Developing a solid brand strategy is one of the most beneficial choices you can make for your business.
More than just a business plan, your brand strategy is your North Star. It serves as a guiding principle for your business goals, marketing strategies, and communication efforts. This strategy acts as a secret ingredient that has the potential to transform and propel your company to new heights.
So, how can you tackle the complex process of developing a strategy that maximizes business value?
Here are five actionable steps to guide you.
Step 1: Discover Critical Insights
The first step to developing a successful brand strategy is to discover some fundamental insights. This is where we at Brand Lounge begin our approach with the “Discover” phase.
The aim is to understand where you currently stand in the market. The most effective way to do this is by conducting a brand audit of your existing strategy. This audit will help you gauge your current brand positioning in the competitive landscape and identify areas for improvement.
As part of your audit, review your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Then, determine how to communicate your revised strategy to your customers and measure its performance.
In addition, make sure to review your current purpose, values, vision, visual identity, marketing strategy, and all other touch points. By taking this step, you ensure that your strategy is optimal to drive success and maximize value for your business.
Step 2: Understand Your Target Audience
Knowing your audience inside and out is critical to crafting a robust strategy that resonates with them.
Who are they? What are their values? What are their needs, problems, and behaviors? Map out the customer journey and understand how your brand differentiates itself from competitors. Identify the touchpoints in your customer’s journey and optimize their experience.
Utilize the data and insights from your research to align your strategy with your target audience’s perceptions and demands.
Step 3: Uncover Your Purpose
With a clear picture of your market position and audience, you can now uncover your purpose.
Your purpose is not about what you do, but why you do it. Your company’s purpose is its raison d’être, its brand promise. The purpose should encapsulate why your company exists beyond just generating profits. It should also outline your business’s contribution to your customers and its impact on them and society.
Let’s take TOMS as an example. While they are a shoe company, their purpose transcends beyond selling shoes. For every pair sold, they donate one to someone in need. Their purpose is apparent: “With every product you purchase, TOMS will help a person in need, one for one.” This purpose defines TOMS and differentiates them in the marketplace. It also creates an emotional connection with customers who value social responsibility.
Step 4: Explore Areas of Differentiation
The next step involves delving deeper by exploring viable areas of differentiation. By understanding what sets your company apart and where you play, you can carve out an ideal space for your business to capture a greater share of the market.
As part of finding your areas of differentiation, you will need to conduct a thorough market and competitive analysis to position your company for future success. The results will give you all of the necessary insights to find the ideal differentiators that will help your business thrive.
1. Differentiate Your Brand
After uncovering your areas of differentiation, it’s finally time to put them to work and decide which ones will be the most beneficial strategic decisions. The last phase of our methodology to develop a brand strategy is to ‘Differentiate.’
Differentiation involves carving a distinct space in the market landscape and customers’ minds, allowing you to gain a competitive advantage. When differentiating your brand, you need to define the unique value your business provides to your customers. In addition to figuring out what makes your product/service different, you need to think deeply about your brand culture and innovation quotient.
Your brand culture is the set of values and beliefs your company shares with its customers, employees, and stakeholders. The culture will, without a doubt, impact your company’s performance and perception. Your innovation quotient measures how quickly and fully your company can respond to customer needs and meet upcoming opportunities.
Embracing innovation can open up fresh opportunities by introducing incremental improvements to your business model. For example, if you run a coffee shop, you might add new varieties of coffee drinks and sell coffee beans.
2. Differentiate your Brand Identity
Developing a differentiated brand identity goes beyond visual elements. It is a visual representation of your brand strategy and communicates your differentiators to your audience.
Your visual identity should reflect your purpose, values, and what sets you apart. It needs to be strategic, memorable, functional, and, above all, authentic.
Everyone loves a good story, and your brand should have one. Your brand messaging is an integral part of your brand identity and overall strategy. This should be an engaging narrative that does not only focus on your company’s history; it should ideally reflect the values, experiences, and aspirations that define your brand. A well-articulated brand narrative fosters emotional connections and cultivates loyalty among your audience.
Step 5: Activate, Monitor, and Refine Your Strategy
After you have developed a holistic brand, designed the brand identity, and outlined the steps for brand rollout, it’s finally time to bring your brand strategy to life across all customer touch points.
It is imperative to remember that crafting a brand strategy isn’t a one-off exercise. Your strategy is a dynamic plan that needs to be regularly monitored and refined in line with evolving market conditions and customer feedback.
In our work at Brand Lounge, we focus on four key elements of differentiation when developing a brand: purpose, innovation, culture, and image. Each of these elements plays a critical role in the multi-dimensional world of a brand to define its unique value proposition and differentiate it from competitors.
Creating a robust brand strategy takes time, effort, and expertise, but the payoff can be monumental. It can lead to a strong brand that resonates with your target audience and fosters sustainable growth.
With our tried-and-tested three-step methodology and an unwavering focus on strategies that deliver results, we’re committed to helping you find your ideal point of differentiation.
Are you ready to take the next step in maximizing value? Contact us if you would like to develop or refresh your brand strategy.