The brand strategy is one of the aspects of your business that most definitely has to be goal orientated. Although big companies make it seem easy, there’s always a well-structured plan behind a successful business that stands the test of time. Apple is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, known for their intuition and simplicity – but there’s a lot of work behind that simplicity! You can’t expect luck or the amazing deals of your market-entry strategy to sustain your business on a long term basis. That’s why a comprehensive brand strategy is needed!
This strategy has to incorporate the answers to the what, when, how, and to whom questions of your marketing plan. Getting a crystal clear view of what you aim to accomplish, and what costs are involved, will help you create a strong brand strategy that’s bound to be successful.
Even if it seems that it’s the “je ne sais quoi” factor that makes some companies incredibly profitable, there is a bit of science behind the “magic”. We’ve gathered 7 elements that your brand strategy must include in order for it to grow on a solid foundation, rather than it being a one-hit wonder:
#1. Give Your Brand a Goal
You must first learn to make a distinction between your brand and the product/service that you offer. A brand has to make your businesses’ message clear to any potential client, by accurately representing what makes you stand out from a sea of competitors. Unless you’re at the center of a monopoly, there are others offering exactly what you’re trying to advertise. That’s why your brand has to make you look like the best choice on the market!
Even when talking about devices that satisfy the exact same need, it’s all about how you present yourself to the public. The Android vs. iPhone debate is a perfect example of how branding allows a company to double its profits, while offering the same type of technology. Apple has created a fan-base that’s willing to spend extra money, that’s far beyond the price of production, just for the sake of the brand.
If your product/service solves a generic problem, then find something that’s outstanding about how it solves it. Choose how you want people to see your brand, and then make that feature a part of your brand strategy! Whether it is humor, freshness, safety, or flexibility, choose one feature and stick with it!
#2. Promote Consistency
Once you’ve drawn the outline and you’ve chosen your brand’s stand-out feature, it’s up to you to be consistent in your actions, in your messages, and in the overall activity of your business. Try to ask yourself with each move if what you’re doing is constructive and beneficial to your brand. Whether it is social media updates or people you choose to partner up with, make sure that what you’re doing is consistent with the values that you want your brand to stand for.
Consistency is not always just about what you present in front of the customer as a brand, it’s also about your employees’ and associates’ attitude. Use every event, meeting or chat to reinforce the message and attitude that you want your brand to have. Once everyone’s on board, it will be easy for your business to reach clients and potential clients with a consistent message, so they’ll know what to expect when doing business with you.
#3. Make Emotional Connections
It’s not always about business strategies and marketing plans. You have to remember that you’re dealing with people that have problems, questions, and desires. Learn to approach your customers at an emotional level. Once you put together an audience that shares the same values and desires, encourage them to become a community. That’s how you get a brand to become associated with a feeling. People are willing to spend more money, for an equally valuable product/service, if it’s emotionally empowering.
Depending on your niche, you’ll have to find out what’s the best approach towards active interaction. If you’re solving one of their problems, ask them for feedback and to share their experiences. Make your audience feel like their desires and opinions are considered and valued.
#4. Encourage and Reward Loyalty
When customers take the time to praise and recommend your brand, reward their efforts in a way that seems suitable. This practice is extremely popular on social media, where a reply to a tweet or a re-tweet from a business representative on Twitter can make a customer base go crazy with excitement. Encourage and reward the loyalty of customers with simple gestures that make a difference.
You can send a simple “thank you for your support” message, or take it a step further and make clients a part of your marketing campaigns. Customer testimonials are a crucial part of any brand’s strategy in the online era, so use positive reviews from return-customers in order to show potential clients why they should choose you!
#5. Make Adjustments
Branding strategies have the purpose of reaching customers and delivering a message that’s meant to emphasize your brand’s uniqueness. Realistically speaking, it’s impossible for every branding campaign to be successful. That’s why you have to keep an eye on the feedback of each campaign, and then make the required adjustments. The goal is to promote a brand that’s going to stand the test of time, so you need to view each negative feedback as a source of valuable information. You will learn how to tweak your brand strategy in order to reach the masses in the best way possible.
As tools in this feedback research process you can use analytics and stats. They will show you the audience’s behavior on your campaign’s launch date. Once you’ve fine-tuned a strategy, don’t make the mistake of becoming inflexible. What worked now may be unsuccessful the next time, and you will waste resources. Continue to pursue the best brand strategy even after being successful!
#6. Embrace flexibility
In this fast-paced world, flexibility can be your most valuable asset. People’s needs and desires change, and you have to constantly reconnect with current customers, as well as learning how to approach new clients. Things can get tricky at this stage, but it’s also a stage where creativity and boldness is highly rewarded.
If past branding strategies have become hit-and-miss occurrences, then don’t fear major changes. The audience is always ready for something new, especially if the change brings improvements in the way you convey your brand’s message. For example, with the numerous social media networks available at the moment, you can start expanding your brand’s online presence by joining Vine, Instagram, along with Twitter and Facebook. Take advantage of what new generations are using in order to make additions to your customer base, along with giving your loyal customers a new and improved perspective on your brand.
#7. Learn from your competitors
We’re not talking about spying, stealing ideas or watching their every move! It’s just about learning from the mistakes of others, in order to stay one step in front of the competition. If you and another company have the same target audience, it pays off to keep an eye on what branding strategies of theirs succeed, and which fail.
Apart from this simple observational process, avoid getting too caught up in what others are doing. If you start to lose your identity, all your branding investments will go to waste, because your customers will no longer be able to make a distinction between you and your competitors. So while you take into account the information you gather by watching your competitors, remember to reinforce and highlight the message and attitude that makes your brand unique.
Managing Director at Hype Creations