A brand is more than just its name or logo. It’s a promise, made to the customers of the business. A strong brand strategy is understanding what is that promise that you are going to make to the people who buy your product or services. It is about giving your customers a reason to trust you by delivering on the promise.
“A brand is not just a logo or a name. It’s a promise to customers about what they can expect from your company.”Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap
Brand Gap from Amazon: Brand Gap: Revised Edition (Affiliated link)
What is brand strategy?
Brand strategy is the process of defining your brand’s identity, positioning, and messaging and it’s about creating a clear and consistent message that resonates with your target audience.
A brand strategy is a long-term plan that determines how a business will present itself to its customers and stand out from its competitors. It encompasses the brand’s mission, its promises to its customers, and how these are communicated.
A well-defined brand strategy can help a business achieve a number of goals, including:
- Building brand awareness: A strong brand strategy can help a business get its name and products in front of more people.
- Attracting new customers: A clear and consistent brand message can help attract new customers who are looking for the products or services that the business offers.
- Retaining existing customers: A good brand strategy can help businesses build loyalty with their existing customers, so they keep coming back for more.
- Increasing sales: A well-executed brand strategy can help businesses increase sales by making their products or services more appealing to customers.
Why is it important?
Brand strategy is important because it helps you build a strong foundation for your business. A well-defined brand can help you:
- Increase brand awareness: When people know what your brand stands for, they’re more likely to remember you and choose your products or services over the competition.
- Build trust and credibility: A strong brand can help you build trust and credibility with customers, which can lead to increased sales.
- Create a competitive advantage: A well-defined brand can give you a competitive advantage over other businesses in your industry.
Key elements of Brand Strategy
- Brand identity: This is the visual representation of the brand, including its logo, colors, typography, and overall look and feel.
- Brand positioning: This is how the brand is positioned in the market, relative to its competitors.
- Brand messaging: This is the way that the brand communicates its message to customers, through its marketing and advertising.
- Brand values: These are the core beliefs and principles that guide the brand.
A brand identity helps to create a memorable and distinctive brand. A strong brand identity can help a company to stand out from the competition and attract new customers. It can also help to build brand loyalty among existing customers.
Tips to create an strong brand identity:
- Do your research: Before you start creating your brand identity, take some time to research your target audience. What are their interests? What are their values? What kind of imagery appeals to them?
- Be clear about your brand’s purpose: What do you want your brand to achieve? What kind of impact do you want to have on the world? Once you know your brand’s purpose, you can start to create an identity that reflects those values.
- Be consistent: Your brand identity should be consistent across all touch points (like websites, social media, advertisements etc.) This means using the same colours, typography, and imagery in all of your marketing materials.
- Be creative: Don’t be afraid to be creative with your brand identity. Use colors, typography, and imagery that are unique and memorable.
- Be authentic: Your brand identity should be authentic to your company’s culture and values. This will help customers connect with your brand on a deeper level.
Make sure all the decisions have an intent behind them. Is the logo memorable and follows the voice of the brand? Are the colours used consistently across all marketing materials and branding elements? Is the typography easy to read and does it complement the brand’s colours and values?
Don’t hesitate to go back on your decisions in the later stages of a project. The overall look and feel of a brand’s identity should be consistent with the brand’s message. It should be visually appealing and should create a positive impression of the brand. Do not settle for anything lesser than that.
Brand positioning is the process of defining how a brand is perceived by its target audience. It is a key part of any branding strategy, as it helps to create a unique and memorable identity for the brand.
There are four main types of brand positioning:
- Competitive positioning: This type of positioning involves positioning the brand against its competitors. For example, a luxury car brand might position itself as the “best car in the world,” while a budget car brand might position itself as the “most affordable car on the market.”
- Product positioning: This type of positioning involves positioning the brand based on its product or service offering. For example, a coffee brand might position itself as the “best-tasting coffee in the world,” while a clothing brand might position itself as the “most fashionable clothing brand.”
- Situational positioning: This type of positioning involves positioning the brand based on the situation in which it is used. For example, a cold medicine brand might position itself as the “best cold medicine for when you need to get back to work,” while a pain reliever brand might position itself as the “best pain reliever for when you need to get through the day.”
- Perceptual positioning: This type of positioning involves positioning the brand based on how consumers perceive it. For example, a luxury car brand might position itself as the “brand that everyone aspires to own,” while a budget car brand might position itself as the “brand that everyone can afford.”
Big companies always position their brands to deliver consistent products or services in line with it. For example, Apple is positioned as a premium brand that offers high-quality products and services. The company’s products are often more expensive than those of its competitors, but Apple customers are willing to pay a premium for the brand’s reputation for quality and innovation.
Nike is positioned as a performance brand that offers athletic apparel and footwear. The company’s products are designed to help athletes perform at their best. Nike’s target audience is athletes of all levels, from casual weekend warriors to professional athletes.
Starbucks is positioned as a premium coffeehouse brand that offers a unique and inviting experience. The company’s stores are designed to be comfortable and relaxing, and the baristas are trained to provide excellent customer service. Starbucks’ target audience is coffee lovers who are looking for a more upscale coffee experience than they can get at a traditional coffee shop.
Brand messaging is an important part of any brand’s marketing strategy. By carefully crafting its brand messaging, a brand can create a clear and consistent message that resonates with its target audience.
