Brand building is a thoughtful process that helps you create lasting connections with your target audience.
A great digital marketing strategy can help your business achieve its goals, but without a solid brand, you’ll have to work twice as hard to prove that you’re the right choice. With a brand strategy in place, your company name alone can help you make sales.
Consumers want to buy from companies they trust. When they’re searching for a new product or service, your brand can be the reason you win them over. If you want to start gaining ground against your competitors, keep reading to learn what a brand is and how to build a complete brand strategy.
What is a brand?
A brand is the complete experience—including the name, logo, tagline, and feelings—that customers associate with your business. Essentially, it’s how people perceive you, beyond just your brand colors or online reputation.
Think about Apple, Nike, or Coca-Cola. There’s a good chance you can recognize each of these brands based on their logo, and you can probably even think of three words to describe each.
For example, Apple is known as innovative and modern with a minimalist approach. Whether they’ve purchased from the brand in the past or not, consumers are willing to pay the premium price for Apple products because people see the brand as high-quality. They may also feel like they’re part of an exclusive group when they’re seen using Macs, iPads, or iPhones.
As you can see, powerful brand names can evoke a sense of trust or at least create an instant positive impression. Buyers quickly identify leading brands as those that they can trust to provide high-quality goods or services—and to right their wrongs if any issues occur.
So how can you take control of consumer perceptions and build a brand as strong as Apple or Starbucks? It all starts with a brand strategy.
The importance of brand strategy
You may have heard that a brand is a company’s most valuable asset. While this may be true, not every company has a valuable brand. Your branding strategy is the game plan that builds trust and differentiates you from your competitors, so you can drive up your profits. This strategy will allow you to shape your brand instead of letting your target audience define it on your behalf.
One crucial role of a brand strategy to help you maintain a consistent customer experience. It outlines what you stand for, how you communicate, and how a shopper can identify you. With this master plan, you get your entire team on the same page, so customers can know what to expect every time they choose you—an essential ingredient for building brand loyalty.
As your brand strategy helps your good reputation grow and more customers come to trust your brand, you may find yourself gaining new leads thanks to the strength of your brand. After all, 89% of U.S. consumers will return to a brand because they share values, and the majority will choose brands that they know will treat them right.
Beyond helping your brand resonate with your target market, having a strategy in place will set clear guidelines for your team’s future decision-making. Your team will better understand what marketing messages are appropriate to send and what consumers want from them. As a result, your company’s actions will always align with your brand identity.
Building a successful brand strategy
Your brand strategy is just as necessary as your business plan. It’s important not to rush through your brainstorming process, as this strategy will have a big impact on how you and your team members present your brand. To get the results you desire, take time to think about each component of an effective brand strategy, which we’ll guide you through below.
1. Brand purpose
The first step to brand building is identifying why you exist, beyond your desire to profit. This element of your strategy is particularly important for modern consumers, 79% of which feel greater loyalty toward purpose-driven brands—some even to the point of being willing to come to their defense.
Your brand purpose should outline the “why” behind your business. Think about what drives your business and how your products or services can make a difference in the lives of consumers.
Dove is a commonly cited example for great brand purpose. While the company doesn’t have an outright purpose statement, its consistent campaigns focused on “real beauty” prove its commitment to building the confidence of women and girls. This promotional video is an excellent example of how Dove translates this part of its brand strategy into its marketing.
2. Target audience
Next, you need to identify the people your brand is speaking to. No business can appeal to everyone. You need to narrow down your target audience, so you can build the rest of your brand strategy with them in mind.
When defining your audience, you want to do more than list their demographics. You’ll also want to consider their motivations, buying habits, and values. Think about what their pain points are and how you can fulfill their needs. Do thorough research as you’re defining your potential customers. Getting it right can help you target your marketing in a more effective way than your competitors.
3. Brand positioning
Once you have your purpose and audience defined, the direction you want to take for your brand positioning will be much clearer. Your brand positioning is essentially your value proposition—the benefits you want your customers to know you provide. What makes you trustworthy and relevant in their lives?
For this element, you’ll also want to consider what makes you different from your competitors. Again, do thorough research, this time to understand the value your competitors provide and how your brand can offer something more.
4. Brand identity
This part of your brand strategy includes all the indicators that consumers can use to identify your company. This includes the visible parts of your brand—such as your logo, name, tagline, and brand colors—as well as your brand voice and overall reputation. When you define your brand identity, you’re outlining exactly how you want shoppers to see you.
The non-visual elements of your identity are crucial for defining your brand messaging strategy. Your brand voice and personality will guide your customer support team to create a consistent experience and guide your marketing team to send on-brand messages.
Of course, don’t underestimate your visual identity. In just 10 seconds, consumers can form an opinion of your logo. After as little as five impressions, they will remember your brand based on its logo. Creating a style guide can keep your look as consistent as your purpose.
5. Brand story
Encouraging buyers to develop an emotional connection with your brand often relies on a compelling brand story. This element of your brand strategy is a narrative that ties your full brand together, summarizing everything from its purpose and mission to how it got to where it is today. It should also touch on why and how your brand continues to serve its target market.
In addition to further shaping your brand messaging strategy, your story should help build relationships and customer loyalty. This story is often what’s shared in the “About Us” page of your website and can help your leads choose you over your competitors.
Take your brand further
With a strong brand strategy behind your business, you can start to shape how the world sees your company. This strategy will become an effective guide for all of your team’s decision-making processes, so you can continue selling a consistent brand story.
When you pair your brand strategy with brand management and marketing efforts, you can pave the way for more leads and new customers to find you. Learn how to implement an effective brand management process to continue your journey to growth.