A brand strategy is an engine behind any excelling business. The process of how to develop a brand strategy can be quite time-consuming and exhausting. Having said that, the merits of executing a good brand plan are countless. To start that journey off, this guide focuses on everything a business owner needs to develop an exciting brand plan that best resonates with his/her goals.
Brand strategies are quite flexible. They can be easily adjusted to fit one’s type of product, service or even concept. Rising companies often make a mistake by working on their brand strategy too early, without prior market research or solid foundation of their strong points.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: Getting Started
While beginning the long haul to the well-established brand name is always tempting. Starting too early or without proper paperwork can lead to hideous results. Before business owners and young entrepreneurs take any steps into how to develop a brand strategy, they must understand the basis of any business formation.
The criteria for evaluating brand strength and the characteristics each functional company should acquire to create a good brand name for itself. Moreover, a typical brand strategy highlights the business, communications, content, and audience’s needs. In addition to that, brand strategies have to elaborate and include detailed researches on everything the company will stumble across in its early phases.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: Brand Definition
Brands by definition are products, services or concepts that distinguish between different businesses. A brand is a company’s identity which the public can easily understand and communicate with. While the brand determines everything down to the product or the services’ name.
Branding as a process is the creation of the name and the identity which will define the product, service, or concept as well as its marketing. A brand is typically expressed in the form of logos. Yet, the entire process of this asset is more complex than that.
For instance, the company or brand should be secured by a trademark issued from a legitimate agency. To establish a trademark or a service mark, a company has to make sure that no one else has its identical name. This is a much-needed step that most companies seek the help of a law firm to do.
Also, the creation of brands should always be carefully prepared and researched. Not only because it represents the visual element of a company; but, also, the founding base of the company’s status in the market. According to the Economist, “Brands are the most valuable assets many companies possess. But no one agrees on how much they are worth or why.”
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: Characteristics of a Good Brand
How do business owners decide whether their brands are on the right track or not? The characteristics of a successful brand are almost identical regardless of the type of product or services of that brand.
Sometimes the market itself doesn’t make a big difference either. The following points constitute as managers and owners’ checklist to achieving a great brand reputation.
Knowing the Target Audience
Understanding the targeted segments is a crucial element of being successful. Good research on the audience’s needs and priorities allows brands to speak to them better and reflect on their needs and wants.
Showing a Clear Promise
Nothing is worse than confusion. So, how can brands gain the audience’s trust? By being frank, that’s how. Showing a clear message or promise at all times facilitates the brand-customer relationship big time. It enables businesses to set their foot in the market easily since it’s not fighting for trust.
Having a Unique Proposition
Adding on the clear promise point, each brand must strive to set itself apart from similar products or services in the market. Finding a special proposition or a niche and stressing on it is key to standing out among the crowd.
No matter what a business does, if it’s being consistent, then, it’s not winning. Brands, especially those aiming for greatness, realise the importance of maintaining a good pace of work.
Customers do not want to hear rigid marketing slogans or watch lame product advertisements. Storytelling has long been used as a humorous way to introduce brands and to market for a product or a service. It’s a popular method in ads because it familiarises the customer with the brand in an informal way.
Increasing Engagement Tools
Responsiveness is very efficient while figuring out how to develop a brand strategy. It is a good indicator of a company’s activeness with the audience. It boosts the company’s image and reflects its strength and openness to complaints and suggestions.
Also, it allows people to trust the brand and perceive it as fun and interactive. Many brands have directed their digital marketing efforts to create goofy and light campaigns to enhance their engagement rates on social media.
Staying true and standing on a solid base of ethics and regulations is probably the strongest element a brand can have since it establishes a ground for a great reputation.
What Determines Brand Strength or Equity?
Brand Equity Definition
There are several viewpoints to selecting brand equity. Firstly, the financial perspective which prioritises the value of its branded product versus the prices put in front of consumers. The next perspective is much lighter, as it’s concerned with the impact the brand leaves on the audience and whether it can pave the way for an extension of other products or not. Thirdly, a more customer-oriented perspective that embraces’ their impressions, thoughts, need and how they perceive and respond to the brand.
