There’s a song from Sesame Street sung by Grover which has a line that goes, “Around, over, under and through ”. While this song is by no means a brand strategy concept, it does carry a principle that goes along well with the idea that there is no brand strategy training template that every brand uses worldwide. There are many ways to go about it. However, there are basic elements that most people would agree to include in an effective brand strategy training. Here’s is Global Brand Academy’s 4-step guideline to effective brand strategy.
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Find Your Purpose
While it’s very good that you have an incredible product or service, it’s when you communicate a broader vision for what you are trying to achieve that people who believe in that same vision will ultimately be more likely to buy from you. Purpose is the reason why something exists, why it gets out of bed in the morning and goes to work, and why someone should care.
Customers also become increasingly cautious with the exaggerated statements of purpose of the brand and there is increasing distrust. It’s for this reason that there also lies an existing need for sincere strategies that resonate with customers beyond the superficial.
Identify Your Core Values
Core values, the central point of your brand, serve as the guideline for business decisions and strategic exchanges. These decisions range from identifying what kind of website your brand should run all the way to even the tiniest material used in your product. As cheesy as core values may sound, it does reflect the brand’s identity and therefore affects its overall performance in the market. Ultimately, the goal and purpose of every brand strategy is to find and reach out to potential customers who share the same values.
Remember that your brand strategy is based on differentiation from your competitors. What qualities do you possess and really integrate into everything you do? What are your greatest strengths? What values do you bring to your work consistently and without failures? These values must be significant, clear and also actionable. It must be transparent what this means for the way you run your business and work with your customers.
Create A Brand Personality
In her study called Dimensions of Brand Personality, this concept is defined as “a set of human characteristics associated with a brand”. Brands personified are not new to the market. This makes sense as products really tend to have associated archetypes that, admittedly, also makes brand strategies fun and innovative. This area of the brand strategy is a little less obvious, but it is what really helps identify the type of content you use to communicate your brand image, and even goes as far as the tone of voice, color aspects, imagery and word choices. But be very cautious in being creative with your brand personality. Incorporating a pet in your logo and marketing materials might cross the necessary border but adapting the fun enthusiastic characteristics of a pet in your brand image by using bright colors wouldn’t hurt.
Try to be as descriptive and objective as you can even while being creative and unorthodox. Is the brand realistic and informal or noble and sophisticated? Traditional or avant-garde? Fun and quirky or conservative and reliable? The clearer the image, the more useful it will be.
Identify Your Positioning
Brand positioning has to do with representing something specific and significant for its clients, something that is different from the other players in the market. Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinct place in the target market’s mind (Blankson, 2004). This can mean choosing and highlighting certain product features and from there, create strategies for segmentation and image building. In a study in 2004, Blankson and Kalafatis emphasised that it is essential to indicate a positive relationship between firm performance and its well-formulated and clearly-defined positioning activities. In positioning, remember to claim your credibility and stand out from the competition.
Build Your Brand Identity
The goal of brand identity is for the customer to recognize the brand in all the communications platforms, even if it covers the brand. Brand identity originates from the company. This means that it is the company that breathes into the identity of its brand, focusing on creating something unique and will stand out in the market.
That means being strategic and consistent in the way you bring your brand purpose, values, brand personality and key benefits to the materials and contact points of your brand. If you are missing some or all of these elements, try to set aside some time to reflect on how they would look for your brand. Once the brand strategy is developed, it is then time to review all existing contact points: your website, your ‘over’ page, your social media channels, to make sure everything is aligned. It isn’t just about visual materials: make sure you live and breathe your purpose and your values in everything you do. In building the brand identity, it is essential to allow all the other keys to link with one another. An effective brand identity is the culmination of all the other steps.