How to create the right brand strategy?
Updated: Jul 6
What is a brand strategy and why do we need it? To be strong in something, we need to come up with a plan. Even in football, a plan for how to score a goal is thought out first, and then action is taken - this is what is needed in a brand as well. A strong brand creates loyal customers, loving employees, more revenue, better visibility and more trust for the company. However, brand strategy is the foundation of a strong brand. No brand can be strong without a good plan. In this blog, we talk about what needs to be done in order for the strategy to be good.
If you don't know who you are, why you exist, what you believe in or what you want to achieve, your business will suffer. From customer communication issues to employee retention, a lack of brand strategy causes problems at every level of the organization.
If you don't have a brand strategy…
You don't understand your purpose, vision, mission or values, so you make marketing and business decisions that don't reflect them.
Your team is divided by disunity, confusion, and conflict, making it difficult for employees to feel connected and engaged.
You don't have a single brand message, so your content is inconsistent at best and contradictory at worst. Therefore, it is difficult to attract people who share your values (customers, employees, etc.).
You can't articulate your brand clearly and as a result you can't stand out in the market.
In short, without a brand strategy, you lose.
What kind of team do you need to build your brand strategy?
A brand strategy cannot be built alone. You need a brand team to create, review and bring it to life at every level of your organization. Without this designated team, your work here is likely to fall by the wayside or fizzle out. Luckily, you don't need to hire a lot of people to build your brand team. You can even have a team of two if both people can fill these important roles.
What to know before starting a brand strategy
If you're starting your branding strategy from scratch (or trying to do things "right" this time), there are two key pieces of information you need to know beforehand. (If you've developed your business strategy, you already know them.) They are:
1) Who are you for?
Who are you trying to sell to? What do they need/want? How are their needs not being met?
In order to create a brand strategy that helps you truly connect with people, you need to know exactly who you're selling to. Knowing who they are and how you try to serve them can actually bring clarity to who you are (like the heart of your brand) and how you interact with them.
2) Who are your competitors?
Who is sharing your space? Who are you going to compete with for attention? How can they beat you? This is invaluable information to help you identify who you are and who you are not, how you fit in or stand out, and how you can communicate your differences through your brand strategy
How to create your brand strategy?
Follow these steps in sequence (as each one builds on the previous one) and you'll end up with a comprehensive brand strategy that will help you share your story impactfully and efficiently across every touchpoint.
Part 1: Find the heart of your brand
Every brand has core beliefs that influence everything they do. We call these beliefs the heart of your brand. It is imperative to know what these principles are and why they are important, as they have a powerful force that can actively support or sabotage your business. When your brand beliefs and business are aligned, you can successfully bring people together, grow community and create the future you want. If you don't have beliefs (or those beliefs are toxic), you can easily become alienated from employees as well as customers, and damage your culture and make decisions that derail your long-term goals.
The heart of your brand consists of four elements that help you explain who you are, what you do, and why it matters.
Purpose: Why do we exist?
Vision: What kind of future do we want to create? What does the future look like?
Mission: What are we doing here? How do we create that future?
Values: What principles guide our behavior?
Part 2: Formulate your message
Now that you've deciphered the heart of your Brand, you know who you are. Next, you need to come up with your brand essence (how to express who you are) and your brand message (how to talk about who you are). By documenting these elements effectively, you can ensure that your brand communicates honestly, authentically, and consistently.
Create the essence of your brand
The essence of your Brand consists of You:
From the voice
From tone Identifying these elements may seem daunting, but it's not tedious. Your nature is inherent. It does not have to be produced; you just have to dig it out with some intention and decipher it for yourself.
1) Identify your personality. Your personality is basically the human qualities of your brand. Are you curious and enthusiastic? Elite and sophisticated? Wild and crazy? Your personality is a reflection of the heart of your brand, influenced by your beliefs and demonstrated by your behavior. Once you have an understanding of your personality, you can incorporate it into every aspect of your brand, from your customer service process to your product descriptions. This is a powerful way to differentiate yourself and develop relationships.
2) Identify your brand voice. It's the way your brand sounds and speaks. Remember that every brand's voice is unique. A brand of yogurt does not speak like a brand of car, and one brand of car sounds different than another. Your personality already influences your brand voice; you just need to articulate it so you can communicate consistently in your content.
3) Identify your tone. The tone of your brand is basically your overall attitude. Your voice may be authoritative, but the tone is respectful. Think of your brand voice as how you speak, and your tone as how you speak in different contexts. You always use the same voice, but you can change your tone depending on who you're talking to.
By articulating your Brand Essence, you've laid the foundation for communicating who you really are at every touchpoint, from your site's pop-ups to your Twitter feed. (The brands that do this best are the ones we love the most — no matter what they're selling.)
Create your brand messages
There are many ways to communicate who you are, what you do, and why people should choose your brand over your competitors. In executing this brand strategy, we start with the most basic messaging: your value prop, tagline, and message pillar.