Brand Equity Research Goals
Next, when brands conduct equity search goals, they are usually targeting one or several of the following topics: tracking, monitoring changes and increasing brand power. Each type of research has its own methodology. For instance, when targeting brand tracking, companies must pay attention to how the competitors are doing. The other two types, on the other hand, need extensive mapping and assessment measures.
Minding Customer Attitude
A great way to measure brand equity is by focusing on the consumer experience. In other words, professionalism can tell a lot about the strength of a brand from the customer’s attitudes toward it.
The Components at Hand
This point differs between brand types and strategies. However, the measurement requirements are fixed. Brands should utilize the impact of their traditional and digital advertising campaigns to determine the correct ‘brand equity’ value. For example, it’s advised to pay notes to the customer’s awareness of the brand, its an online and offline reach, and level of interaction with the public.
Customers are prone to love and appreciate a certain product after having tried it. However, this is not a solid rule. Advertising can play an integral part in conversions. All in all, product differentiation, is a highly respected asset that brands seek. It’s one of the most vital measures for determining brand equity.
Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches Equally Matter
Qualitative and quantitative work, one doesn’t go without the other. Conducting surveys, focus groups or taking testimonials will always help with determining the brand equity. These methods of data collection not only allow brands to produce proper analyses but also facilitate any consumer-related decision-making process. It can potentially revoloutionise brand strategies.
Brand Strength Examples:
There’s a variety of successful examples of strong brands in the market today. These companies have managed to correctly build a foundation for themselves in the market and in the hearts of consumers. Here are their measuring criteria:
- The German market research company,GfK, states in its “brand assessment model” measures quality, brand awareness, points of uniqueness, sympathy, and trust. They calculate their economic success with the “share of market”, and the “share of soul” (i.e., the brand attractiveness from a consumer’s point of view).
- Next, international advertising company BBDO, exclaims in its “Brand Equity Evaluator” the significance of measuring awareness levels, distribution numbers, quality, brand personality, uniqueness, and trust.
- Moreover, New York-based information and measurement company, Nielsen, measures its brand attractiveness, distribution, consumer acceptance degree, and level of awareness, to get the most accurate estimation of brand strength.
- Finally, BrandTrust, a marketing consultant based in Chicago, likes to separate between the dimensions of awareness and attractiveness and then evaluate and work to improve them. BrandTrust poses a valid point since awareness never actually translates into attractiveness.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: Brand Strategies Definition
According to HubSpot, a brand strategy is a plan that includes particular, long-term goals to be achieved hand in hand with the evolution of a brand. As stated by HubSpot, there are seven crucial elements to help with how to develop a brand strategy:
What does this business aim to do? What is its brand positioning? Brands with clear purpose work better towards achieving a successful brand strategy. There are two kinds of purpose that brands target.
- Function: this method focuses heavily on immediate and commercial reasons. In other words, how to make more money, more quickly.
- Intention: Contrary to the functional purpose, the intentional one works to ensure monetary as well as a social success by making a good difference in the world.
Also known as focusing solely on what matters. Being consistent enables business owners to dodge distractions and only take meaningful decisions that will add up to the company. Ensuring consistency in each step can cumulatively build a strife brand reputation and improve the awareness and attractiveness levels big time.
Depending on the nature of each product or service, brands can play well with emotions in order to increase sales. For instance, there’s a great fascination associated with Coca-Cola’s campaigns, but frankly speaking, no one knows when did a soda drink become accompanied by immense feelings of joy and happiness? This is how successfully emotions can be an integral part of a brand strategy and eventually a great selling point, too.
In a fast-paced world like today, social trends can change on a daily basis, lots of products get in and out in a flash. For these reasons and more, keeping brands flexible, relevant, and creative is the best protection against this turbulent market.
This is why fun digital campaigns are starting to become the primary method to attract new customers. Also, brands have shifted to unconventional advertising solutions such as product placement and corporate social responsibility (CSR) sponsorships and programs.
