How to Build a Brand Development Strategy
— May 8th, 2021
What’s in a brand? Not to be mistaken for a logo, for most organizations, their brand is the way in which they connect with their customers. It’s how they show the world who they are and what they do. Establishing that connection and gaining consumer recognition is all about developing an effective branding strategy.
8 Top Tips & Insights for a corporate and personal brand development strategy
Here are four branding strategies that will help you to create a genuine connection with your customers
Clearly present your brand values
Compelling figures from Harvard Business Review indicate that 64% of consumers are looking to form relationships with organizations that share similar values. The challenge is identifying what your values are and then portraying those values in the products you develop, the services you offer, how you treat your customers, how you treat your employees.
Brands like MAC Cosmetics have taken the competitive cosmetic market by storm with its focus on diversity and individuality. Its tagline or motto “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes” resonates with consumers around the globe and its branding and marketing strategy reinforces that ethos through clever advertising such as its MACnificent Me campaign which focused on six ‘everyday’ people.
Be consistent with your brand messaging
Once you have identified what your brand stands for and how you are presenting your brand to the world, you need to ensure that your organization is consistent in that messaging. A survey by Demand Metric reveals that brands that present themselves consistently are three to four times more likely to achieve excellent brand visibility. On the flip side, brands that are inconsistent with their messaging can experience confusion in the market (71%).
In order to ensure consistency across your brand, it’s a good idea to create a set of brand guidelines. This manual should be shared with all relevant personnel and should include details of values, the tone of voice when communicating, logo and visuals, etc. Don’t forget to reinforce your brand guidelines in all communications, even in your internal communications with your workforce. It’s important for your brand to be visible and consistent both externally and internally.
Know your customer
A customer strategy should lie at the heart of any branding strategy. More than ever, organizations need to know their customers at a granular level – what they want, what their values are, how they feel about certain issues etc. A 2016 PwC survey showed that customer strategy is becoming more important to organizations with over 80% of executives saying their investment in customer strategy during the next three to five years would increase. This handy infographic showcases the 10 principles of customer strategy.
To really know your customer you need to draw intelligence from a wide range of sources: their interactions with you, their behavior, how they communicate with you, what channels they use, when they interact with you, where are they when they interact with you, and the list goes on. What you’re looking for is an insight into every aspect of their connection with your brand. Compiling all of this data can be simplified through the use of analytics and analyzing this data to develop a clear picture of the customer. This information will allow you to more effectively target them in the future with relevant content, information, products, and services.
Tap into customer emotions
Today’s consumer is looking for an emotional connection with a brand, and more and more consumers consider this emotional link as a higher priority than price. Emotional connections range from – a sense of belonging to something and feeling valued or recognized to feeling secure, and protecting the environment. Insightful research by Harvard Business Review revealed that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers, on a lifetime value basis.
Apple is often cited as a brand that has perfected the art of creating an emotional connection with consumers. Its simple, clean design, which has remained consistent over the decades, taps into the consumer emotion of wanting to be part of a lifestyle movement. Apple has achieved this through smart promotional tactics – creating a sense of excitement or mystery about its product releases, teasing consumers with what’s coming down the line and generating a hype that consumers want to be part of.
Storytelling can also be an effective way of creating that connection with consumers. Through storytelling, you can link with people’s memories, needs, emotions and engage with them on a deeper level. This infographic by OneSpot offers valuable insight into how storytelling affects the brain.
What are the elements of a brand strategy?
The first factor to consider when it comes to creating a brand strategy is to find the key purpose behind your business. Apart from being a source of income, most businesses possess a greater cause or intention. By gaining an understanding of what this purpose is for your organization, you can use it to your advantage and attract loyal customers, increase sales, and achieve faster growth.
Having a clear vision of the direction you want your business to move in will help you determine your goals for growth and what exactly you are hoping to achieve with your brand. After deciding on your vision, you should set realistic targets, and make informed and meaningful decisions about what you need to do to reach them. It’s key to create a vision that motivates you and your entire team, while still keeping it realistic and believable enough that people can get behind it.
Determining the core values of your business is the perfect opportunity to show customers, suppliers, and the general public what your brand really stands for. Having clear values and a unique philosophy will aid in helping your business gain a loyal following of customers who share the same ideals. By knowing what your business values are, you can ensure all important decisions are being made with them in mind, and that your brand remains consistent and true to itself.
To succeed in the market, you must have a solid understanding of your target audience. By possessing information such as your audience’s demographic and buying patterns, you will learn what resonates best with them. It can be helpful to build a profile of your average customer to make this target more specific. With this knowledge at hand, you can decide on the most effective methods to promote and market your brand to your audience.
Carrying out market analysis provides better insight into your particular industry and any opportunities that may be available to you. Conducting this type of analysis makes it easy to identify gaps in the market, your competitors’ weaknesses, and the steps you can take to make yourself stand out in the crowd.
Another essential step in brand strategy is focusing on how your business will gain the attention of potential customers. Setting awareness goals will allow you to devise the best methods to market your brand successfully. While setting awareness goals, you should focus on creating a budget for each marketing initiative to ensure you are using your marketing money wisely.
The best way to garner interest and build authentic relationships with the public is to give your brand its own personality that people can relate to. This is something businesses often neglect by failing to focus on what gives their brand individuality and character. If your brand has its own personality, it makes it more relatable and appealing to like-minded audiences.
After you have decided on your brand’s personality, the next course of action is to choose the appropriate tone of voice to accompany it. When doing this, consider your target audience and what particular tone of voice would most appeal to them when hearing your message. Once you have selected the tone of voice of your brand, you must ensure you use it consistently across all platforms and communication with the public
Composing a concise and catchy tagline is an effective method of telling your brand’s story in a simple way. When choosing a tagline, it’s essential to ensure it effectively represents and aligns with your brand and its vision.
Why is brand strategy important?
Brand strategy is important as it helps businesses to cultivate their brand, build a presence in the market, and communicate core values to their audience. Such strategies are also vital for understanding whether or not a brand is succeeding, as without it, determining what is working and what is not is often difficult.
Additional benefits of a brand strategy include:
- Helps identify weaknesses in brand experience
- Filters out ill-advised ideas that could damage brand-building efforts
- Creates accountability
- Allows people to connect with brands
- Achieves focus in marketing efforts
- Increases the valuation of businesses
- Helps designers and creatives work more effectively
- Puts everyone on the same page
Any organization hoping to cultivate a successful brand must realize the importance of creating an effective strategy to make this goal achievable. With a strategy in place, businesses can give their products/services leverage in the market, and find the right methods to make their brand one that is positively received among their audience.
Having a well-planned strategy will also ensure companies stay up to date on important trends and developments in the market. This type of knowledge allows organizations to identify gaps in the market, weaknesses in their competitors, and any opportunities for growth and expansion.
Most importantly, a branding strategy can be utilized to answer crucial questions such as what an organization truly cares about and what it hopes to achieve. With the answers to important questions such as these, businesses can determine their core values, the true message of their brand, and the best way to connect and build genuine relationships with their customers.