8 Essential Tips for building a strong brand strategy

The Brand.  The brand strategy you adopt needs to be well planned and tested before being formulated and optimized as per your set goals. This may sound overwhelming, but don’t stress! Here is a list of Nine essential tips that you should consider for designing your branding strategy to reflect your brand achievements directly.

We’ve all heard someone say, “What Brand is it?”  That means something and to establish that credibility and loyalty is paramount.  There is much more to brand strategy than a brand spanking new logo.  Branding, simply put, is procurement of an audience.  It is a complex process that involves several critical factors.  From producing to advertising, brand positioning, SEO, The Buyers Journey, but the true core of branding, is learning and developing a connection with the audience your brand will attract.

You may look out for shortcuts to increase your brand presence. Let’s look at 8 key tips for establishing a brand strategy.

1. Clarity

It doesn’t always need to be loud but clear, but it does need to be clear and concise. Craft your message.  One of the main aims of the company should be identifying, understanding and digging deep into your target audience. Most successful brands have devoted themselves to procuring knowledge about their customers and their needs within the specific time frame.

Optimization of a brand is likely when you know your audience thoroughly. With this knowledge, gauge into ways that make these connections more manageable and more robust. Customer services play a vital role in finding a grip and constantly letting your customers know that you care.

Your content marketing strategies should be aligned to encompass all your target audience. Be it Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, make the best use of these sites to market your product and reach a larger audience consistently.

Image of branding strategy outline and example.
via Olya Kobruseva

For instance, you may own an eCommerce business and seek to increase your target audience through social media sites such as Instagram. One can use these sites for brand promotions, endorsements, and even advertisements. To increase your followers, and in return, to increase your target group, you can come up with exciting offers or strategies such as influence giveaways, polls contests, and quizzes. It increases the hype surrounding your account and, therefore, increases your brand’s reach.

2. Dependability

Your audience can always depend on your brand delivering solutions to their needs. To define your brand’s values, pose specific questions and clearly answer:

– Can your audience depend on you?

What message, images and stories are your brand delivering that connects with your audience consistently.

– Are you trustworthy?  Likeable?

Everyone likes a winner but we also like real stories from real people.  Be honest and let them know you care.

– What impact do you have on your industry? Society? Community? Your Team?

Your brand represents awareness you have in your industry, community to your team members who grow with you.

– Why do people need to choose your business or product over the competition?

You can have hundreds of products, but there will rift in the market if all of them provide the same service. Here it would be best to define how your product is different from the rest and its edge over its competitors.

For instance, Amazon is a multi-network company that has, through its products and services, proclaimed to be one of the best online shopping websites where millions of people make purchases, making it a strong E-commerce network.  They are not perfect in their distribution, but they maintain consistency, and customers can depend on efficiently returning their order.

– How does your business empower others?

This can include empowering your employees, customers, or other small-scale businesses that rely on your business. Your business should be able to inspire your counterparts and open new experiences.

3. Market Position

Know your position in market.  The first important aspect of branding is to understand where you stand within the crowd. Knowing your position enables you to improvise. Remember, there’s always room for improvement. To know this, you need to answers this question:

– How do customers perceive your brand?

Do they understand your brand’s values, the story, the ups and down, or even, the failures or miscues? 

-How do customers perceive your industry?

Image of icon that looks as it the brain is working like a machine with gears icons.

They might have various opinions, and you might have a different take altogether. A fall in business usually occurs due to a disconnect from brand to audience.  Most of the time, building a bridge between the brand creators and the audience requires knowledge of what you up against.

To understand this relationship, you could design surveys, feedbacks reviews from your customers to know their thoughts and use the same data to help re-brand awareness.

-How does your competitors track in your market?

“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”  No, we do not approach our strategy like The Godfather, glaring at competitors as the enemy, but more of a collaborator.  Knowing your competitors social posts, affiliation partners and engagement will help better prepare your campaigns.

We’ve all heard of Nike and Adidas, right? Rivals that survived in the market for over decades. This is because of the uniqueness that these brands possess. They have developed a “taste” for what their customers are looking for and that feel and look is presented in their branding campaign.  They know their audience that well.

4. Crafted Slogan & Logo

BMW- “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”  A strong slogan and logo have been said to be essential features that help your brand reach higher. A logo is a symbol to represent your company, while a tagline is a phrase or a statement that reflects the primary goal of your company.  With so much mediocrity out there, having a professional logo and specific tagline to directly engage with the audience has a huge impact.  

A well-designed tagline and a logo are not only symbols to a brand’s credibility, it also can speak directly to the audience.

BMW Logo and slogan for example of this section of blog

For instance, when you think of brands like Starbucks, Apple, Nike, or BMW, what first comes to your mind is their logo which makes that unique and recognizable?

But what makes it so important?

– A strong tagline and logo gain some strong attention from the crowd.

– Creates an excellent first impression and strong impact.

– It forms the foundation of your business.