While having a module to follow is good, getting the employees involved in the application of that module is even better. Since employees are the true representation of the brand, it’s important that they, too, understand and apply the ethics and internal ‘teachings’ of the company they’re representing.
A famous example of excellent employee placement is how businesses heavily relying on consumer experiences like Uber, who now uses GIFs and other humorous images to respond to followers on social media. This shows the little steps a company can take to further improve its employee involvement and also increase their brand attractiveness.
Rewarding loyal customers are often undermined. A successful strategy never fails in including those to contribute to the brand’s image and reputation. Plus, loyalty is always sought to keep a good proposition in the market.
When determining how to develop a brand strategy, studying the competitors’ advantages and niches are vital to brand development. It allows businesses to improve their strategies, pose greater values or pricing, understand the low points of the competitors and trying to compensate it.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy in Ten Steps
Developing a brand strategy can be easy. This easy-to-follow ten-step guide summarises everything business owners should put into consideration.
Business Strategy Constructed
Brand strategies are obedient followers to business strategies. Simply put, the nature of a business strategy determines the direction and the goals of a company. Thus, it’s the ultimate way to start implementing the company’s path. Successful brands rely on the foundations they’ve put in their business strategy in any given decision-making process.
Target Audience Identified
Understanding the needs and mindset of the target audience is the key to achieving high profits. Why? Because businesses that have gotten a good glimpse of their customers priorities and now understand the best methods to speak, convince and sell to them. The narrower, and more detailed the segment is the easier it is to analyse it.
Target Audience Researched
Dedicating a decent amount of research to understanding the target audience; their needs, behaviors, and opinion about the brand helps with producing better decisions in the brand strategy. Since the research will enable the brands to view matters from the client’s perspective, it will reduce the risk probability and increase reach drastically.
Brand Positioning Developed
The previous points pave the way to correct strategic brand development. However, brand positioning alone is capable of differentiating a brand among its competitors. In other words, brand positioning or market positioning answers all the questions a prospective investor or client might think when trying to get familiarised with the brand.
The typical positioning statement is usually three-to-five sentences and it mainly attempts to incorporate the brand’s essence. It should include the brand’s promise, motives, and perhaps a dash of vision.
Messaging Strategy Developed
Next, aligning the brand messages with the decided upon strategic points. The messages conveyed should be understandable and meaningful to potential clients, employees, stakeholders, to name a few prospects. The beauty of a brand messaging strategy is that it can be extremely flexible depending on the kind of recipient.
The language and tone used on social media will definitely differ from the one used on outdoor billboards. While working on a strategy, it’s good to note that brand responsiveness is among the top valuable elements in any messaging strategy.
Name, Logo, Tagline Developed
Making sure that the brand’s name, logo, and tagline are fit for what the company is trying to convey and where it seeks to position itself is essential. Name and logo irrelevance or inappropriate tagline can be disastrous. It wouldn’t hurt to conduct some research and a couple of surveys to come up with the best name and logo.
Content Market Strategy Created
Just as there are special conditions that go into creating a business strategy and a brand strategy, the very same applies to content marketing strategies. Content is the endpoint of long research and numerous KPIs and objectives, therefore, they have to be carried out and executed perfectly to achieve the desired goals.
Content, the basis of messages, are used to attract potential customers, nurture current ones, reflect the ethics and goals of a brand and improve reputation and visibility.
Having an up-and-running website that complements your brand identity is an excellent way to improve reach and strengthen the company’s reputation. People can tell a lot about the functionality, the coherence and the spirit of a brand from its website.
Successful business owners use websites to their advantage by stressing on key messages for prospect clients and audiences alike. Also, websites are great outlets for showing off that storytelling aspect of the brand; where it started, where it is headed, what does it do.
Another technical perk to having a good website is the strength of its search engine optimisation (SEO).
Market Toolkit Built
Summarising your key markets served and core service offerings in an easy manual is a much-needed tool. This enables brands to share their essential values and unique propositions in a concise manner.
Also, this allows the brand to travel faster and reach more people, more easily. Whether in the form of a pamphlet or an e-brochure market toolkits come in handy, always.
