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How To Excel in Your Brand Strategy For Sustainable Growth

Every minute is a barrage of questions – where to live, what to drink, who to meet, where to study, and the big one, what to buy. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Having a brand strategy for sustainable growth can help you and your target audience have better choices.

From the cereal aisle to the streaming services on our screens, we’re swamped with options. But here’s where a strong brand strategy can be a game-changer. It acts like a lighthouse in a sea of choices, providing a sense of familiarity and trust amidst the noise.

A well-crafted brand strategy doesn’t just benefit your brand by helping it stand out in a crowded market; it’s also a lifeline for your customers. It guides them through their buying decisions, turning what could be a stressful shopping experience into a satisfying one.

What is Brand Strategy?

David Aaker, a pioneer in brand strategy, once said, “Branding adds spirit and a soul to what would otherwise be a robotic, automated, generic price-value proposition.” 

This underlines the importance of brand strategy.

Brand strategy is a comprehensive, long-term plan that serves as the guiding light for your company’s future. 

It’s not merely about a captivating logo or a memorable tagline. Instead, it’s an all-encompassing approach that combines your company’s mission, vision, and values. It’s the blueprint that directs how these elements are communicated to your audience, thereby shaping their perception and experience of your brand.

Importance of Having a Brand Strategy

Having a brand strategy is like having a secret recipe for your business’s success. It’s a blueprint that guides your actions and decisions, helping you navigate the complex world of branding. Here are some of the major benefits of having a well-defined brand strategy:

  • Consistency: A brand strategy ensures that your brand is presented consistently across all platforms and touchpoints, creating a cohesive brand experience.
  • Differentiation: It helps you define what sets your brand apart from the competition, giving you a unique position in the market.
  • Customer Loyalty: A brand strategy can foster customer loyalty and advocacy by creating a brand that resonates with your customers.
  • Brand Equity: A strong brand strategy can increase your brand equity, enhancing the perceived value of your products or services.
  • Guided Growth: It provides a roadmap for your brand’s growth, driving your business decisions and helping you achieve your long-term goals.
  • Increased Visibility: Brands with a consistent identity are more likely to be noticed and remembered, increasing brand visibility.
  • Emotional Connection: A well-crafted brand strategy can create an emotional connection with your customers, making your brand more relatable and memorable.

A brand strategy is an investment in your brand’s future. It’s the foundation upon which you build your brand, shaping its identity, growth, and customer relationship.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Your target audience provides a clear window to your brand strategy. That’s why this step is one of the first things to do. You can look into the following to get a clear picture:

  • Demographics – age, gender
  • Geographics – location
  • Psychographics – motivation, values, beliefs, behaviors. 

This deep understanding enables you to craft a brand that truly resonates with the people you’re trying to reach out to. By then, you will not only meet your audience’s needs but also align with their values and aspirations.

This understanding also serves as the foundation of your marketing initiatives. It helps you tailor your messages, choose the proper communication channels, and create experiences that truly engage your audience. It’s about reaching your audience where they are, speaking their language, and connecting with them on a deeper level.

Brand Identity Development

Brand identity development is akin to creating the face of your brand. It’s the tangible, visual manifestation of your brand’s essence, encapsulating elements such as your logo, color scheme, typography, and imagery. Each element is crucial in conveying your brand’s personality and values to your audience.

A robust brand identity is more than just aesthetically pleasing; it’s a harmonious, cohesive ensemble that consistently communicates your brand’s message. For instance, creating a unique and memorable logo is critical to your brand identity. Platforms like BrandCrowd Logo Maker can help you design a professional logo that aligns with your brand’s vision and values.

Brand Positioning

Think of brand positioning, like finding a parking spot in a crowded lot. You want a spot that’s just right – not too far from the entrance, not too close to the cart return, and definitely not next to that car with the dinged-up doors. Just like that perfect spot, your brand needs to find its own unique space in the minds of your customers.

Brand positioning is your brand’s VIP (Very Important Position) in the crowded marketplace. It’s all about how your brand stands out and why customers should pick you over the rest. It’s like your brand’s own personal spotlight, highlighting what makes you different and why that difference matters to your customers.

There are a bunch of ways to position your brand. You could position against a competitor (like the David to their Goliath) based on price (the affordable choice or the luxury splurge), quality (the reliable, long-lasting option), and so on. The trick is picking a position that fits snugly with your brand strategy and hits home with your target audience.

