Irvan Lathief
March 12, 2023
Business Resources

Step by step guide to understand brand strategy

If you don’t have a good brand strategy, your company will deteriorate its internal functions which ultimately affect your operations and sales.

What is brand strategy?

Brand strategy is part of a business plan that outlines how the company will build rapport and favorability within the market. The goal of a brand strategy is to become memorable in the eyes of the consumer so that they decide to patronize your business over the competition. Taken from Hubspot, read more here.

What happens when a company have unclear brand strategy?

When brand strategy is unclear most of the time it will affect their way of thinking, communicating, identifying themselves, and delivering their message. Here are few things that you’ll notice when your brand strategy is not clear:

  1. Confusing brand message. This will affect the way your customer perceive your brand entirely. With a lack of brand strategy, the story of what makes your business unique can be a lot more difficult to communicate. Often, as a result, you end up with messaging that is generic and vague.

    In short, you’ll end up like every other brand. We talk about how to stand out as a brand here.

  2. The ripple effect of the above is that your audience won’t trust your brand, due to the lack of consistencies, clear message, and a way to identify themselves when they join your brand as a tribe. Staying true to your brand personality and sticking to your values, will show the integrity of your brand.

    In other words, if your brand messaging says one thing, but your customers experience something else, this might insinuate a non-trustworthy message.

How does a strong brand strategy impacted the business?

Understanding the value of your brand is the number one most critical part of building a relentlessly relevant, successful brand. Additionally, your brand vision needs to be consistently communicated within your company as well as to your audience.

Clarity within your company.

What does this mean for your brand? Having a clarity within your company means that your team understands your mission and vision, not just a wishy washy company culture, but having the right team that believe in your mission, would accelerate your company way further. 

It is important to understand who we are as individuals and equally important to understand who we are in the organizations’ brand or companies.  With clear strategy, people making up an organization can become ambassadors through all their social “touch points.”  Promoting a brand in today’s world goes well beyond the duties of the Marketing Department only.

Familiarity in your customer’s mind.

The more synchronized and streamlined your brand is, the easier it is for your customer to remember you. Brand familiarity refers to how consumers perceive brands. It is related to the time consumers spend processing information about that brand before it becomes common knowledge to the consumer.

Just like engaged employees, loyal customers will become brand ambassadors, using word-of-mouth recommendations as one of their many advertising tactics.

To establish brand familiarity, companies  and brands shouldn’t feel the need to stay in the line of traditional approaches or marketing norms. To appeal to customers, businesses should look outside of the box and gather feedback and insights from their customers.

How does a good brand strategy looks like?

What does it consist of:

  1. Clear message -

    In the world full of informations, clarity will always strive to be the best options. People don’t buy the best products. They buy those they understand the fastest, and feel closest to their own personal references.

    If you don’t know how you are communicating, it can cost you your business. Before you press publish on your company page or your blog, take time to clarify your brand’s message. Make sure you have a clear story about what your brand stands for.

  2. Clear brand principles -

    What does brand principles means? In the age of 63000 search queries, being agile is one of the most important skills you could have. While being consistent is super important, that does not mean you have to use the same layout of graphic from 1972, or use the same cast for your ads from last year.

Having brand principles set the rules for both your creative explorations and identity.

What are the areas that company can utilize when having a strong brand strategy?

Public Relations

The main objective of public relations is to maintain a positive reputation of the brand and maintain a strategic relationship with the public, prospective customers, partners, investors, employees and other stakeholders which leads to a positive image of the brand and makes it seem honest, successful, important, and relevant.

Brand Communications

Brand communication is a combination of activities such as advertising, social media and reviews that are used to communicate with customers. Brand communication takes place every time a potential customer or client interacts with a particular brand. It could mean seeing a logo online or signing up for a newsletter.

Brand Marketing

Brand marketing is the process of establishing and growing a relationship between a brand and consumers. Rather than highlighting an individual product or service, brand marketing promotes the entirety of the brand, using the products and services as proof points that support the brand's promise.

Employer Branding

Employer brand is branding and marketing the entirety of the employment experience. It describes an employer's reputation as a place to work, and their employee value proposition, as opposed to the more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers. 

Brand Identity

Brand identity is the visible elements of a brand, such as color, design, and logo that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers' minds. Consistent marketing and messaging lead to consistent brand identity and, therefore, consistent sales.

What do you need to recognize a good brand strategy?