Assessment and Tracking
While developing a brand strategy is a mega task in itself, it cannot work alone without constant implementing, tracking, assessment and modification, whenever necessary.
Think of the brand strategy as a constantly evolving asset. Surely great intentions and research will not suffice it. In order to ensure the best assessment possible, create an easy-to-handle measurement strategy to always maintain on top of things as business gets harder and more hectic.
Only then, business owners have the needed information and Intel to take grand decisions and make the correct adjustments and the right conclusions to help their businesses strive.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: How Do I Brand My Product?
Much like time, market trends are always changing. Brands struggle to maintain on top of trends and not swept sideways by their constant demands. As per Entrepreneur.com, there are eight elements that will speed up the branding process of a company.
First, getting a kicker of a logo – logos are very expressive. A great logo will save lots of time, effort and money on the marketing process.
Here’s how to design a good, modern logo:
Secondly, get your brand messaging straight. As priorly mentioned, messaging are as important as wrapping paper to a Christmas gift. It complements, adds value, and excites the recipients.
Next, Integrating the Brand
The concept and mission of the business should be highlighted in the brand image. It should be integrated into each step the company takes; even if it’s just giving a comment to a local journalist.
Fourth, Establish a Brand Voice
Having a brand voice is a great method to unify the written and visual content of your brand. It can potentially signify the brand among other competitive companies in the market.
Fifth, have a concise, but meaningful tagline. The easiest way to conceptualize a tagline is by summarising the key concepts, mission, and vision of a company in one short sentence. This sentence is the tagline sought after. And also, pure gold.
Sixth, create design templates and brand standards. Continuing with the efforts to achieve brand unification, creating several design templates using the brand voice and goals or a guide of standards that reflect the company’s ethics is a good way stabilise the brand’s status in the market.
Seventh, stay true, at all times. Maintaining integrity all the way is one of the binding elements for creating a successful brand, at several stages.
Finally, consistency. The step that no brand should ever neglect at any point of its business. Regardless of the nature of the company’s short or long-term goals, being consistent will allow the brand to achieve better numbers and retain a good reputation.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: The Four Branding Strategies
Not all brands market for the same purposes. Having a solid brand strategy to lay on during decision-making processes is something companies aspire to reach. Therefore, marketers understand the several branding strategies templates and how they enable businesses to strive.
Brand Positioning (Attributes, Benefits, Beliefs, and Values)
Attributes are basically descriptions of products or services; even alone they constitute a good marketing positioning. However, lots of brands stick to this straightforward approach that it has become super dull and unattractive unless combined with a couple of other approaches.
Benefits, on the other hand, are exactly what customers are looking for when checking out a new brand. What will this product do? How is it helpful? Is it worth the money? These are a sample of the questions the brand should be answering. Perhaps, this is the most commonly used approach to brand positioning to date.
Thirdly, a deeper perspective that enriches brand and gives them a personal preference; beliefs and values. The audience will always pick out sentimentalism over materialism, that’s why the more professional brands realise that winning people’s hearts is essential for a strong brand positioning.
But because this heavily relies on emotions, brands should pay great attention to the messages they conveying and the visuals they’re using. A simple mistake in this area could devastate the company and ruin the brand’s reputation for quite some time.
Brand Name Selection
Picking the right name can be tricky. In order to avoid as much confusion as possible. It’s better to note these common issues:
Select a name that can be easily translated into foreign languages. Steer clear from funny or senseless translations that can potentially ruin your reputation overseas.
Don’t choose a name that’s too narrow. Rising companies and start-ups who are still expanding their businesses shouldn’t select a limiting brand name.
A brand name should be easy to read, pronounce, and remember. Avoid complicated names or names that are often misread.
Go for Distinctive
Before choosing the name, double check if some other company has it anywhere around the world. Check again to see if this will be a picker in the future. Nothing’s more frustrating than when people mix between irrelevant companies just because they share an identically-pronounced or a similar-looking name. Unique brand names are definitely a great asset to the business.
Pick a name that means something to the company itself. This is a great tip that unconventional marketers and brand managers live by. When a company selects a name that resonates with its beliefs and values, it maintains a great deal of truth to its essence.
