do You Build Brand Strategy?
You can hire a professional brand agency to help you develop and build a brand strategy that will result in a broader audience, a more dynamic audience engagement, shaping the brand’s identity, and setting clear goals that will help you grow your brand and your business. You can also follow these 8 steps to create your brand strategy by yourself.
The ultimate steps for building brand strategy:
- Market research
- Brand positioning
- Differentiation strategy
- Creating a personality for your brand
- Setting up messaging and the tone of voice for your brand
- Creating a visual identity for your brand
- Developing marketing strategy
- Launching your brand.
Before you get to market research and go through the 8-step process of building your brand strategy, you need to define your core brand platform, as well as define your target audience.
Defining Your Core Brand Platform
The core of your brand represents why you exist, what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve your vision and the values you and your business stand for. To create a core brand platform means to define the heart of the brand and a set of beliefs that influence your company’s actions, behaviors, and creates a captivating story for your brand. The brand core should also guide you and your business in decision-making and help you find the right audience for your products and services.
The brand core is otherwise known as a brand platform, and it essentially represents your internal brand and answers questions such as why your brand exists and reveals the core values you want to follow in your business conduct. The brand platform also defines the path your company should take towards achieving goals and growth. In a nutshell, your brand’s core is the first step in defining the unique personality of your company.
Regardless of what your industry your brand is in, you should combine your brand values and brand purpose with the brand’s mission and vision to come up with a unique set of beliefs that navigate your business conduct.
Be prepared to sign everything you do – if you can stand behind every action of your company and everything you do as a business, you are on the right path towards building integrity and growing your company.
How to Define Your Target Audience
Defining your target audience is one of the essential steps to take before you start building your brand strategy and is a part of the market research, which is the first step in creating a strategy for your business.
Defining your target audience refers to the demographics (age, race, sex, profession, education, employment) and psychographics (goals, desires, preferences, lifestyle choices, values, and interests) of your potential customers. What you also need to define when targeting a certain audience is:
- What problems do your products and/or services resolve?
- What challenges can you help your audience overcome?
- What are the needs of your audience?
- What is your company’s aspirational identity?
- What is your audience’s aspirational identity?
You can download our worksheet “How to Define Your Target Audience” to help you with this process.
How to Create a Brand Strategy for Your Business
If you have decided to create a brand strategy for your business by yourself, you can follow these 8 simple steps that should help you flesh out your brand strategy and carry it out successfully.
Step 1: Research the market
Market research refers to exploring the market that falls into the mold of your business, which means that you will be extensively researching direct and indirect competitors. It is important to know what your competitors are offering and how they conduct their business, so you could plan your strategy and build a distinctive brand that stands out. When researching the market before building a brand strategy, you also want to focus on looking into the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. How do they stand out and how you can fit in the market so you can position your business is the ultimate goal of your research.
Step 2: Brand positioning
Once you arrive at this step, you should already know who your competitors are, along with having defined your target audience and establishing what your brand is about in terms of core values. With these elements all set in order, you can get to brand positioning. Brand positioning refers to defining the way your brand stands out from competitors, what you are laying claim to in the marketplace and how your brand is categorised in the eyes of your audience. You can showcase your brand positioning with effective messaging, distinct personality and definitive differentiation. The way you address your audience and their problems, and the way you offer your solutions make up for brand positioning.
Step 3: Differentiation strategy
Differentiation strategy is narrowly connected to brand positioning, and it represents a marketing strategy in which your brand stands out and identifies as unique and genuinely different from your competitors. An example of a differentiation strategy is researching your competition to determine what they lack and what you can offer to position your brand ahead of competitors. You will use the strategy via messaging, design, personality, product development and any touchpoints to attract the right target audience.
Step 4: Brand personality
You already know how you can differentiate from your competitors and how to position yourself in the market, which means it is time to double down on differentiation and come up with a unique personality for your brand. Defining the personality of your brand means that you are building a framework that will define who you are and the role you play in in the eyes of your audience.
This task may be easier if you imagine your brand as a character with personality traits. You can use brand archetypes to identify what charater your audience is in need of when facing the problem your product or service solves. You can use one or more commonly a mix of these 12 archetypes* (Up to 60 if you dive deep!) and develop a personality built around this. With this mindset, it will be simpler for you to determine what your brand is about, what are beliefs you stand for, and how you choose to engage with your customers and audience. Your brand personality should rely on the story of your brand so you could easily engage with your audience and turn them into your customer base. Stand out and make a difference.
Step 5: Brand messaging and the tone of voice
The words and the tone you use when you are addressing your audience, representing your company, and communicating with your audience should reflect the personality of your brand. Your brand messaging should align with the demographics and psychographics of your audience, as well as with your business and your brand identity so your brand messaging is recognizable and directed towards a certain group of people.
Different uses of language should match a particular community that you are targeting. Does your audience prefer a strictly professional approach or enjoy a friendly and relatable tone of voice?
The preferences of your audience should be taken into consideration when planning brand messaging and determining the tone of voice you should use. Terminology matters as well, so in case you are targeting certain demographics that use particular terminology, make sure to utilize it in your brand messaging.
Step 6: Brand identity (visual identity)
When building your brand identity, i.e., the visual identity of your brand, you shouldn’t rush into the process before completing the steps we have previously listed in the 8-step process on how to build a successful brand strategy. Understanding who you are as a brand and understanding your audience and competitors, you can decide upon the visual identity of your brand. The visual identity should make sense with your brand personality and symbolically represent what you stand for. Choosing the right colors for your brand and designing a suitable logo is one of the tasks to take on while building a unique identity for your business. Sagi Haviv, partner at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv states that a logo should be:
When creating your logo, think of the symbolic meaning and effectiveness of well-known logos like Nike and Apple. Think about the message these logos convey and the simplicity and symbolism of their respective logos that stand out as memorable.
Step 7: Brand marketing
This part of your brand strategy is about how you can get to your ideal customers. You want to start thinking about how you can reach your target audience and turn them into your customer base. Everything you have worked in terms of building a brand strategy should come down to how you want to continue to build, shape, and grow your business.
Essentially, brand marketing is the process of building a relationship between a brand and consumers. Unlike promoting a single product or service through marketing campaigns, brand marketing promotes the brand in its entirety. To create successful brand marketing you need to have these questions in mind:
- Where do your potential customers “hang out” and where you can reach them?
- What channels does your target audience use?
- How can you reach your customers?
- What messages resonate with your target audience?
You can reach your customers through:
- Brand messaging you already developed in previous steps
- Traditional marketing
- Digital marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Direct response marketing
- Brand awareness marketing
You can combine different marketing strategies to reach your target audience via multiple channels and platforms.
Step 8: Brand launch
Your brand launch needs to make up for a powerful first impression and should encompass everything you have been working on by far. Now that you recognize your competitors, know your audience, and have a brand identity along with completing all the steps in our guide, you can launch your brand. Don’t be afraid to hype up your brand launch, but make sure to justify all the hype with quality service and a successful brand strategy. Make sure to compile a launch narrative that aligns with your brand’s identity, so you can create a captivating story that resonates with your target audience.
Should I Hire a Professional Brand Agency?
A professional brand agency should help you build an effective and efficient brand strategy with tools, resources, experience, and knowledge that you might not have at your disposal.
If you are having difficulties building your own brand strategy, Schedule a discovery call with Elements Brand Management and unlock your brand’s potential so you become the brand your audience loves, stand out from the competition and grow your business.