A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that last, taken together, account for a consumer's decisons to chose your product over another - Seth Godin

What are the key identifier

  1. Target Audience Understanding

    The more knowledge you have about your audience the more possibilities you get to optimize your products. Moreover, studying your prospects for months and even years – while still providing consistent value to the marketplace – will turn you into a “prominent option” in your niche.

  2. Strong UVP (Unique Value Propositions)

    Strong brands have strong unique value propositions. When you make a clear message that lets the customer see the extra benefit in your products, you’re likely to win his attention.

    Establish the biggest benefit that your brand’s bringing to the marketplace.

  3. Brand’s Mission Over Temporary Profit

    To take your brand to the next level, you need a serious mission and objective. The brand’s mission is usually something that signifies contribution to a cause.

    The brand that states a clear mission and then follows through with the promise is likely to overstep any form of competition.

In Summary - What are the actionable items, and things to understand from the above?

What happen if you don’t have a good brand strategy, and how does a good one look like?

If you don’t have a good brand strategy, your company will deteriorate its internal functions which ultimately affect your operations and sales. 

For a multinational corporations this can look as simple as this:

Having a claimed color as your brand’s identity would save you millions of dollars, by not going back and forth between branding agencies choosing which one should be your identity. 

Creating a clear brand strategy, messaging, positioning and identity and communicating it effectively to all of your team members would help you move forward with this. 

In a situation where your company is already established, not having a good brand strategy can sound like:

A brand is the collective impact or lasting impression from all that is seen, heard, or experienced by customers who come into contact with a company and its products and services. 

If your market research or customer satisfaction survey show that your tangible branding efforts like Logo, Colors, Your Tagline, or even Slogan, is not memorable within your customer’s circle, you might want to investigate further. 

Sometimes the deeper you go, you will understand that people no longer buy your product from your benefit. They buy your products because it makes them feel a certain emotion, it makes them feel like they belong to a certain tribe or type of people, if they’re not clear about how they feel about making that purchasing decision, it’s your branding team’s job to connect them and reach them beyond rationale. 

A good branding strategy can usually be identified from so many different angle, few of them are:

  1. They are on top of their category.

    Think of a phone brand. Think of a computer brand. Think of a device that’s bigger than your phone but smaller than a computer. Now think of a product.

    You’d be lying if what’s on your mind is not an Ipad from Apple.

    This can be achieved when you’re specializing at one category, like apple, they specialize in “Personal Computing Device”.

  2. They have a tribe of people that follow them. Internally, and/or externally.

    Imagine if your friend is going to apply to Google. What kind of feeling would he has if he’s accepted to work in Google? Would that make him feel like he’s tough? Or smart? This is how an external factor of branding would impact the way people see.

    Now imagine if your friend is going to work for Los Angeles Zoo, do you think that she’s the kind of person that would support Oil Mining company? Would she more likely to be a vegetarian or a steak aficionado? This is how an internal factor would show you the kind of follower/tribe/organization you have from your brand.

    Every brand, should make you feel something. No matter what industry, or things you’re doing.

  3. They stand for something.

    Let’s see what Patagonia the outdoor brand is doing about standing for a cause.

This is what standing for something looks like. You’re sending the message to the people that believe your cause - simply not because you don’t care about revenue, but because your value is higher than what your revenue might bring you for a temporary highs.

Okay, you’ve read this far and now you wonder what are the step to step to do when you wanna work on your brand strategy?

  1. Work on your why. And cultivate it within your team. Your culture. Your company. As cliche as it sounds, not knowing why you wake up everyday doing what you’re doing will eat you slowly. Not just your company, it will kill your soul.

  2. Do an audit of your target market, how are they currently feeling about your business, what do they know about you, what is the best thing about your company, and what are the area of improvements.

    Once you’ve audit your target market, you audit your brand. Always put your customer first. Now, auditing a brand can be as simple as -> Does the logo serve its purpose? E.g “Do people know that we’re a franchise laundry business if our logo is a water spinning around? Or would it make more sense if we have a washing machine as a logo?” - Of course with the right expertise, your team or agency you’re working with to rebrand your company will do a deeper survey.

  3. Test it out.

    A brand, is a person’s gut feeling about a product, or a service
    - Marty Neumeier

    Unless it’s out there - and being tested, regularly, with the right metrics, and understanding the proper directions, your brand will never know what it is that make your customer wants you.

Wanna know why companies hire a branding agency? Click here


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