Some tips for creating effective brand messaging:
- Start with your brand identity: What do you want your brand to stand for? What are your core values? Once you know your brand identity, you can start to develop your brand messaging.
- Be clear and concise: Your brand messaging should be easy to understand and remember. It should be short and to the point, without being too wordy.
- Be consistent: Your brand messaging should be consistent across all touchpoints. This means using the same messaging in your marketing materials, website, and social media.
- Be authentic: Your brand messaging should be authentic to your brand’s identity and values. This will help customers connect with your brand on a deeper level.
Creating a brand message is not rocket science. It just needs to make sense. Let’s look at a few brands to understand how this works.
Swiggy: Swiggy’s brand messaging is simple and straightforward: “Food is what brings us together.” This messaging reflects the company’s mission to connect people with food and make it easier for them to enjoy delicious meals with their loved ones.
Zomato: Zomato’s brand messaging is more playful and engaging: “Food is our passion, your satisfaction is our priority.” This messaging reflects the company’s commitment to providing a great dining experience for its customers.
Urban Company: Urban Company’s brand messaging is focused on convenience: “Get anything done, right at your doorstep.” This messaging reflects the company’s mission to make it easy for people to get the services they need, without having to leave their homes.
UpGrad: UpGrad’s brand messaging is focused on education and career growth: “Empowering people to learn, grow, and achieve their dreams.” This messaging reflects the company’s mission to make high-quality education accessible to everyone.
Nykaa: Nykaa’s brand messaging is focused on beauty and empowerment: “Empowering you to look and feel your best.” This messaging reflects the company’s mission to help women feel confident and beautiful.
Brand values are the core beliefs and principles that guide a brand. They are what the brand stands for, and they are reflected in everything the brand does, from its products and services to its marketing and advertising.
Brand values are important for a number of reasons. First, they help to create a sense of identity for the brand. When consumers know what a brand’s values are, they can better understand what the brand stands for and whether or not it aligns with their own values. This can lead to stronger brand loyalty and advocacy.
Second, brand values help to guide the brand’s decision-making. When faced with a difficult decision, the brand can refer back to its values to help make the best decision for the brand and its customers. This can help to ensure that the brand remains consistent and authentic over time.
Third, brand values can help to attract and retain customers. When consumers see that a brand’s values align with their own, they are more likely to be drawn to the brand and to stay loyal to it over time.
There are a number of different ways to define brand values. Some common examples of brand values include:
- Quality: This value emphasises the importance of providing high-quality products and services.
- Innovation: This emphasises the importance of being creative and innovative.
- Sustainability: This value emphasises the importance of operating in a sustainable way.
- Integrity: This emphasises the importance of being honest and ethical.
- Community: This emphasises the importance of giving back to the community.
The specific brand values that a brand chooses will depend on the brand’s target audience and its overall goals. However, all brands should have a clear set of brand values that they can use to guide their decision-making and to connect with their customers on a deeper level.
Let’s again see some examples to understand how brands set their value how they follow through.
Nykaa: Nykaa’s brand value of empowerment is reflected in its marketing campaigns, which often feature strong female role models. The company also offers a wide range of beauty products that are designed to help women feel confident and beautiful.
OYO Rooms: OYO Rooms’ brand value of convenience is reflected in its easy-to-use app and website, which allow users to book hotels and homes with just a few taps. The company also offers a variety of amenities and services that make it easy for guests to get the most out of their stay.
CRED: CRED’s brand value of community is reflected in its social media presence, where users can connect with each other and share tips on how to improve their financial health. The company also hosts regular events and meet-ups where members can come together and learn from each other.
By carefully defining and articulating your brand values, you can create a more authentic and compelling brand that will resonate with your target audience.
How to implement brand strategy?
Once you’ve defined the key elements of your brand strategy, you need to implement it across all aspects of your business. This includes your website, marketing materials, customer service interactions, and even your employee uniforms.
Start with your brand identity: What do you want your brand to stand for? What are your core values? Decide and design the identity of the brand. Once you know your brand identity, you can start to develop your brand strategy.
Be clear about your target audience: Who are you trying to reach with your brand? What are their needs and wants? Once you know your target audience, you can start to tailor your brand strategy to their specific needs.
Once you are sure about what and who you are serving,
- Create a brand style guide: This document should outline your brand’s identity, including its logo, colours, typography, and tone of voice.
- Develop a marketing plan: This plan should outline your target audience, your messaging, and your marketing channels.
- Create content: This content should be consistent with your brand identity and should be tailored to your target audience.
- Measure your results: Track the results of your marketing campaigns and make adjustments as needed.
I’ve said this and will say it again. Keep these things in mind throughout the design process:
- Be consistent: Your brand identity, positioning, messaging, and values should be consistent across all aspects of your business. This will help to create a strong and memorable brand.
- Be authentic: Your brand should be authentic to your company’s culture and values. This will help customers connect with your brand on a deeper level.
- Be measurable: Track the results of your brand strategy and make adjustments as needed. This will help you ensure that your strategy is effective.
Creating a strategy is not a one person job. You need different perspectives and insights for an effective and efficient process. Get buy-in from your team: Your brand strategy will only be successful if everyone in your organisation is on board. Make sure to communicate your brand strategy to your team and get their buy-in.
Last but not least, be patient: It takes time to build a strong brand. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Be patient and consistent with your brand strategy, and you will eventually see results.