Brand Sponsorship (Manufacturer’s Brand, Private Brand, Licensing, Co-Branding)
First off, a manufacturer’s brand product is a product sold under the brand name. It’ by definition the “Common practice where a manufacturer markets a good or family of goods under its own brand name(s). The objective is to attract and retain satisfied customers whose loyalty may be transferred to the manufacturer’s other products.”
As for private brands, also called distributor brands or own-labels, they’re products sold by manufacturers to resellers. In addition to the previous two options, licensed brands have steadily become a more convenient solution for manufacturers. Since it enables them to obtain attractive celebrity or character names such as Disney, Mickey Mouse, Pink Panther, and more.
Finally, co-branding. The popular practice where two brands of different companies join forces and produce one product together. This method is often seen as very attractive to consumers, especially if the two brands are well-acknowledged in the market.
Brand development is simply how the brand is shaped over time. The image and the functions of each brand can grow and develop every once and in while. Brand managers and strategists should make room for their companies to nourish. That’s why brand development should take a huge chunk of any good brand strategy.
Number one, line extension. As priorly stated, brands take new forms and increase their product lines after each successful period of operations. Line extension is the affordable tool businesses use to introduce new products without confusing the audience in any way since they place them under the same brand name.
Moving on to brand extension. This method, too, uses the same existing brand name to launch a new product category. What this trick does is familiarise the consumers quickly with the new product and rely on the brand’s well-established reputation. Moreover, this way, the product is welcomed into the market and doesn’t face the usual risks and threats any newly launched brand or product may face.
As for multi-brands, it’s the combination of several brands together in a certain product category (e.g. Procter & Gamble). The beauty of this practice is that it allows companies to spread widely in the market to suit the needs and the varying values of the consumers. Multi-brands cut down the number of competitive companies and create a dynamic workflow that is as hard as it is lucrative.
Lastly, new brands. Sometimes a company seeks a fresh start or a fresh perspective when their old brand name starts losing its sparkle. Establishing a new brand name is a popular solution to introduce a new product category in the market. Not to intersect with brand extension, companies with great brand names seek an extension. As opposing to poor brand names who direct their efforts into creating new brands.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: Brand Development Definition
In management dictionary, brand development is the process of retaining the consistency of a brand in terms of quality, trust, and value that customers find in the company. Brand development is the process of creating and strengthening your professional services brand.
The Four Phases:
- Having a Brand Strategy – How companies introduce themselves to the market. What are the risks and pitfalls that should be avoided? And how to maximize communication and brand exposure? The strategy should be aligned with the business objectives.
- Brand Identity – How this company presents its vision, mission, values, and beliefs. It should show in everything from its written content to use of visual elements and ads.
- Graphic Design – Coming up with a unique, attractive design to distinguish one company from another and influence the consumer’s perception. Successful brands pay a great deal of attention to the details put into their logo, tagline, and website.
- Organising Brand Management – Following up, reporting, managing the investments, eyeing the progress of the brand and more.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy?
“Brand building is the process of using marketing strategies to enhance the relevance, shape the reputation and boost the visibility of a firm’s brand. It is often considered a strategic marketing priority that impacts the growth and profitability of the entire firm,” definition according to Hinge Marketing.
Here are several vital points to boost brand building:
- Prioritise Referrals: How do starting businesses increase referrals? Simple. It’s all about clear placement among the target audience and presenting the brand’s objectives and vision and highlighting the brand’s niche.
- Generate Leads: Referrals, too, help with generating new leads. Marketing towards attracting new prospects is essential.
- Work on Business Development: How to approach more prospects, attract potential convert, and seek more investments? It starts with a detailed business development that leaves little to chances.
- Watch Billing Rates: How much money are branding consultants deducting?
- Who’s on the Team: Recruiting can be a hazard. However, an efficient team is probably the key reason for a company’s success. The larger brands invest in their recruited talents the greater the growth they can achieve later.