So, whether you’re the underdog taking on the big guys, the budget-friendly choice, or the premium, top-of-the-line option, remember that your brand positioning is all about carving out a uniquely your space. It’s about finding your perfect parking spot in the bustling marketplace and ensuring your customers know exactly where to find you.

Brand Storytelling

Brand storytelling isn’t about spinning fairy tales or epic sagas. It’s more like connecting the dots to form a clear picture of who you are as a brand. It’s about crafting a narrative that weaves together your brand’s purpose, values, and personality into a cohesive and compelling story.

Think of it like a puzzle. Each piece – your mission, vision, and values – is part of the bigger picture. When you put these pieces together in a way that makes sense, you create a narrative that tells your brand’s story.

This narrative is a powerful tool for building a strong brand. It’s not about selling a product or a service; it’s about sharing who you are, what you stand for, and why you do what you do. It’s about creating an emotional connection with your audience, making your brand more relatable and memorable.

A well-crafted brand story can make your audience feel like they’re part of your journey. It’s about shared experiences, shared values, and shared aspirations. It’s about creating a bond that goes beyond the transactional and touches the emotional.

So, think about your brand’s story. How can you connect the dots to create a clear, compelling narrative? How can you make your audience feel part of your journey? Remember, a good story is worth a thousand sales pitches. So, start crafting your brand’s story today.

Brand Voice 

Imagine walking into a party. You hear a familiar voice from across the room, and instantly, you know who it is. You can’t see them, but that voice is so distinctive, so unique, that it can only belong to one person. That’s the power of voice, and guess what? Brands have voices too!

Your brand voice is like the vocal cords of your brand’s personality. It’s the tone, the style, and the words you use when communicating with your audience. It could be professional and authoritative, friendly and casual, quirky and offbeat, or anything in between. It’s all about expressing your brand’s character and attitude.

But why does it matter? Well, just like that distinctive voice at the party, a consistent brand voice makes your brand instantly recognizable. It’s like a sonic logo, making your brand stand out in the cacophony of the marketplace.

And it’s not just about being heard; it’s about being understood. A well-defined brand voice helps your audience get to know you. It makes your brand more relatable and more human. It’s like conversing with your audience, not just talking at them but talking with them.

Difference Between Brand Strategy and Marketing Strategy

While both are essential, brand strategy and marketing strategy serve different purposes. Brand strategy defines who you are as a brand – your identity, values, and purpose. It’s a long-term plan that guides all aspects of your business, including logo design and social media content.

On the other hand, marketing strategy is about how you communicate your brand to the world. It’s a plan that outlines how you will reach your target audience, what channels you will use, and what messages you will convey. It’s more flexible and can change based on market trends and customer behavior, whereas brand strategy stays consistent and irreversible over a long period of time. 

Examples and Tips on Brand Strategy

Let’s take a look at some of the top brands and the brand strategies they excel in:

  • TOMS – Brand Purpose: The purpose of TOMS is simple yet powerful – for every product purchased, they assist a person in need. This purpose, consistently communicated across all marketing channels, fosters a deep emotional bond with their customers.
  • Tesla – Brand Vision: Guided by a vision to be the most compelling car company of the 21st century, Tesla is driving the world’s transition to electric vehicles. This vision fuels their innovative product development, striking a chord with their target audience.
  • Patagonia – Brand Mission: Patagonia is on a mission to build top-quality products, minimize harm, and use business as a force for environmental solutions. This mission permeates their products, business practices, and marketing efforts.
  • IKEA – Brand Values: IKEA values affordability and functionality in design, aiming to make good design accessible to as many people as possible. These values steer their product development and marketing strategies.
  • Apple – Brand Positioning: Apple has carved out a position as an innovation and design leader. This positioning shines through in their products, marketing efforts, and customer experience.
  • Harley Davidson – Brand Personality: Freedom, rebellion, and individuality define Harley Davidson’s brand personality. These traits are echoed in their products, marketing efforts, and customer experience.
  • Old Spice – Brand Voice: Old Spice speaks with a voice that’s humorous, confident, and a touch absurd. This distinctive voice, consistent across all marketing channels, creates a unique and memorable brand experience.
  • Airbnb – Brand Story: Airbnb tells a story of belonging anywhere. This narrative, woven into their marketing efforts, creates an emotional connection with their customers.
  • Hermes – Brand Heritage: Hermes’s heritage is steeped in craftsmanship, quality, and tradition. This heritage is showcased in their products and marketing efforts.
  • Nike – Tagline: Nike’s tagline, “Just Do It,” is more than just a slogan. It’s a powerful expression of their brand philosophy, a call to action that resonates with their target audience and sets them apart from the competition.

