Simple Steps to a Winning Brand Strategy

Many mistakenly think that a brand strategy is limited to designing a nice logo or creating a catchy tagline. That couldn’t be further from the truth!

In reality, your brand and corporate narrative encompasses all the things that make you stand out from competitors as different. Everything from your visual identity to your messaging to customer experience. Not to mention the way people perceive your business, including all of the thoughts and emotions they associate with your brand. 

Because branding is so extensive, developing a strategy that works takes both time and careful planning. To help with that planning, consider some guidelines for creating an effective brand strategy for your business.

How to develop your brand strategy

Developing a long-term plan for building your brand can seem like an overwhelming task. Where do you start? There are 10 steps that can give you a solid foundation on which to build.

1. Pick your niche(s)

Catering to a niche market may involve offering specialized services, serving specific audiences, or limiting your focus to certain products that best serve the needs of your customers. Why can “niching down” be a smart strategic move?

Benefits include:

  • More time and energy to focus on creating the best possible products, services, and experiences for your customers.
  • Reduced waste of resources (including money).
  • The ability to charge a premium for your specialized expertise.
  • Differentiation from competitors who appeal to different or more general audiences (perhaps with different or more general offerings also).

Rather than spreading your resources thin trying to be all things to everyone, you can allocate them where they’ll do the most good.

That’s not to say that you must focus on one narrow audience, service or product, though. Businesses can successfully cater to several different niches.

To lay the foundation for your brand strategy, determine where it would be most worthwhile for you to focus. Considering what you enjoy most and excel at will give you a good start and put you on the path to a dialed-in brand image that supports your marketing strategy.

2. Define your business and marketing goals

The whole point of a strategy is to reach a goal (or goals). So, in developing your brand strategy, you can’t forget to consider your short and long-term goals.

Think of where you want your business to be next month, next year, and in a few years from now. Would you like to increase your customer base by a certain percentage? Is establishing a customer loyalty program in the cards for you? Do you eventually want to open another location?

In any case, keep your core objectives front and center as you decide what brand strategy will harmonize with your marketing efforts and get you to your goal.

3. Conduct brand research

Building a brand strategy in a bubble is a bad idea. It’s important to understand how your competitors and other businesses your audience engages with are branding themselves.

Of course, you don’t want to be a copycat. However, you can learn a ton from what’s working for them, how your audience responds to certain tactics, and even what your competitors aren’t doing in their branding. Looking at existing brands can give you both creative inspiration and strategic insights to help you set yourself apart from the crowd.

4. Spotlight what makes you different

Even if what you offer isn’t truly unique or one-of-a-kind, you can still stand out as different. How? Your brand messaging is one key.

5. Think of your business as a person

Every person has a unique personality. So does every business. In both cases, though, not every personality is memorable. To prevent having a forgettable brand, it can help to envision your business as a person (real or imagined).

Ask yourself: If my business were a person, what kind of person would it be? What traits and characteristics would make it appealing, influential, or memorable? How would others describe their voice, tone, and style? 

This exercise can help you visualize the attributes of your business you want to highlight in your brand strategy and the best way to go about doing that.

6. Craft an exceptional customer experience

Customer experience is the great equalizer of businesses. Sure, a competitor might offer the same products or services at a cheaper price, but if they treat their customers poorly or fail to address small but significant details, it won’t matter. People are willing to spend a little more money or time for a better experience.

Plus, satisfied customers can become mini-marketers for your business, spreading the word about their positive experience, writing customer reviews, and recommending you to others like them.

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