Banish any myths in your mind that say branding is just about logos and colour palettes. Yes, these are both integral elements of how your brand is perceived, but an actual brand strategy encompasses so much more.
A brand strategy works in connection to your business strategy. It enables you to occupy a space in your audience’s hearts and minds that tells them who you are, what you stand for and where you’re going.
What is a brand strategy?
What’s your favourite brand? Just think about it for a minute and think why. If you can’t quite put your finger on it, but the brand just gives you some kind of positive feeling – then that brand is mastering its strategy. Take a look at some brands who are doing it right here.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” says marketing author, Seth Godin.
Why a brand strategy?
A brand strategy helps to underpin all your marketing activity. It anchors everything around your core values, mission and vision and brings real clarity and focus to how you position your business to your target market.
There are different workshops and exercises you can undertake to help you develop your brand strategy, and at the end of these you should be in a position to produce a brand strategy document.
Here’s everything a brand strategy document includes:
- Mission and vision statements that sum up the purpose of your business. Knowing what your brand stands for and where it’s going is pivotal to moving your brand forward. Putting it into words helps to keep the focus on your overarching strategy and creates a starting point for everything else that follows.
- Core values that represent the personality of your business. Think about words like fun, inspirational, innovative, serious, ambitious, supportive…what describes the culture of your company?
- Audience personas that paint a picture of your target audience. Knowing your audience is one of the first things you need to consider when creating your brand strategy – if you don’t know your audience, you won’t know how to speak to them.
- Positioning narrative and key messages that reflect your brand’s core values, offering and mission. This underpins how you communicate with your audience and how you want your brand to be perceived. It informs all of your marketing activity, especially the way you craft content, creative and advertising. It also informs how you should approach all aspects of customer service, to ensure every touchpoint delivers consistently on your brand values.
- A visual identity that evokes emotions through compelling stories that bring your brand to life. Your visuals should help to tell your brand story through colour, imagery, typography and other visual assets that support the positioning you’re looking to establish.
- Tone of voice and language that supports your brand narrative and connects with your audience. Everyone has a unique way of speaking – and so should your brand. Having a tone of voice and language section within your brand strategy document helps to keep your brand voice consistent. It gives your team a guide on which kind of words to use, what kind of tone to set and even how to structure sentences – these all work together to create your voice.
All of the above components help to establish your brand, and they should be injected into your marketing strategy. It’s a great way for everyone to stay on the same path. This helps you to drive towards creating that ‘feeling’ – the one that those recognisable, memorable brands do – a distinctive personality – that your audience can connect with.
“Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity.” – Marty Neumeier, Writer & Speaker.
You might have spotted household brand Aldi cooking up storms on Twitter. Named as the most famous supermarket chain in the UK (YouGov), Aldi successfully navigates through the dense marketing landscape using a stellar brand strategy.
It’s deployed a defining tone of voice and humorous language that sparks the attention of the Twitter audience as well as other big brands, such as Yorkshire Tea, Quality Street and Domino’s Pizza. Aldi’s latest move is a series of ‘clocking off for the weekend’ tweets, asking other brands to fill in for them whilst they’re away. It’s currently garnered responses from some of the most well-known brands in the UK, and beyond, with a LOT of banter.
Obviously, a big supermarket chain is going to have a lot of hands-on-deck to manage their social community – so don’t think something like this is pivotal to your brand strategy. Whatever your size, you can catch the attention of your audience with a clean, refined brand strategy that fits your business.
So, it’s not just visuals, or language, or core values – it’s an amalgamation of it all. Refining every aspect of your brand with a clear-cut strategy adds clarity to your creative content and tells the right story, consistently.