posted April 20th, 2017 by Brian Neese
Your brand is arguably the most important part of your business. “Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name,” according to HubSpot. “In fact, your brand is much more than that — it’s the stuff that feels intangible.” This refers to what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand’s name, including factual and emotional aspects.
You can impact your audience’s perception of your business by creating a winning brand strategy. A brand strategy is a long-term plan to achieve specific goals for developing a brand. The following sections guide you through the primary areas of building a strong brand strategy.
The first thing to do is consider what message your business wants to convey. What do you want people to think of when they hear your brand’s name? What is the purpose that drives your business?
“Every brand makes a promise,” Allen Adamson, founder of BrandSimple Consulting, told HubSpot. “But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose.”
An immediate goal of any business is to make money, but you need to consider how your brand does good in the world. For instance, IKEA’s vision isn’t to sell furniture, but to “create a better everyday life.” Coca-Cola takes this step further by connecting its vision to a lifestyle platform that inspires people and communicates hope, explains author and entrepreneur Glenn Llopis in Forbes. If your brand cannot influence lifestyle and people’s state of mind, the impact and influence of your brand will begin to wane.
Another consideration is how you’ll position your brand in relationship to your competitors. “Why should people buy from you instead of from the same kind of business across town?” asks Entrepreneur. “Your goal is to own a position in the customer’s mind so they think of you differently than the competition.” Once you identify your competition and determine how you can best reach your audience, you will be able to fulfill a unique need for your target market.
Look for opportunities to advance and refine your company’s personality. You could investigate digital media and design strategies that will help you develop your brand’s identity. Or you could think through what your brand will do to show customers the value they will receive from your company.
“How will you show customers every day what you’re all about?” asks Entrepreneur. “A lot of small companies write mission statements that say the company will ‘value’ customers and strive for ‘excellent customer service.’ Unfortunately, these words are all talk, and no action. Dig deeper and think about how you’ll fulfill your brand’s promise and provide value and service to the people you serve.”
As you work on resources that will define your brand and what it stands for, keep in mind that this is a long-term strategy. What you’re doing in this step leads to how you’ll communicate your brand. Don’t focus on what you need to do in the near future.
“Brands aren’t built overnight, so your brand strategy shouldn’t be focused on short-term tactics but rather on long-term goals and sustainable growth,” according to Ask Your Target Market, an online market research company. Once you identify your brand strategy and start developing your brand, you should focus on a lasting structure.
Look into and start leveraging strategies such as brand resources, templates and other materials that will help with the long-term success of the brand. Your progress here will help you stay true to your brand’s identity and follow through on long-term strategies.
Establish strategies and tactics for communicating your brand. All avenues of communication should remain consistent with your brand’s identity and have specific goals. The following strategies can help with changing the way people perceive and interact with your brand.
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