– People may not remember you, but they will remember the logo and the tagline.

– They reflect the goals of your company.

– Establish an identity to your brand.

– Helps you differentiate from your competitors.

– You hold a patent for it.

– Essential for every brand strategy.

5. Cultivate Your Culture

Have clear and concise values for your culture.  By doing so, you are filtering what’s good and what needs improvement. So, when you focus on building your brand’s culture, you are better prepared to face any questions that comes up. By knowing the culture of a brand, you are able to better resonate with the culture. It’s about addressing to the audience the why, when and how you got here.  People love to connect with real people and real stories. 

Where and what type of trade shows and events would your brand attend?

Types of social media platforms align with your culture?

What are the needs and desires of your audience?

Does your culture have a more serious tone, warm and fuzzy or lifestyle?

Define what your culture is, what events and media sites that help position your brand and build a communication within the culture.

Once you filter and target this crowd, adding a solid value proposition should be the next goal on your list. For instance, the motto of WhatsApp is “No ads, no games, no gimmicks,” this summarizes that one can use text, voice call, video call their loved ones in one app, and it’s all ad-free. This is adding value which has attracted millions of audiences to WhatsApp.

6. Loyalty

If you already have a brand established or you need to get started, loyalty becomes a vital role in engagement.  Let your people know you are listening. 

Connections between you and your audience are essential for a healthy, sustainable long-term business goals. Find ways in which you connect to your audience in more emotional and sensible ways. Your audience should feel wanted and appreciated.

via Ashutosh Sonwani

You may have a loyal customer base, but what have you given them in return?

Come up with VIP offers, discounts, seasonal sales, birthday month offers to make your relationship better and stronger with your customer base. Extend loyalty rewards, offer incentives and reward them for their business. 

For example, Walmart makes it easier for customers to shop online or through their stores. They have solely indulged in creating high conversation rates that attract customers towards their basket values. By selling things cheap, affordable and efficient, they develop a sense of understanding for their customer’s needs.  They recently launched Walmart +, opening up a new avenue to reward their customers’ loyalty.

Here are a few ways to increase connections with your customers.

– Learn about your customers- gather data such as demographics, birthdays, passion, and likes.  Use “Insights” for analytics, Google Analytics for website data, etc.

– Personalize communication- make one-to-one communication more straightforward and more manageable.  Comment, direct message to strike up conversation.

– Create polls to ask your audience and survey.

– Focus on customer feedback- good or bad, improvise always.

– Be honest- tell them about your improvement and updates.

– Customer knowledge- educate your customers with information and resources.

– Customer rewards- to capture confidence.

7. Relevance

Your brand should be relevant with the audience and anticipates evolution.  Be relevant, but also, be consistent in your brand strategy. If you are inconsistent, your engagement becomes less relevant.  Even the slightest change in your product or service can alter your customer’s thoughts and perception of a brand.

Image of older image Pepsi Cola bottle cap
via Izabella-Bedő

Marketing and advertising strategies have to be consistent, along with your message. If your company is engaged in external offline work, let your online member know about it.  Have all team members maintain the brand image with a company Brand Kit.  Promote your brand business through online content marketing strategies such as blogs, podcasts, auto-post scheduling for social media posts on timely manner.  Regularly managing and priming your social presence should also be maintained.

There should be consistency in the tone of a brand across online and offline modes. If your brand is full of humor and fun on Instagram, it should have the same personality on Facebook and other social media sites.

For instance, KFC offers consistency with their secret ingredients.  Yet, no matter which state you are in, the service, pricing, and most importantly, the flavors will most likely be consistent at every KFC you visit.

8. Originality Counts

This may be last on our list but should be first on yours. Building a community and engaging with that community not only requires a great message but an original one. Be original and set trends in the market that is geared towards brands that speak for originality and authenticity.

Mimicking others will not make you stand out from the crowd, provided you have a solid plan that could overtake the market. Another example, Thomas Cook Airlines was one of the top brands in the aviation sector. However, due to increased competition in the market, it collapsed with bankruptcy.

On the other hand, brands like UPS and FEDEX are rivals that have sustained in this competition. The former operates the world’s cargo airplanes, while the latter deals with ground vehicles with thousands of delivery trucks in operation. Though UPS is in a pleasant situation and remains dominant, both brands set a strong footprint in the international markets.

The bottom line!

Branding can be entitled as an art that can be learned by some but mastered by a few. It creates a legacy based on position, targets, connections, value, and relevancy.

You may look out for some more factors, but all these are cumulatively required to form a good structure and long-lasting business. Apart from that, you may feel that these aspects need to be considered only when venturing into a new business. But it is essential to learn that these crucial features remain valid throughout the company’s age and should be in working throughout your brand life.

Since you are now aware of these critical factors, your next step is to include them while designing your branding strategy. Following these steps can build a niche that helps you be consistent and flourish within the business environment and give a tough fight to your competitors.

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