Why Developing a Brand Strategy is Important for Long Term Success
Whether you're a new entrepreneur launching an exciting startup or you're already running a mature business, building a brand strategy is crucial to your company's success.
In this guide, we'll share how your brand strategy sets your business apart, helps you connect with your target audience, and creates brand loyalty you can take to the bank!
Your brand strategy is the piece of your overall business plan that describes exactly how you'll reach your target audience. It talks about your brand identity, your brand personality, your content marketing, your brand logo, and dozens of other elements that come together to form your brand.
Your brand strategy is more than just a set of rules. Brand building is crucial to developing customer loyalty.
People prefer brands they're familiar with. They want to shop with companies they've used (and loved!) before. They want to buy the things that work for their friends, family, and connections. And they value brand consistency.
A brand strategy helps your entire business stay uniform and steady. It doesn't stop your creativity but gives you guidelines to innovate within. That way your customers instantly recognize you in the marketplace spread the word about your brand, and keep coming back.
Anyone with a customer base, client base, followers, or community. If you have a brand that’s out in the world, you need a solid brand strategy to guide it. Otherwise, your brand will look more like chaos than cohesion!
Your branding strategy really is like the glue that holds your company’s vision, mission, values, visuals, and voice together. It guides every decision you make, keeps every member of your team on track, and builds incredible brand loyalty along the way.
We think of it this way: Brand positioning is how you differentiate yourself from your competitors in the market, while brand strategy is who you are, what you do, and how you do it. Brand positioning is influenced by what sets you apart, and above the competitor, so you'll want to research the market and your unique selling proposition thoroughly. Brand positioning falls within the brand strategy and includes other factors like the brand's visual identity, personality, and messaging.
Your branding strategy should be detailed, easy to follow, and all your own. And the process of developing your brand strategy will probably require you to think more deeply about your business than you ever have before! As you’re putting together these frameworks, consider factors like:
At the most basic level, what is your business all about? You may sell a variety of products or offer tons of services, but what is the main thing you deliver to your customers? For example, your core business may be high quality, better value, a special experience, or sustainable products.
Before you start building and designing your great brand strategy, get clear about what your business really is. Only with that in mind can you turn a business name into a nationally recognized brand.
So you know who your business really is… but who is it for? Many entrepreneurs say their product or service is for everyone— a huge, wide audience. But did you know that marketing to a narrow, targeted audience is actually considerably more effective than sharing your business widely with everyone?
Knowing your target customers allows you to build a brand identity and marketing strategy that resonates specifically with this group. And when you focus on one single group of ideal customers throughout your brand development process, you can bet they notice!
In this stage, take time to research your competition. Check out their marketing efforts, their logo design, and their brand voice. If you want a strong brand that stands out, you can’t risk being too similar to these other competitors! But looking at the big brands in your space gives you the opportunity to gain strategic insights about what’s working in your industry and where there’s room for your business to grow.
Part of your brand development strategy should include doing detailed market research and analyzing the overall market you find yourself in. You can ask questions like:
- Is this market growing or shrinking?
- What is the future of this market— and why?
- What could change this market in the next 3-5 years?
These answers should help inform your overall business strategy. Creating a brand that can weather the market and stand strong through changes in your industry gives you a huge competitive advantage.
Knowing why your brand exists is the basis for creating the values that keep it on track. Now that you've done your competitor research, thought about your ideal customer, and considered your brand purpose, it's time to start building your brand strategy!
The best brand guidelines include these essential elements:
This is how you define your brand identity. Include your company's mission, vision, core values, and brand narrative. The more this brand story connects with your target audience, the more loyal customers your business will have.
Your visual identity consists of your logo design, color palette, photography style, and typography. The more clear, compelling, and unique, the better!
These are the aspects that make up your brand's voice, like your tagline, search engine optimization keywords, and brand tone.
Want more brand strategy help? Check out our article:7 Straightforward Brand Strategy Tips. You'll find ideas you can implement into your own brand strategy today!
Looking for some brand-building inspiration? Check out these three companies from around the world:
Chipotle set itself apart from the competition— building incredible brand loyalty along the way— by positioning itself as the healthier fast food restaurant. And you can see this strong brand identity in every piece of social media they produce! Across multiple channels, Chipotle uses clean imagery, simple messaging, and casual colors to position itself as a comfortable, homey, healthy brand.
This is a great example of how social media, a strong visual identity, and a creative brand message work together to create marketing campaigns so memorable that it propels the brand for years to come!
In the early 2000s, Old Spice began to lose market share. Their customer loyalty was dwindling because their brand was becoming outdated. During their rebrand, Old Spice refocused its target audience on women, realizing that women are more likely to purchase this product for the man in their life. The new brand messaging worked! And Old Spice has regained huge market share.
Dove's messaging strategy is built on both quality products and how they make women feel. Through its multi-year self-esteem campaign, the company has focused on helping women and girls feel more confident, beautiful, valued, and powerful. It's a strong mission statement that goes beyond marketing. This brand strategy both boosted their market share and left a positive impact on their target audience.
In these examples of other brands that have really succeeded at creating a brand identity that resonates, you can see how digital marketing played a huge role in their success.
Your brand content is like the vehicle that carries your comprehensive brand strategy out into the world. Without content, all you have is a set of brand guidelines that sit on a shelf. But by leveraging that brand strategy to build high-quality content, paid advertising, and marketing materials, you can create a truly powerful brand.
Now you know what goes into your brand strategy. You know how to use your brand positioning, brand personality, and brand story to build a business that truly resonates with your target audience. And you know how to use your brand style guide to keep every member of your team unified.
But what if you need a little assistance building your brand strategy? That's where these helpful tools come in!
- Storytech: A one-day DIY workshop to teach you exactly how to build a brand. By the end of the day, you'll be fully equipped to develop your brand from the ground up.
- Marketing MO: A comprehensive brand strategy toolkit complete with templates and video guides. If you already have experience as a brand strategist, this could be a great tool for you.
- Bynder: Need to keep all your amazing digital assets in one easily-accessible place? Then this is an essential tool for you. Bynder is a great brand strategy maintainer, especially for teams with multiple remote members.
- ZeBrand: Takes brand consistency to a whole new level. ZeBrand is like your own personal brand strategist, helping you build every aspect of your brand strategy from start to finish. And if you need a bit of extra support along the way, ZeBrand's team of expert Brand Coaches is just a call away.
If you've loved learning about how an effective brand strategy can transform the future of your business, get started with ZeBrand. Join a group of emerging entrepreneurs, small business owners, startups, and mature businesses who know the best brands are built on a solid brand strategy.