How to Build a Brand Strategy for Success
You've got the name, the logo, and the products/services down, so what comes next? Having a well-defined brand can help your business to connect with consumers, gain their trust, and be remembered in your field. Developing a cohesive brand strategy can give you an advantage when it comes to your brand's presence, recognition, and reputation. In fact, the strength of your branding may be the thing that accounts for a consumer's decision to choose you over another brand!
A brand strategy doesn't take much to develop either. In fact, here are 8 simple steps to consider and develop in order to create a strong brand strategy, which should clearly express what your brand is all about and how it can benefit consumers (in comparison to your competitors):
1) Your Mission
Why does your business exist in the first place? What is it that makes you excited about your work every day? Being able to explain why your business was even started can mean more to consumers than you know. When starting to describe your mission, think through two different lenses: the functional and the intentional. The functional describes the tangible ways that you evaluate success for your business (ie, what goals you are reaching in terms of sales and finances). The intentional, on the other hand, evaluates what you want your business to do for the world. Is is there to teach, inspire, or connect? Think about what you are trying to accomplish with your business as a starting point for your brand to build off of.
2) What You Do
When giving an "elevator pitch" about your brand, you should be able to succinctly express what it is that your business does, and why people should care. Start by writing everything you want to say about your brand, and then write each point concisely enough that you can fit it into a sticky-note sized area. Form these points into a brief message that you can use to give a verbal snapshot of your brand.
3) Brand Position Statement
Much like your elevator pitch of what you do, a brand position statement is a brief statement that explains what your brand does and what benefits it gives. Be concise, and find something that you feel expresses exactly how you want people to feel, think, and talk about your brand.
4) Brand Promise
Companies use brand promises to give customers an expectation of what they will experience with your brand. It also gives employees a guide for how to be consistent in interactions with all consumers. A brand promise sets realistic expectations for what is within your business's scope, and communicates to consumers what to expect from the products and services you are offering.
5) Unique Selling Proposition
How do you differ from other businesses and how does this benefit the consumer? This is not just about listing what you do and the benefits of your products, but looking deeply at how your approach to your business meets specific needs of consumers in ways that other brands may not. Try listing the features and benefits of your products and services to find key features that cannot be imitated elsewhere. Then use these features to explain what exactly is in it for consumers should they choose to work with you.
6) Proof of Value
Telling consumers about your brand is a good starting place, but at some point, they will want to see proof of how awesome you are. Just like in a job interview, find examples that highlight your abilities and work you have done, making sure to stay factual and accurate. Not only that, but you can explain the process that went into certain jobs so people get a better sense of how you work and can feel transparency in the process. Reviews and referrals are also a great way to build trust and evidence to the good work that your brand does.
7) Tone of Voice
The tone of voice that you use in all communications (in person, on the phone, in writing, etc) reflects the personality of your brand, which can help you stand out among the crowd or connect to your audience in a new way. The tone of your messaging is therefore an important part of brand strategy. Understanding your audience and the way they talk is a great place to start, and reaching out to others to get feedback on what you brand sounds like versus how you want it to sound is another method of developing a strong and consistent brand voice to get the vibe of your brand across clearly.
To wrap up your strategy, think about a tagline: a phrase about the foundational idea or concept behind your business, which gives people both in and out of your industry something to think about. Make it short, sweet, and to the point, but also try to use your words to imply some sort of brand benefit. A solid tagline will often present the most important truth about your company that you feel consumers should know.
Now that you've got the basic building blocks for creating a brand strategy, you can use these steps to get creative and build a brand made for success. Outlining your thoughts through brainstorming for each step before paring things down to be more succinct is a strategy you may find useful, or you may find that you are able to answer each question and fill in each blank right off the bat! Whatever the case, your brand will soon be ready to make a big impression.
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