1) Formulate your value principles. Your value proposition is a concise explanation of both the functional and emotional benefits your product or service provides to customers. It's not just who you are and what you do differently (your positioning); it's also how you solve their problem and why they should choose you over the competition. You can also think of it as a promise of what your customer will get when they buy from you. If you want your brand to succeed, you need to have an answer to this question before anyone else asks it. From now on, all your messages will support and reinforce.
2) Come up with your tagline. Your tagline is a sentence, phrase or word used to summarize your market position. Coming up with a great tagline isn't like in the movies. Most companies don't have a Don Draper to just feed you the perfect line. It's usually a long brainstorming session and iterations.
3) Identify the pillars of your messaging. The pillars of your messaging are the core stories you want to tell about your brand – what makes you unique and different. Every piece of content you create should reinforce these key messages across all touchpoints.
Depending on your brand's needs, you may want to formulate additional messaging elements, including: Brand Promise, Brand Story, Manifesto/Compact, Origin or Founder's Story, Elevator Pitch
Part 3: Design your visual identity
When most people think of branding, they think of a brand's visual identity: the logo, colors, typography, and other elements that act as the "face" of the brand. Now that you've crystallized your heart and messaging, it's time to visualize it with the basics.
Flexible: It should be able to grow with your brand, whether you're venturing into new products, services, or even new industries.
Comprehensive: It should provide brand designers and content creators with the tools they need to do their jobs properly.
Intuitive: It should be intuitively designed and well constructed so that each element complements each other.
Note. Depending on your brand, you may need to expand your visual identity over time. If so, you may want to consider adding additional visual elements instructions.
A good logo is a memorable logo, and research shows that the most memorable logos are the simplest logos. Yes, you want it to reflect your brand, but keep it simple if you want it to make an impact. You also need to consider how people visually process images and assign meaning to them, as research has found that people attribute different attributes to different images.
Typography is an extension of your logo; so let's start with logo design first. However, typography is more important than ever as people consume words in multiple mediums. That said, something that works on your packaging may not work well on your website, so it's important to consider not only how your typography aligns with your brand, but also the many applications it will be used for.
Color is one of the most powerful yet mystified elements of branding. Research shows that it can influence everything from brand perception to purchase intent, but it's a bit of a tricky science. Not all colors evoke the same things in everyone because our associations with colors are highly subjective.
Images are more important than ever because so much of your brand is communicated through visual media. Whether you choose photography, illustration, or a combination of both, everything should fit your brand.
Developing a unique illustration style is a smart way to visually brand your content, but don't go overboard. You want a style that is clear, distinct and on-brand. Also, don't mix styles or mix illustrations with visual clutter.
Photography is an efficient and versatile tool that takes less time to design. However, you need a clear aesthetic to align with your brand. You should also consider the resources available to you. Fortunately, there are many sources to choose from. Börsisaidid (tasuta): Internetis on palju tasuta kvaliteetseid stockfotosid ja saate hõlpsalt luua ainulaadseid kujunduslahendusi, mis muudavad maheda pildi teie brändi tutvustavaks fotoks. (Pexels, Unsplash ja StockSnap.io on suurepärased kohad alustamiseks.) Veenduge, et oleksite selgelt määratlenud selliste asjade nagu filtrid, disainitöötlused, eraldusvõime jne. Pildilitsentsid (tasulised): on mitmesuguseid fototeenuseid, mis võimaldavad teil litsentsida fotosid eraldi või tellimusena. Nende kuvamine teie konkurentide saidil on väiksem, kuid see võib siiski juhtuda, kuna igaüks saab neid osta. Kui soovite seda teed minna, vaadake Shutterstocki, Adobe Stocki ja Alamy. Kohandatud (tasuta või tasuline): elame loomise kuldajastul tänu kõigile kättesaadavate loominguliste tööriistade hulgale. Saate tellida fotograafia või lasta oma meeskonnal sellega tegeleda, kui neil on oskused ja tööriistad kõrge eraldusvõimega piltide loomiseks.
Part 4: Create Your Brand Guidelines
Your brand guidelines act as a playbook for how to use your brand, especially in the content and communications you create. Maintaining quality and consistency can be a challenge, especially when working with freelancers or outside agencies. So your brand guidelines should include enough guidance to empower each creator to do work that strengthens the brand, not weakens it.
To ensure your brand guidelines are comprehensive, include guidelines for both your visual and verbal identity.
How to bring your brand strategy to life?
Now that you've completed the entire brand strategy process, you can applaud yourself. Thanks to all your hard work, you officially have all the tools you need to communicate your brand story, align your brand and business, and build the lasting relationships necessary for long-term success. In order to effectively implement your brand strategy in the future…
-Create content that aligns with your brand.
-Learn how to create your own content. Find out how to improve your content.
-Tell your brand story at every touchpoint.
-Maximize the reach of your content.
Building a brand is a very long and lifelong process that must be constantly monitored and demonstrated to customers. The results won't come overnight, but it's worth all the effort! In order to create a healthy brand, we recommend that you consult with professionals who will certainly be happy to help you. We ourselves will be more than happy to help, because our goal is to bring as many successful and healthy Estonian brands as possible to the Estonian and foreign markets!