Your brand is more than just a logo and the pretty pictures. It’s even more than just the product that you sell, your name and your website – it is all the intangible elements that come together and create your brand. Your brand’s strategy is its long-term plan of how it’s going to dominate, achieve its goals. It’s the inner voice that speaks for your brand, drives behaviour and decision making.
“How can I develop a brand strategy for my brand?”, you may be asking.
Well, there are a couple of things that you and your team need to define together to get your brand strategy to create a robust and active brand. Firstly, everyone needs to be aligned with the purpose and have the same goal. Secondly, take a day with the team and find a spot that allows for as little distraction as possible, then answer the points below. Below we have highlighted six keys to creating a brand strategy, all of which we use at Autonomous Republic to develop a strong brand identity to guide from the design and copywriting through to marketing and advertising. Multiple layers go into the creation of a healthy brand plan, however, these are some starting points for getting your brand stronger and aligned.
What is your brand’s purpose?
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek Each person that walks the earth is different and has unique goals and purpose. Much like any other individual, brands need a purpose too. What is your brands’ purpose beyond just making money? Is it to “create a better everyday life – IKEA” or “to help girls gain more confidence in their beauty – Dove”? People want to associate themselves with brands that have a higher purpose. If you aim to “make people happy”, then remember that this purpose/message must reflect in everything that the brand does moving forward externally and internally.
How does your brand currently communicate?
Don’t let people get confused with inconsistent brand messages on your website, social media accounts or advertising. It will be good for you to remember that your customers most likely don’t even know what it is that you do or care for that matter. Your branding and advertising need to make them understand and give them a reason to care. It would be best if you were consistent in the way your brand communicates. Review all of your current brand assets reviewing what elements of your brand work and what don’t.
- Is your brand consistent across all its platforms, from that internal letterhead to your social media meme posts?
- Does your website speak your language and tone?
- Is your identity recognisable, relevant and legible?
- Are all of your brands’ assets speaking with your identified brand purpose and brand tone?
Brands that speak consistently in the same language and who have aligned all their assets become strong, recognisable brands in the future. There is even a suggestion that they outperform their rivals by 60%.
Are your employees advocating your brand?
Now to get into the deep side of things. Is your brand quirky and playful, always engaging on social media or are you more of a corporate brand, intense and structured, or are you tongue in cheek? Now – how do you answer the phone when a client calls in for new business or a query? Is your internal staff letting the company down, and not aligning with the brand? Does your inner process and atmosphere reflect your brand’s WHY, and does it live by it? If you were to call Netflorist about a query, you wouldn’t expect a passive monotone voice at the other end of the line. Evaluate how your brand purpose and consistency is feeding within your organisation. Brands today are more than just what consumers engage with, it’s about the staff, and how you run your brand and business day to day. If your team is unhappy within the company – others will know this too, and that spreads like wildfire.
What type of brands your competitors?
Have a look at the competitors in your industry and category. You can learn a lot from your competition. When looking at competitors write a list of their strengths and weaknesses, how they speak, utilise their social accounts and what channels they use to communicate. How can you be different, or are you different already? What kind of customer does that brand attract versus your own?
Who is your brand talking to?
Have you evaluated who your target market is? Do you know to whom your brand is speaking? If you are talking of youth, your tone and character may be more quirky and edgy, making your brand relatable to the audience. Try and think like the market you are speaking too and write down what you feel they like, where do they love going out, what are their favourite movies, what do they engage with on social media?
What is your brand’s personality?
Once you have defined all of the above including whom you are speaking to and your audiences likes and dislikes, try to write down some keywords that describe your brand’s personality. Are you edgy and current, or modern and conservative? These personality points are always good to look back on and ensure that no matter what you create or speak about in the future aligns back to these traits. You could go as far as creating a character for your brand and relate every future decision to how that character would behave. Think Old Spice guy, Steve Jobs, or even something entirely made up. Any defined personality will only benefit your brand and the way it interacts with the world around it.
Need help with your brand communications?