- Value Right: The aforementioned points enable business owners to guarantee a premium valuation. As briefly explained by divestopedia, “It is the excess in value that a buyer estimates for a company compared to its peers in the same industry.”
How Do You Create a Brand Awareness Strategy?
Brand awareness is a strong asset that is always sought for. This elaborate guide from Getambassador explains how business owners can secure good brand awareness rates by applying the following steps into their strategies.
Step one: Efforts to Target Specific Audiences
The best efforts directed toward increasing brand awareness should be divided into targeting these two segments. The first one being current customers who pay attention to the brand messages whether by following the website, the social media outlets or other communication platforms.
However, the second segment is where all the efforts count. When the brand includes potential customers and their desired target audience in their message they increase the brand awareness rate heavily. This can be amplified via digital media sponsored posts, social media campaigns, CSR projects, and TV ads.
Next: Search Result Re-targeting and Brand Recall
Retargeting is where technology really kicks in. It is a type of digital ads that target users who have visited or interacted with a brand’s website or social media channel. This method is used to maximize brand recall and attract new consumers. It can be adjusted by approach these four types of users:
- People with preliminary brand awareness.
- Those who have previously visited the website.
- Users that have opened an email.
- Those who have previously searched for the brand/product by name.
Step Three: Prioritising Social Customer Engagement
Social customer engagement is no longer optional for successful brands. Having an up-and-running queue of social media channels is a great way to ensure that the brand is interactive and responsive. Why are marketers stressing on the vitality of being present on social media?
- Allows businesses to tailor better experiences for their customers.
- Attracts prospect consumers and entices them to engage with the brand.
- Paves the way for building a strong base of loyal brand followers.
- Keeps brands on top of things. Allows a bit of storytelling and brand awareness, too.
- Help turn potential leads to profit.
Bonus Tip: Brand Awareness Strategy Can Lead to a Better Return on Investment (ROI)
This mix between combining efforts to target a specific segment of the audience, using search result retargeting ads for brand recall, and prioritising social customer engagement provide the brand with an inclusive plan to raise its brand awareness in the market, and ultimately, increase ROI.
This combo is most beneficial when merged with continuous processes of data collection and analyses. Since the brand’s numbers of brand loyalists, direct sales and digital reach and interaction will increase, the ROI will do as well.
To improve the ROI even further, Entrepreneur advises that brands follow these six points religiously to maximize their results:
- Approach social media influencers and get them to endorse the brand or its product on their platforms.
- Use special, branded packaging that speaks on behalf of the brand.
- Never neglect the SEO research and always make sure the brand’s website is ranking well.
- Pay extra attention to how social media channels are doing. Do not miss changing the profile image and the cover photo with each on-going digital campaign.
- Twitter is important. All brands maintain a good image on Twitter and sometimes engage in humorous brand battles by mentioning each other.
- Use Google AdSense auto ads to your advantage.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy: Words for Brand Makers
Developing a brand strategy is perhaps the most serious task business owners will have to make. It practically controls the past, present, and the near future of the brand. So, each step counts.
Lastly, a couple of reminders that will never fail to elevate a brand’s performance or boost a current strategy.
Number One, Having a Deep Understanding of Business Needs
This ultimate advice is priceless and whenever a company suffers from a certain shortage or glitch, one can always trace it back to how the person in charge understood what the business needed at that incident.
Number Two, Don’t Skip on Social Media
Digital media outlets have become the primary source of marketing and advertising. Everything else is just history now. Regardless of the target audience, the brand is seeking, having a proactive social media presence will only improve the brand’s reach, sales, and more.
Number Three, Value the Team
Your team members are the first brand ambassadors for your brand. Their effort is what keeps the brand alive. Keep them aligned with the business’ strategy and goals to always direct their hard work in the right place. Invest in employees as much as possible to help them excel in the tasks they do for the brand.
Finally, Follow Trends in Moderation
Running blindly towards social media or market trends can be very tempting. However, no good can come from following a temporary ‘trend’ without proper research and evaluation. Make sure the brand’s positioning is always correct to avoid any mishaps. These are the most practical tips on how to develop a brand strategy. So, Good luck!