March 17, 2023 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Brand strategy is what sets apart world-leading companies and those that don’t get past their first couple of sales. It determines if customers will keep coming back for more or will fizzle out after their first purchase. It can even impact the success of your content marketing campaigns. In short, brand strategy is a big deal. And, luckily, this is something your business can get started with completely for free. Branding is all about getting in touch with why your company offers what it does and what it can do to benefit its customers. Use this guide to explore the foundations of creating a brand strategy, including:
A brand strategy is everything your company does to define itself and gain recognition within the wider market. Branding strategy goes beyond just picking a color palette for your business. The voice you use for copy, the values you support, and the traits that set your brand apart from the competition all come into the picture.
The end goal of brand strategy is to position your business in a specific light. You want your customers to see your brand and instantly associate you with certain qualities. What those qualities are can vary based on your targets. For example, these qualities could be anything from the quality of your brand’s products or services to the sustainable approaches your team uses to support your business.
Companies all across the world routinely sell the same products and services. So, how does a customer choose who to work with or who to buy from? The truth is it all comes back to branding.
Brand strategy is vital for businesses as it allows them to build their reputation and increase recognition in their industry. People don’t have loyalty to products, they have loyalty to brands. If you’re able to cultivate a brand that people enjoy reading about, relating to, and working with, you’re able to access a whole range of benefits:
A successful brand strategy is essential to increasing engagement with your customers. Think about this example: Two emails arrive in your inbox, both from companies that send out regular newsletters and marketing offers. The first email is from a brand’s mailing list that you can’t remember adding your name to. The second email is from a brand that you’ve shopped with countless times over the years and have had plenty of positive experiences with.
Out of these two, it’s obvious that the second is going to be the email that a customer would click on. The first is forgettable, while the second is a brand that’s built up its image so audiences immediately recognize it.
Focusing on brand strategy increases rapport with your customers. When it comes time to launch any form of content marketing campaign, be it email, long-form content, or on social media, your customers are likely to be more willing to engage with your messaging.
Your brand strategy highlights the ways in which you’re different from your competitors. So, instead of appearing like another generic company, your brand strategy makes your business more memorable.
There have been studies on this relationship that find a positive association between brand awareness and brand loyalty. As brand awareness increases, so does the likelihood of customers remaining loyal to the brand and making repeat purchases.
Customer loyalty is a phrase that’s thrown around a lot in marketing. Of course, if customers are loyal to a company, they’re more likely to repeatedly buy from that store. And what you may not realize is that even a small increase in customer retention rates can lead to an increase in overall revenue.
People who have a connection with a brand are much more likely to return. But to make these connections, you need to position your business as a brand worth supporting. That’s where branding strategy comes in, allowing our company to put our ideals, motivations, and goals out into the world.
While a brand strategy and marketing strategy might share similar goals, they’re not the same things. While your brand strategy outlines the focus of your business’s message—what you’re saying—your marketing strategy is how and where you promote this message. When outlining your brand strategy, you’re creating the foundational blueprint for your business. You plan your brand identity, unique selling propositions (USPs), brand mission and values, and goals.
Then, you move into your marketing strategy by putting your branding ideas in motion. You can use a range of marketing tactics to build awareness around your business. For example, you might plan a content marketing campaign based on the goals of your brand strategy. So, if your goal is to introduce a new product or service, or if your brand is still growing, you may use content marketing approaches like:
These are just a few aspects of content marketing you may plan for to direct your business along the path you outlined in your brand strategy.
One of the best ways to develop your brand strategy is with questions. You’ll want to ask several questions that can help your team start outlining your brand’s mission:
Just like how we like some people more than others based on their personalities, we need to connect with your brand on a human level. In order to do this, you need to make it clear who your brand is. We don’t want to deal with a faceless corporation. Move through the following four areas to create a comprehensive outline of your brand:
Outlining your brand purpose should be one of the earliest parts of forming your strategy, as it influences all other areas. Once you have a central purpose, decision-making becomes a whole lot easier. If something doesn’t align with your purpose, you can make adjustments to the approaches you use to build brand awareness.
Uber is a great example of a clearly defined mission statement. They want to create “transportation that’s as reliable as running water.” It’s brief and clearly communicates what they’re about. They’re a transport company that wants to make getting a ride as easy as possible.
Patagonia is another brand that has a very clear purpose. The brand offers the best possible products to customers while maintaining sustainable and eco-friendly practices. The brand shows that you don’t have to have a single purpose—you can have several core values that drive your strategy.
No business exists in a vacuum. There are always competitors offering a similar service or product. Ignoring this competition only leaves you in the dark. Instead, you should know early on who your main competitors are and what makes them successful.
Knowing your competitors inside and out allows you to focus on your own brand to a greater degree. Understanding your competitors can also help you find your own unique selling points and other traits that set your business apart.
To uncover this information, though, you’ll need to run a competitor analysis. You can use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz to analyze your keywords and your competitors. At CopyPress, we have a free content analysis tool you can use to do this quickly and easily. Compare your website to your top competitors to find the best opportunities to reach your audience.
As you move further into your branding strategy, you may realize that you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But don’t let this discourage you. In fact, it’ll actually become a strength for you down the line. Knowing who your target audience is helps you align you brand strategy with your marketing strategy. You’ll find out what your customers have in common, what they’re looking for, and what pain points your business can solve for them.
Look at demographics like age and location. Then, you can dive into audience psychographics to flesh out your ideal persona even more. By understanding who you’re marketing to, you can create more personalized content that fulfills what they’re looking for. Personalization is a marketing superpower that you can only take advantage of with a clearly defined brand strategy. Once you’ve answered these questions, your team should have a clear idea of your brand’s identity, goals, and position in the market.
Creating a brand strategy is never a straight line. While you can move through the questions we’ve set out, you’ll likely iterate on your final form over the years. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to incorporate the following tips during the process:
Brand strategy influences every area of your business. So, it’s important to create a clear outline of your business’s goals and the actions you’ll take to achieve them. Spend time developing your strategy before you plan and launch your marketing campaigns.
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