Brand Strategy: 4 Steps to Start Developing a Successful One
Branding comes down to telling your own story in a compelling, earnest and consistent way. We all enjoy a story that captures our attention and inspires us to act, especially when there’s a lesson to be learned that makes us better than before. When you share your story with the world, you need all those elements, plus an excellent brand strategy to steer your storytelling in the right direction.
What Is Brand Strategy?
Brand strategy comprises of a company’s set of rules on do’s and don’ts, a set of goals to be achieved, and a game plan on how to go about achieving those goals. The most essential part of your brand strategy is being true to who you are. Your brand strategy should reflect who you are, what you do, and what you believe in. It’s about acting in a consistent manner towards your stakeholders and wider audience.
Brand Strategy Influences the Entire Business
The strategy of your brand influences more than just your social media content calendar, marketing campaigns, and your visual style. At its core, brand strategy impacts everyone: customers, employees, shareholders and new hires. A well-defined strategy affects every aspect of a business, and people can tell when there’s a coherent brand strategy being deployed.
Things fit together, messaging is clear and in line with operations, and there’s a consistent tone in everything you hear, see, and read. The opposite is also true – when brand strategy is messy and incoherent, people can tell right away. When people align with what you do and see your value, you’ll keep attracting new audiences. They’ll buy from you, invest in you, tell all their friends and if, or when, they’re in the market for a new job, you’ll be top-of-mind.
People look for brands that are innovative, fair, and consistent. They want to see the positive impact these brands are having on society. It can be very enticing to create a brand identity and strategy that reflects on who your company wants to be while ignoring who you really are. Don’t make this mistake. Your people are smart and will see right through any fraudulent green-washing and blue-washing attempts.
To Create a Great Brand Strategy, Consider the Following:
- How does your brand talk? (Voice)
- How does your brand act? (Personality)
- What’s your brand’s story and overall mission? (Reason for being)
- What are your values? (Why should people care?)
- What problem are you solving? (How are you making a difference?)
- How are you different from your competitor? (What sets you apart from competitors?)
Each department plays a role in bringing your brand strategy to life. Your best brand strategy will stem from figuring out how to tap into your consumers’ emotions and, if you’re lucky, it’ll also help you outshine your competitors.
4 Steps to Get Started on Your Brand Strategy
Let’s now look at the four necessary steps to drafting your best brand strategy yet:
1. Take Your Time
First, think hard about and develop a brand strategy that you can apply long-term. It’s ill-advised to gloss over this first step and jump straight into the “good stuff”. Resist the urge to try things out and implement ideas too early in the process and remember that a solid brand strategy will make your life easier in the long run. Ever heard of “scope creep”? It’s the idea that everything you do should be tied to tangible results. Your every move should have a strong intention behind it. When you’re not in-line with your brand strategy, you’re wasting valuable resources.
2. Have a Clear Purpose & Promise
What’s your reason for doing all this? Do you have a story, a mission, and a vision? Defining these crucial aspects that are unique to your business helps you clarify your offering to customers and your plan to deliver on these promises. Brand sentiment, or how people feel about your brand, is one main metric for measuring brand success. Do people see you as you see yourself?
Document all this information in a brand book so that everyone in your organization knows what your company stands for.
Beautycounter is a skincare company with a mission to supply safer products to all. The founder and CEO, Gregg Renfrew, launched the company because of her passion around eradicating harmful ingredients in everyday products. She also worked towards updating the outdated legislation that governed the industry. The brand formulates safer beauty and hygiene items that contain none of the 1,800 ingredients used by other beauty brands, that have been proven to be harmful.
Beautycounter’s strategy is not just delivering safe products, but they also embrace a core pillar of education and advocacy. They educate the public on this need for change, and their use of awareness has led people to become activists. Embedded in Beautycounter’s DNA is a brand strategy to fight for positive change.
3. Tap into What Makes Us Human
People are hardwired to relate to each other. We love details and we crave personality. Part of brand strategy is figuring out how to present your company in a relatable way, and getting your employees involved. Make sure everyone is trained on the brand’s core values, tone of voice, and mindset. The more human you can be and the more emotion you can elicit from your target audience, the more successful you will be!
Alaska Airlines is the fifth-largest airline in the United States that prides itself on delivering low fares with genuine, caring service. Its strategy is likely rooted in how a segment of their target audience is surfers and hands-on, spontaneous people, and wanderlust travelers who are highly likely to jump on a good deal.
Back in November 2019, Alaska tapped into a creative way to “speak” to its audience. With the launch of Swell Deals, Alaska partnered with Surfline (a global surf forecasting website) and offered discounts based on the height of waves in Hawaii. The bigger the wave that day, the bigger the discount. People paid attention, and the Swell Deals campaign drove bookings and earned nearly 1B media impressions.
4. Have a Long-Term Plan & Be Willing to Adapt
Netflix is a brand we’re all familiar with. If you’re looking to stay relevant, you’ve got to think about your brand strategy long-term, but you also need to adapt accordingly. Some ideas may work one season and be entirely useless the next. Originally, Netflix was an online DVD rental business that specialized in niche indie films, the same ones you probably skipped at Blockbuster. Netflix gave these films a fighting chance.
Remember when it mailed you DVDs to your house? Netflix built its business around individualized and curated movie recommendations based on what you watch and love. Over time, it grew into something larger. Now Netflix is a streaming service, film production company, and film distributor.
The lesson the company has taught us is to carefully evaluate feedback regularly, so you know when markets, environments, audiences, and your competitors have changed.
Once you know your business and brand identity, use your brand strategy to effectively share your story and do business with the world. If you look closely, you’ll notice that behind every powerful logo, there’s a clear brand strategy that drives success. By following the four steps outlined above, you’re sure to create a long-lasting and effective brand strategy that will propel your brand to great success!
Lytho helps you streamline your entire workflow and harmonize all brand collateral under a single, uniform platform. Feel free to reach out to us by scheduling a demo and learning how our creative solutions can boost the effectiveness of your creative projects. We look forward to speaking with you!