How to Create a Branding Strategy?
Branding is one of the most important aspects of a successful business, no matter the size or type. A strong brand helps your company stand out from the rest, giving you an edge in the increasingly competitive markets of today’s world.
Many new startups fail to take the time to understand and create a branding strategy. Maybe it’s because they just don’t know that creating a branding strategy is a critical aspect of their potential success. Or, maybe they just think they can get away with putting it on the back burner while they focus on other factors for the business. Either way, an unstable brand loses the potential for growth and profit.
If you own and operate an established business and never took the time in forming a solid brand strategy from the beginning, you may be asking yourself if it’s too late to do so. No, it’s definitely not! Start solidifying your brand today, and before you know it, you’ll be noticing significant improvements in your operations.
But first, what is branding and where does one even begin? Well, let’s dive in!
What is Branding?
There are many different aspects that contribute to a brand, but first and foremost, your brand is what your customers can expect from you, along with the promises you make to them. A brand tells customers who you are and what you represent, and how you differ from your competitors.
Where to Begin
To help begin in establishing a branding strategy, ask yourself what the entire customer experience is and how you want that experience to be for the customer. This includes everything from the product or service you offer, to your website and social media pages, to your customer service procedures and policies, to even your logo and other company graphics.
To begin defining your brand, ask yourself these questions:
- What is your company’s mission?
- What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
- What impression do customers and prospects already have of your company?
- What qualities do you want customers to associate with your company?
Once you’ve determined what it is you want your company and brand to represent, how do you make sure that message is communicated to customers?
- Design a great logo. Your logo is one of the first impressions customers have of your business. Make it stand out.
- Write it down. Having a branding strategy but not sharing it with your employees is, quite frankly, counterproductive. Write down the messages you want your business to portray, whether that be in an employee manual or posted throughout the office. The more they’re reminded of it, the more they’ll stick to it.
- Integrate your brand. Put your brand everywhere. This includes everything from employee uniforms to e-mail signatures to customer interactions.
- Create a “voice”. Communication with your customers should be cohesive and consistent. Determine what kind of “voice” you want to use with your customers. Will it be formal or informal? Cheeky or more serious? Whatever you decide, use the same style throughout all of your communication channels.
- Create a tagline/catchphrase. Come up with a short and memorable tagline that captures the mission of your brand, and use it throughout your marketing and sales channels.
- Design cohesive templates. Use the same color schemes, logo placement, and messaging throughout your marketing strategies.
- Stick to your promises. No one likes feeling as if they’ve been lied to. If you’ve made a promise to your customer in your branding strategy, you should do everything within your power to keep your word. If you fail to deliver on a promise, it’s likely the customer will not return nor refer you to someone else.
- Be consistent. It should go without saying, but every part of the branding strategy must be consistent. Customers appreciate consistency and associate it with reliability, which is an incredibly important factor in the customer buying experience.
Benefits of a Branding Strategy:
- Promotes recognition: A well-thought-out branding strategy creates recognition. Potential customers are much more likely to conduct business with a company they are familiar with.
- Sets you apart from the competition: Because of the increasing competition in today’s markets, it’s becoming much more difficult, and therefore much more critical, to stand out against the crowd. Your brand strategy tells consumers what they can expect from you, as opposed to your competitors. Assuming their needs or wishes are fulfilled, a positive customer experience based on your strategy can lead to referrals to many potential customers.
- Customers know what to expect: Customers are much more inclined to make a purchase from a particular company when they know what they can expect.
- Represents you and your mission: The brand you’ve set out to create represents you. Everything from the product and service to your employees is a part of your brand. They must all consistently represent your brand’s values and mission in order to succeed.
- Keeps you focused: It’s easy to get distracted from your goals when operating a business. A well-designed brand strategy keeps you fixated on which values and missions are most important to you. Unfortunately, you can’t be everything to everyone, so you must decide what values you want to represent the most. Staying focused on a set of goals and plans will help your business run more efficiently and save you and your company both time and money.
Executing Your Brand Strategy
Once you’ve figured out what you want to achieve through your brand strategy, now it’s up to you to decide how you’re going to incorporate it throughout your business practices. This will include your distribution channels and marketing strategies. You’ll need to decide how, when, where, what, and to whom you plan on communicating your messages.
A compelling brand brings so much more than monetary gain. While a well-established brand does benefit financially – and is usually able to sell products or services at a higher cost – that should not be your main goal when developing your brand. A strong and effective brand creates value that far surpasses profit. Customers will be able to connect emotionally with your brand –developing feelings of trust and loyalty.
The best brand strategies are well planned and thought-out and are built on ideas that everyone within the organization can commit to and deliver on. The message and mission must be clear and consistently promoted. Discovering what your customers want and need is a great starting point in determining your strategy.
We understand this can be a lot to take in. That’s why companies like US Logo are available to offer up their services in helping to build up your brand. From logo and other graphic design services to social media marketing services, we’re here to lend a helping hand.
Give us a call today to see how we can help!