A Brand Strategy is a critical component of your overall Marketing Strategy - but what is a Brand?
Your Brand is essentially how you are perceived in the public eye. Your Brand should guide every major decision that your company, product or service makes.
A great starting point if you are struggling to work out what your Brand is to ask yourself these two simple questions:
- What makes your business different?
- Who are your ideal customers?
Then ask does your current brand reflect that difference and would it be appealing if you put yourself in your ideal 'customer's "shoes'?
If you are having difficulty defining who your customers are simply go to Xero, MYOB or whatever accounting software you use and get a list of all your clients over the last 12 months.
Sort them highest to lowest invoice value in the last year and then spend a few hours going through each of them one by one. Once you have gone through 20, you will start to see a pattern emerge. It might be that most of your customers are in this industry, they are in this area. etc. This will give you a starting point.
Creating a "Brand Manifesto"
Your brand manifesto is a declaration of your values, personality and opinions that is simplified into a succinct, inspiring message that can be understood instantaneously.
It should identify your business mission – with a promised level of service and your vision (a statement about how you would like to impact the future).
Your brand manifesto articulates what matters to your brand. It is your driving force and becomes a valuable resource for employees as it serves to unite everyone around a single set of values.
To create a manifesto, you’ll need to describe your brand’s philosophy, This is simply a statement of beliefs and values. One way to approach this is to make a vision board filled with words, pictures, and drawings that resonate with your business.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Why did I want to start a business?
- What motivates me?
- What does success look like for me?
- What does success look like for my customers?
- What does success look like for my employees?
By doing this it might help you see patterns or keywords that stand out. What is most important here is that it is simple to read and that you connect with these words. Your manifesto can be just one line or series of short active statements.
Now that you have the basics, its time to create the components of your Brand strategy including the:
- Value Proposition
- Brand Story
- Brand Personality
- Brand Voice and
- Brand Look
The Value Proposition
When it comes to choosing a product or service, customers have more options at their disposal than ever before.
For your brand to stand out, you need to understand what your business offers that’s different to all those others.
To do this effectively you will need to write a value proposition. A value proposition explains how your product solves problems and improves situations.
It lists the benefits to the customer and sets out why people should buy from you over the competition.
The Brand Story
As humans, one of the ways we build relationships is through the stories we tell, why else do we catch up with our friends right?
In business, this is not so different, you want to create moments between your business and your customers.
Your brand story is as individual as you are, and it needs to tell your audience who you are and why you’re doing what you do.
It is where your manifesto comes to light, giving your audience context for your business and a chance to connect with what is important to you, after all people buy from people.
The Brand Personality
Like a person, your brand is essentially your business’s “personality” – how you are perceived by the world. Buying decisions are both rational and emotional, and a strong brand taps into its customers’ emotions and aspirations.
Think about your Brand's best traits:
The Brand Voice
Your Brand Personality comes to life through your voice. The language you use, from your voicemail message to your product tags speaks volumes about who you are.
So ask yourself if your Brand was a person, how would they talk and what would they say?
When trying to ensure that every piece of content that your business uses fits the Brand, read the piece yourself and ask does this sound like something this business would traditionally say or do if not then make adjustments.
The Brand Look
Next you need to define what your Brand looks like. Your visual identity is a conception of your Brand/s characteristics and includes your logo, colour palette, typography, and more.
Check out this colour chart below for a basic explanation of what different colours evoke in people who see them.
Brand Consistency is Critical
Like most people great brands have engaging personalities, opinions, and values by which they live.
If you are operating or running a small to medium business chances are you don’t have the sort of funds to push your brand out in the traditional channels like radio and TV, so you need to be extremely clear on what your differences are and what makes you unique.
This is one of the biggest areas where businesses struggle with as there are often multiple managers and/or sales staff out in public selling the product or service and if they were asked what does the business do they'd all come back with different answers.
This is a big problem because if your staff are giving eight different answers as to what the business does there is no consistency in the Brand, so you need to ensure that everyone who goes out as a representative of the business clearly knows the Brand and what the company stands for.
Your Team is critical to your brand
Business is made up of people and it’s people that bring your brand to life every day. So when you define your brand’s personality, also think about how that plays out in behaviour.
By creating an environment where people enjoy their work and understand the wider mission, your employees will become your brand’s most valuable cheerleaders.
It is extremely important to make sure if you are hiring any staff that they share the same vision for the future of the company or share a similar set of values as the business as if you don't ensure this, prospects and potential clients might be getting mixed messages or the wrong impression of your company.
Your Communication Channels
Now that you have your brand strategy covered, you can bring this to life in all sorts of fun ways and using all kinds of communication channels.
For the best results, be consistent in how you present yourself and your business.
To ensure that you are giving your brand the best chance to get spotted, you should be putting out content on the same channels where your ideal clients are. For example if you were targeting CEOs , then perhaps you should be posting on LinkedIn as thats where a majority they will be.
Some examples of how to use your Brand in these various channels are:
- Websites – Your website is your store window. Make sure yours oozes with your brand identity, from colour and typography to brand voice, and keep it up to date
- Social Media – This can be overwhelming. Choose the one or two channels your audience uses the most and craft a consistent presence there.
- Brand Newsletters – If you intend to share company news, don’t get lost amongst the spam. Temper the marketing tone of your messages by integrating stories about your staff and customers.
- Transactional Emails – These are the ones that directly promote products, promotions and include emails sent to confirm an order or sign up for an account.
- Videos – Videos are a great way to bring your brand to life. They are the perfect vehicle to introduce your products and services
- Business Cards – Your business cards are pocket-sized promotional opportunities. Make sure they include relevant things like social media handles and links to your website.
- Loyalty Cards – As well as encouraging return visits to your store for the price of a free coffee on the 10th visit, loyalty cards often get carried around by your customers – make sure they reflect your brand.
- Postcards – Postcards are a fun way to raise brand awareness. Whether you choose to mail them, add them to your packaging or distribute them at local businesses
- Stationery – Sure, we send them fewer letters these days, but that’s all the more reason to make the ones we do, special. So whether it’s a job offer letter or a note to an investor make sure it looks and feels like your business with a branded letterhead.
- Packaging – In the age of online shopping, the “unboxing” moment is a powerful and emotional experience for customers all around the world.
If you need any help with your Brand strategy or helping your define what you do differently we can assist. Just call us on (02) 9125 0520 or visit themarketingstrategy.co and book in an obligation free consultation.