Every marketer knows, or should understand, how crucial a brand strategy is when developing a brand. How a company will communicate their brand message and evoke the emotion necessary to ignite recognition and loyalty begins with their strategy. Take a second, and think of the first three brands that come to mind when you hear “shopping.” Got it? The three brands you just thought of are brands with an effective brand strategy. Whatever brand it may be, whether it’s Target, Macy’s, or even a local thrift store, there is a reason you recalled it so easily.
One of the main goals for brands is to be top-of-mind. A category such as “shopping,” for example, is so dense and populated, that it becomes difficult to stand out. The way a marketer can help a brand reach the top of their target audience’s recall list is by developing a logical, effective brand strategy. Here are some branding tips for doing just that.
Brands that do not have a clear objective struggle to stay relevant in such a competitive marketplace. Marketers describe it as being the brand’s purpose for being around; what benefits does the brand bring to their customers and how does it solve an existing problem in the market? Brands usually start with an idea that someone came up with. If a marketer or company CEO thought of an idea, what made them think of it in the first place? Did they find a gap in the market or a problem they could fix?
Marketers need to be able to define the what, who, and why of their brand. What is the purpose? Who is it aimed towards? Why exist in the first place? Brands need to have a definitive answer as to what they stand for and how their branding strategies will communicate this message to their audience. If a brand is confident in their mission, it will show in their communications. Coming up with a strong brand objective or mission is vital to filling out the rest of a brand strategy.
Know Your Audience
One of the most important aspects of branding is understanding who your audience is. If you do not know who you are aiming your product towards or if the group needs your service in the first place, how can you make a name for yourself? By reaching the right audience, at the right time, a company can increase their potential for brand recall, improving brand reputation, and building brand loyalty.
An easy way to determine whether the branding strategy is reaching the right audience is by creating a customer persona. A customer persona is essentially a profile of a typical member of the target audience. Information to include in the customer persona includes:
Demographics: gender, age, income
Psychographics: personality, attitude, lifestyle
Preferred Media Channels
Some of the best brands have taken the time to understand who their audience is and how they can be of assistance to them. They build a relationship with their audience, rather than just pitch them their latest product.
Long- and Short-Term Goals
A productive way of utilizing the brand strategy is by defining a brand’s long and short-term goals. This will give the marketer a good idea of the direction the brand is headed as well as a timeline. Setting goals makes it easier to determine whether the strategy or campaign was successful, and whether the brand message is consistent. It is usually best to have quantifiable goals, that can be measured at the end of the campaign’s run. Marketers will be able to compare the final results to the original goal. Some examples of quantifiable goals are:
Reach 500 Instagram followers by the end of the quarter
Increase ROI by 20% by the end of the year
Reduce shipping time to customers by 30% by June
Don’t Be Afraid to Feel
Nowadays, the emotions that people feel when seeing a brand or product are what end up setting a brand apart from their competitors. A brand needs to have a personality and a story. Give the audience an experience that will stay with them forever. Brand communications which resonates with a person for a long time makes a difference in a brand’s long-term success and reputation.
When building a brand strategy, consider the elements that can be incorporated into the branding that will evoke the right emotion. A brand is not just their logo, name, or storefront. It is also the things that the audience can’t see, like a personality or a brand voice; finding what resonates with the audience. Marketers need to make sure that they let a brand’s personality show in their brand communications. Be consistent with the brand’s voice, so that it can be recognized anywhere. Wendy’s is a good example: they have set themselves apart by having a witty, sarcastic voice on Twitter, which results in many viral tweets. Now, one may not just think of a girl with the red pigtails as their logo; they also remember the voice they used online, that got a chuckle or two.
Wrapping it Up
While there are many ways to build an effective brand strategy, we consider these 4 to be most effective. There is always more that can be done to improve your branding, and get the brand to where you want it to be. If there is time, use it wisely to meet up with the marketing department, creative associates, etc. to come up with the right strategy for the brand. Getting opinions from not only the company’s team, but their audience as well, gives marketers a wide variety of views to consider. See what the brand means to consumers, and determine if it aligns with the current brand strategy and vision. Become top-of-mind not only by building the right strategy, but by being there for the customers every step of their own journey. By taking all of these tips into account, and researching a few more along the way, you are sure to create an effective brand strategy.