Measuring Brand Strategy Success

It’s important to measure the success of your brand strategy to understand its effectiveness and make necessary adjustments. 

Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as brand awareness, recall, loyalty, and equity can provide valuable insights. Tracking these metrics can help you optimize your brand strategy and achieve your business goals.

Let’s take the example of Coca-Cola, one of the most recognized brands in the world, and how they measure their brand strategy success:

  • Brand Awareness: Coca-Cola uses various tools and methods to measure brand awareness. For instance, they conduct surveys in different markets worldwide to understand how many people know about Coca-Cola. They also monitor online and offline mentions of their brand. With a high level of brand awareness, Coca-Cola is often the first brand that comes to mind when consumers think of soft drinks.
  • Brand Recall: Coca-Cola has a high brand recall due to its distinctive logo, color scheme, and memorable advertising campaigns. They measure this by asking consumers to name soft drink brands from memory and noting how many people mention Coca-Cola.
  • Brand Loyalty: Coca-Cola has a loyal customer base, many of whom choose Coca-Cola products over competitors. They measure brand loyalty through repeat purchases and loyalty programs. For instance, they track how many customers consistently choose Coca-Cola products over other brands and how many participate in their loyalty programs.
  • Brand Equity: Coca-Cola has strong brand equity, as evidenced by its dominant market share in the soft drink industry and the premium price consumers are willing to pay for its products. They measure brand equity through market share data, pricing data, and customer loyalty metrics.

By regularly tracking these KPIs, Coca-Cola can understand the effectiveness of its brand strategy. If they notice a dip in any of these metrics, they can take corrective action, such as launching a new marketing campaign or improving their products. This ongoing measurement and optimization have been key to Coca-Cola’s enduring success as a global brand.

Challenges in Brand Strategy

Creating a successful brand strategy is not without its challenges. It requires a deep understanding of your brand, customers, and the market. It also requires consistency and commitment, as it’s a long-term plan that should guide all your business decisions. However, with careful planning and execution, these challenges can be overcome, leading to a strong and successful brand.

Consider the case of Nokia, a brand that faced significant challenges in its brand strategy:

Nokia, once a dominant player in the mobile phone industry, faced significant challenges in its brand strategy with the advent of smartphones.

  1. Understanding the Market: One of the key challenges Nokia faced was a deep understanding of the market. When smartphones started gaining popularity, Nokia failed to recognize the shift in consumer preferences toward these new devices. They continued to focus on their traditional mobile phones, which led to a decline in their market share.
  2. Consistency and Commitment: Nokia’s brand was associated with durability and reliability. However, as they tried to catch up with the smartphone trend, they released a series of products that were inconsistent in quality and performance. This inconsistency damaged their brand image and led to a loss of customer trust.
  3. Long-term Plan: Nokia’s brand strategy lacked a clear long-term plan for the smartphone era. They switched operating systems multiple times, from Symbian to Windows and finally to Android, causing confusion among customers and developers.

However, Nokia has been working to overcome these challenges:

  1. Understanding the Market: Nokia has invested in market research to better understand consumer preferences in the smartphone era. They have recognized the importance of features like camera quality, battery life, and app ecosystems in the current market.
  2. Consistency and Commitment: Nokia has committed to improving the quality and performance of its smartphones. They have focused on their strengths, such as durable design and long battery life, to provide a consistent brand experience.
  3. Long-term Plan: Nokia has adopted Android as its primary operating system, providing a clear direction for its product development. This decision has helped them attract more app developers and offer a wider range of apps to their customers.

Through careful planning and execution, Nokia is overcoming the challenges in its brand strategy and rebuilding its brand in the smartphone market.

Final Thoughts on Brand Strategy

The brand strategy provides a roadmap for your brand, guiding all your actions and decisions. It helps you create a unique identity that resonates with your customers and sets you apart from the competition. So take the time to develop a strong brand strategy – it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Remember, your brand strategy is a living document. It should evolve as your business grows and changes. Regularly review and update your strategy to ensure it remains aligned with your business goals and the changing market conditions.

In the end, a successful brand strategy is about more than just business. It’s about creating a brand that resonates with people on an emotional level, a brand that people can trust and believe in. So, go ahead and start crafting your brand strategy today. Your brand is worth it.

This is a guest post by Pamela Dionisio. Pamela is an Outreach Specialist at BrandCrowd – an online creative marketplace that offers logo design services.