Five Fundamentals of Business and Product Branding: Part 4 – Improve your Brand Strategy
You’ve worked hard on creating and building your brand, and developed authenticity, but there is always more to be done. To stay ahead of the competition, and ensure the strength of your brand doesn’t diminish, there needs to be a branding development strategy in place for continued focus and review. The branding strategy isn’t only exemplified by the visual aspects of your company or product, e.g., your logo or email footer, but by the intangible aspects of how your brand is represented. Think of it as an ongoing work in progress, with long-term aims and objectives, underlying the ultimate goal of getting your brand out there positively and being recognised by a wider audience.
Creating an Effective Brand Strategy
At the conception and development stage of your brand’s progression, you will have looked at key factors to help determine your place in the market and your target customers. There are also essential elements to consider when framing your business identity. These include your company mission, voice, and core values, as well as your brand design and vibe. All this information is crucial for informing your brand strategy.
You need to be clear about how your brand should be presented and the actions required to achieve this. Set yourself a list of key points to address and use this information when drafting your strategy.
What are your brand objectives? How are you communicating them?
Who are your target customers? Why will they benefit from the brand?
Who are your main competitors? How will you identify and compare them?
How will you engage with potential customers? What image does your brand project to establish personality and tone of voice?
Once you have set the foundations on which to build your brand strategy, you can progress on to constructing a robust set of guidelines to maintain and improve your plan. In an ever-evolving business world, which is influenced by many constantly shifting factors, your strategy will need to be reviewed regularly to ensure it remains relevant.
Pushing your brand forward and capitalising on its definitive characteristics requires focus and commitment. Identifying and following a clear and decisive plan will help to strengthen the integrity of your brand’s image and ensure your customers are never confused about what to expect. Explore these different options for raising your profile and improving your brand strategy.
How to Enhance your Plan
- Live, breathe, and own the brand. A simple but essential mantra. Make sure you and your team are the experts in, and advocates for, your brand promise and understand what the expected customer experience is.
- Communicate the brand. Your ethos, vision, and logo should be recognisable, especially to those representing the brand. Create and communicate a brand identity which is distinct to customers and employees alike.
- Represent the brand. Put yourself forward as an expert, or speaker. Attend networking events and share information to raise the profile of your brand. It is important to remember – you are always representing the brand.
- Market yourself. Spread the brand message via social media posts, updates, and newsletters. Use the platform to advertise what you do.
- Be relatable. Put your brand across in a way that is relatable for your customers. Build connections by showing you understand their experiences by sharing your own.
- Be straightforward. Don’t use over complicated jargon or fancy terminology that loses the message. It shouldn’t be difficult to understand what you’re trying to say.
- Be consistent. Demonstrate harmony with your branding across different platforms. There should be consistency across your website, your social media presence, and printed matter to strengthen the brand image.
- Understand your weaknesses. Take time to research how effective your brand is with focus groups, or a secret shopper project. Compare yourself with competitors to understand how and where you need to make improvements.
- Get involved. Know your community and offer support to local charities and events. Sign up to educational programmes or take on work experience placements. ‘Giving back’ is a valuable thing for a company to be able to do and can be hugely beneficial to everyone involved. It highlights your core values and principles and sets you aside as a potential employer.
- Master the media. Find opportunities to get your brand into the media. Get your story on the radio, or in a magazine, to elevate your brand’s status and share your message with a wider audience.
Keeping it Fresh
A successful brand strategy will be constantly evolving. If you are static, there is a risk your brand will begin to reflect this. Keep up to date with new strategies and concepts and don’t be afraid to look to other businesses for ideas and inspiration. If you are not excited by your branding strategy, you have the power to change it!