It takes 5 to 7 impressions on a potential customer to create even a little bit of brand awareness. This means that, in order to develop a strong brand, you need to be consistent and give it time.
This is where most businesses seem to fail. Establishing your brand requires a lot of time and work, and after failing to see results, most think that they’re just not doing it right.
That’s usually not the case! It just requires more repetition and consistency.
Developing a strong brand strategy from the start can help you ensure that you’re on the right path.
If you’re new to branding, then here’s how you can get started forming the right plan to establish your brand identity.
What Is a Brand Strategy?
Before getting started developing your own company’s branding strategy, it’s important to understand just what it is.
While the term is a little robust and includes a lot of different factors, a brand strategy usually defines three main things:
- What your brand stands for
- What you’re going to offer your customers
- What your brand’s personality is and how you’ll present that through marketing
Defining a personality for a company is difficult to do, especially in today’s saturated market where brands are taking more risks and getting more creative with their messaging and marketing tactics.
This is what makes it so important to take the time to actually sit down and develop a strategy.
You can put all of the time and effort you want into branding your marketing materials, website, and more, but if you’re not doing it all with a clear strategy behind you, it’s going to be hard to measure your efforts and implement changes.
So, when answering the question of how to develop a brand strategy, the best answer is: actually create one!
Don’t slack off in this essential first step of the process. Follow the steps below to ensure you’ve got a clear idea of who you are and what you can offer customers.
Define Your Company’s Objective and Mission
Who am I? It’s a question that most people ask themselves at some point in their life, and for a good reason.
Establishing your own values and goals is a core component of building character and establishing your own identity. It’s the same for businesses!
The first step in creating a new branding strategy is to develop three core things:
- Your Company’s Vision: The “Why”
- Your Company’s Mission: The “What”
- Your Company’s Values: The “How”
Some companies can spend weeks developing a one-sentence mission statement, and it’s because it’s just that important.
Really take time to think about why your company does what you do. That’s your vision or purpose. What do you aim to achieve and why?
Then, develop a mission. What does your company do, at its core? For example, if you sell vegan ice cream, then perhaps your mission is about more than simply selling ice cream.
It could be more about fostering a greater sense of responsibility towards the environment and personal health by offering people the ability to make healthier choices that don’t affect animals.
Whatever your mission statement is, make sure it’s relevant to your company and the people you’re trying to target.
And, finally, you’ll need to think about some core values. Usually, three to five work best here, but if you want to include more you can.
This is usually the easiest aspect of developing your brand identity, but it’s still worth taking time to make sure your three to five values truly encompass everything that you’re about.
Do Your Market Research
Now that you’ve defined who you are as a company, you need to begin your market research.
It helps to do this before completely finishing the step above, as you want to make sure you’re not positioning yourself in the exact same manner as a competitor!
Market research will help you understand where you lie in comparison to your competition, which will help you position yourself in a different way.
This is also a great way to ensure that you’re really targeting a niche market for your brand. If you’re developing a brand identity that’s really broad, you’re less likely to succeed.
To engage in market research, you can:
- Identify your company’s core market
- Figure out how big or small the market is
- Identify any potential underserved audiences within that market that you can target
- Download a competitive analysis template and chart your competition
- Figure out how to differentiate yourself from them
This is probably one of the most important aspects of strategic branding, as it’s where you’ll really begin to learn about your industry and where you fit in within it.
Get to Know Your Audience
So, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what your company represents and what its goals are, right? Now, you need to work to understand the people to which you’re presenting that identity.
If you’re creating brand strategies that are more on the technical side and aim to impact the business world, then it’s going to be a hard sell if your target audience is all about the environment and reducing waste.
While the problem isn’t usually as exaggerated as that, there are instances in which this kind of disconnect happens.
So, when you’re forming your business identity, think about your customers’ as well.
Develop a strong buyer persona in order to understand how to later craft your marketing message and visual branding.
This buyer persona should include more than simple demographic information. Think about other factors, which can include:
- Education Level
- Marital Status
- Spending Habits
- Online Preferences
- General Interests
Find out what podcasts they listen to, what keeps them up at night, and what they’re hoping to change about the world.
Understanding your audience with this kind of depth will help you move on to the next point, which is crafting a strong brand message.
Here, it’s important to remember that what your audience wants to hear is always more important than what your brand wants to say.
