Business strategy is vital for any company seeking to grow its business in a strategic manner, but what exactly is a business strategy? Put simply, Business strategy is a clear set of plans, actions and goals that outlines how a business will compete in a particular market, or markets, with a product or number of products or services.
It encompasses everything that represents your business, from your collection names to your logo inspiration, from your social media accounts to your neatly designed website. But while simple to understand in theory, developing a good business strategy - and then actually implementing it - is no easy task. The way it made you feel. That’s precisely what brand strategy is all about: evoking a positive, long-lasting emotional response from your customers.
What is brand strategy?
Brand strategy refers to a long-term plan that focuses on the development of a successful brand. While it may be widely used, the term brand strategy is often misunderstood. It can be difficult to conceptualize an intangible quality, even more, to attempt to measure it. They realized that their customers wanted to be great, innovative, game changers and different. They knew that their competitors were strong and could deliver good quality products, so how can they convince their customers to choose them.
Your Brand Strategy sums up why your business exists beyond making money. It defines what it is that makes your brand what it is, what sets it apart from the competition and how you want your customers to perceive it. After all, if you can't clearly pinpoint what makes your brand different. Through research and analysis, this essential process lets you determine competitive positioning and define the most authentic way to reach your target market on an emotional level. In order to build a strong brand, you need to cover each element, from your content to your design, while keeping the big picture in perspective.
To make things more confounding, good branding is not always perceptible, or even rational—it is experiential, and based on feelings. The plan is used by businesses to create a particular image among current and potential customers. A branding strategy revolves around all the intangible elements that over time drive brand awareness, brand equity, and brand sentiment.
How to create a brand strategy in 8 steps
Here are the actions you need to take in order to build a brand strategy:
Evaluating both your achievements and shortcomings will help you learn, grow, and push your business to evolve. Additionally, your plan should illustrate to everyone involved (your team, your customers, your investors, you) what makes your business unique.
Know what you stand for
Today, competition is fierce in all industries, and customers demand more authenticity than ever. Finding your brand purpose should be the number one step of your overall brand strategy, yet very few organizations do it. To find your brand purpose you need to ask yourself: Why does your organization/brand exist? What is its long-term purpose to improve society as it is today?
However, an organization whose employees can answer the question, “Why are we here?” will create deeper emotional connections with consumers, employees, investors and other stakeholders. Today, consumers need brands and products that add a real meaning to their lives, and employees need to understand what the real purpose of working for a specific organization is.
Keep in mind though that not all values have to be socially or environmentally focused. They just need to precisely define the guiding principles you’ll apply throughout the way you do business. However, simply outlining your beliefs is not enough, you must actually practice what you preach to maintain your integrity.
Know your audience
Discover how to define your audience, understand their needs and tell a compelling brand story that they’ll connect with. These are the foundations you’ll need to succeed in driving traffic.
Ultimate Guides are Forum posts designed to be the best of the best. It's supposed to be the Forum post to end all Forum posts–everything your reader will ever need to know about the subject.
Knowing your audience helps you figure out what content and messages people care about. Once you have an idea of what to say, knowing your audience also tells you the appropriate tone and voice for your message. Learn more.
Tell your story
Storytelling is one of the best ways to build trust and engage with your consumers. A well-crafted brand narrative should be truthful, get your audience’s attention, pique their curiosity, and evoke emotion.
A good storyteller will typically identify their two most salient points and bookend their story with them—they will open with an exciting anecdote to grab the audience's attention, and then they will make sure the last thing they say is something that can resonate with the audience long after the story is over.
Here are some tips on how to do it:
Be authentic—share your story and exhibit your personality. Don't be afraid to talk about failures and success.
Give value—provide tips and information that answer your audience’s questions.
Evoke confidence—demonstrate your work and thought process and show success stories.
Inspire—help your audience imagine their desired outcome and feel it's attainable.
Design your identity
Your visual branding is an important part of your strategy as it allows you to make an impression, speak to your audience without words, and get them to take notice. You want your visuals to speak the same language across all mediums, and contribute to the overall look and feel of your brand.
Now is the time to get creative, and integrate your brand’s personality into the visual elements:
Photos, illustrations, and icons
Social media pages
Take your time
If you take your time, you are in no rush. Remember that creating a brand strategy is a process, and there are many complexities to consider. Your brand is the image, take the time to define it thoughtfully. You don’t want to do it all over again or have to rebrand because it was quickly thrown together. As your brand grows, reviewing the accuracy of your brand strategy will make everything clearer, more purposeful, and lasting.
From connecting to your vision, cultivating customer relationships, all while speaking your brand language, it is a lot to juggle. Take your time to present a brand, take your time to build relations with your customers.
Include your team
Effective including your team results in recognition from customers and peers. With recognition comes feedback and insight, which assists in making your team even more streamlined and efficient. It follows a similar arc to all brand management processes. You start with including your team, which is really just how you want your team to be perceived based on collective skills, strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
Building a brand strategy should be a collaborative process integrating many people. Ideally, you will form a designated brand team who are focused on building, designing, fostering, and giving life to your brand strategy across all levels. Represent yourselves to those you serve and your organization as a whole. Think outside the box and push the boundaries to create an inclusive team.