A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and should be based on consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments. As you develop a brand strategy, it begins by setting business goals and objectives. Why are you creating, updating, repositioning your brand? Now you can use this as a basis for all of your strategic branding efforts. Let’s break down the brand development process:
Identify your target clients.
Who are your customers? Please don’t say “everybody”. Research clearly shows that both growth and profit are focused on having clearly defined target audiences. Not everyone can be an Amazon and just sell tons of random stuff to tons of random people. The narrower the focus, the faster the growth. The right target should be based on the benefits and unique attributes of your product or service. e.g. My tech friendly coffee shop is perfect for millennials.
Solidify your positioning.
What type of business are you and who are your customers? Don’t try to be all things to all people because you’ll just dilute your brand and will never be known as something special for special people. Define your exact industry and target audience. e.g. A wellness facility for middle age females.
Research your target audience.
Once you’ve defined your consumer, figure out what makes them tick. I’ve already mentioned growth and profits of companies that do systematic research on their target client group but further, those that do research more frequently grow faster still.
Of course, basic demographics regarding age, race and income are a must. Research also helps you understand your customers perspective and priorities, anticipate their wants and needs and gives insight into their habits and behaviors on a psychographic level. This level of psychographics also helps you market to them in a language that resonates with them.
Develop your brand’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
How is your business different from others and why should potential clients within your target audience choose you? The answers to that are the basis of your positioning statement. A positioning statement is typically three to five sentences in length and captures the essence of your USP. It must be grounded in reality with a single principle claim and its support of that claim, as you will have to deliver on what you promise. It doesn’t hurt to be a bit aspirational so you have something to strive for… if you have a good agency to bring it to life (wink).
Develop your ad strategy.
Your next step is a messaging strategy that translates your brand positioning into specific messages to your various target audiences. Your target audiences could include prospects, loyal customers, friends and family of your target audience, sources or other influencers. While your core brand positioning must be the same for all audiences, each target audience may be interested in different aspects of it. The messages to each audience will push the most relevant attributes. Each audience will also have specific pain points and each will need different types of substantiation to support your messages. This is an important step in making your brand relevant.
Determine your marketing mix.
The next step in the process is to build out the remainder of your marketing toolkit. This might include corporate identity pieces, collateral and other sales support materials that describe core services offerings or key markets served. Then, if you plan to market your services on a broad scale, you need to determine a media mix of paid media to reach your audience. Consider everything from traditional media (print, outdoor), digital media (facebook ads, google ads) and public relations.
Don’t set it and forget it.
Tracking the effectiveness of your strategy is so important. Track both the implementation of the plan as well as results. Did the creative deliver the messages as planned? How was web traffic and impressions? How many new leads, opportunities or sales were generated? Only by tracking the process can you feel confident that your strategy is working or that you need to adjust.
Obviously I do this every day but I admit, it isn’t always easy. Not every company or brand is unique and that makes it tough to stand out. There may be plenty of brands out there doing the same thing as you but if it isn’t part of their brand strategy, you can be the first to own it. You must create a brand strategy to share what makes you unique to your customer. To wrap this up, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite advertising quotes: “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing but nobody else does.”