Try to strike a balance between the two and really learn how to establish your brand in a way that’s consistent with that messaging. Your audience will appreciate it and that will convert them into lifetime customers that trust your company.
Develop a Strong Message
This aspect of branding is where you finally begin to incorporate your brand’s identity into the world of marketing.
Taking everything you’ve done up until this point, now you’ll have to begin thinking about creating content and actually communicating with your target audience.
Developing a strong message means finding a uniform, consistent way to talk about your brand.
Most experts suggest taking a look at messaging architecture, as it’s a structured way to ensure you’re using the right language, descriptions, and communication methods.
Hire expert copywriters, get help from marketing companies, and really play with this part of branding.
There’s no “right” way to go about developing your messaging, and sometimes it just takes a little trial and error to figure out what works best for you.
Because you’ve taken so much time to develop your brand’s identity already, it’s likely that you’ve already developed a bit of a language surrounding your brand.
Think about your core values, your audience, and your competition. Particularly, what does your competition do that you like and don’t like?
With all of that in mind, begin creating brand stories. Really use emotion to connect with your customers, as that’s what’s going to build trust and a deeper connection.
After all, shared values account for 64% of brand relationships, so figure out the common values that you share with your target customers and play to the emotions that embody those values.
Always remember to tell a story. A great story is unforgettable, and in the world of over-saturated markets, it’s what’s going to set you apart from your competition.
Offer Value to Your Customers
Now, it’s time to develop a strong value proposition. This is part of your marketing message, but it deserves it’s own section nonetheless.
A business’s unique value proposition is an explanation of the functional and emotional benefits of whatever you’re selling.
This is different from your core values and mission. It’s more about what makes exactly what you’re selling unique and different from other similar products or services.
Think about a problem that your product or service solves. Then, think about how it solves it in a different way than your competitors.
Essentially, this value proposition is the core of your brand identity. Without offering value, your brand is eventually going to fade out over time.
So, work hard to establish a unique value proposition and work that into all of your brand’s messaging, marketing, and general core identity.
When you begin to dig a little deeper into creating content for your company, you’ll want to also be sure to weave this into your website copy and blogs.
Make sure that when people see your brand, they automatically associate you with something of value.
Create a Strong Visual Identity
A signature color or unique logo can increase your brand recognition by 80%. So, it’s pretty important not to forget about creating a strong visual identity.
What is part of a visual identity for a company?
- Website Design
- Social Media Marketing
Here, there’s really no better way to begin thinking about visual identity than thinking about color psychology.
You know that certain colors can make you feel calm and others can make you feel more hungry.
Each color evokes a physical sensation or emotion out of somebody, which means that you’ll definitely need to factor that in when choosing your brand’s colors.
Pay close attention to this when creating your company’s visual brand identity, as it will reflect everything that you’ve worked so hard to create up until now.
Also be sure to factor in everything else that’s visual, down to the photographs you use on your website to the iconography that you use on your social media. It’s all important!
Think about visual identity as how you use your brand and how you portray it to others. That might help you formulate a more accurate visual branding strategy.
Create a Content Strategy
Now, you’re probably thinking, “But what does a content strategy have to do with branding?”
Everything! Your content strategy helps you form your marketing strategy. And, your marketing strategy helps you form your content strategy.
If you’re not dedicating time into creating a strategy for your content, then it’s going to be hard to translate your brand identity to your audience, right?
Creating a content strategy is perhaps the last step in the process of establishing brand identity, as it ensures that your branding strategy will carry over into everything you do from here on out.
Establish a consistent tone that you use, including developing terminologies and a vocabulary that suits your brand.
Use this in all of your content while always focusing on delivering value.
If you’ve created a strong brand identity and have focused on establishing your unique value proposition, then delivering value shouldn’t be that hard.
And, best of all, everything else from here on out won’t be as hard, either!
Because you’ve put so much time and effort into establishing a strong brand strategy, your company and its identity won’t crumble when there are shifts in the market and changes in the competition.
Need Help Winning Dedicated Clients?
Developing a strong brand strategy is only the beginning of establishing your brand as top-dog in today’s market.
You’ll also need to ensure you’re focusing on content marketing and everything that comes with it, including video, blogs, and SEO.
If you’re in need of help with your business, then get in touch with us. We have experience helping seemingly “failing” businesses get back on track and on the road to winning dedicated clients that result in an increase in revenue.
Interested in finding out just how we do it? Send us a message and we’ll get in touch to see how we can help you build your brand.