There are 100 years old automobile brands such as Ford, Groupe Renault & Volkswagen and then there’s Tesla!
It started in 2003 and in less than 2 decades the company managed to secure a $711 billion market cap as of August 2021.
What does Elon do differently that Tesla managed to become everyone’s favorite?
He used a solid brand strategy that these giants weren’t using very effectively!
Where everyone was focusing on better emission, consumer comfort and different entertainment features, he took the discussion a step up and added innovation to the core of his branding strategy.
And this is what you should learn from him while devising a solid base for your brand.
Nope, you don’t need to think of an unconventional method to rule your industry, cut down your prices or use multiple emotions to make your brand everyone’s favorite.
See, these elements are important but they never work alone!
You need a proper framework which is only possible with an effective branding strategy.
Let me help you understand the core meaning of brand strategy, how it can benefit your brand and how to devise one, below!
Let me keep it simple!
A branding strategy can be regarded as a plan to make everyone aware of your brand’s existence and describe your products to the core audience in the correct manner to attain specific branding goals. A brand, itself, doesn’t have a tangible form that can be touched or viewed with the human eye but it is more of a feeling that a consumer has about the company or the product.
People often confuse having the best logo, choosing the right color, deciding the typography of the brand as a branding strategy. Sure, these elements play a vital role in setting the perception of your core consumers about the brand but they can’t be said to be the actual brand strategy but serve as a part of your branding plan.
Some of you might confuse having a branding strategy with creating a marketing plan or maybe with the business strategy. If we go deep into the core definition of each term, they’re different in nature and key applications but serve somewhat identical purposes which is why people often confuse them with each other.
Before we discuss the ways to devise a strong brand strategy or how it benefits a brand, let me clarify how it is different from a business strategy or a marketing strategy.
A marketing strategy is basically a plan to find the right consumers, attract them to try the company’s products and convert them into regular customers. It basically deals with brand messaging, consumer demographics and interests, and the organization’s value proposition.
A marketing strategy usually revolves around the famous four P’s – product, price, place, promotion – to increase sales volume of the company.
The business strategy can be described as a long-term plan of an organization to find the right market, seek high performing products, decide the organization’s course of action, and achieve its financial goals.
You can take business strategy as the rule book of the organization to stay consistent and focused on the goals for generating the revenue.
A brand strategy focuses on establishing the brand as an industry leader, creating awareness about it, and converting regular buyers into devoted advocates of the brand. It uses different techniques to create brand recognition, foster brand trust, and maintain brand integrity in the eyes of its consumers.
A brand strategy requires both storytelling and visual elements to create a positive brand image and stick the brand into the consumer’s mind.
Remember when you wake up on a Monday morning and have a strange, saddening, feeling that holidays are over and your boring routine is about to start?
The Monday Blues are because of the monotonous routine when you’ve lost the vision for a better career or a meaningful professional life.
Your brand would have the same kind of feeling in absence of a solid brand strategy!
Come, let me explain to you why companies invest into a smart branding strategy and how it keeps their brand away from such Monday Blues.
Having a brand strategy enables you to identify a purpose that your brand relates with!
It helps you raise your voice for the matters that demand society’s attention as well as maintaining your brand’s key objectives.
Look at Dove and how they associated their brand with a very interesting question.
Is white color, blonde hair and size zero the only way someone can be beautiful?
They started a campaign to celebrate women in every size, shape and color tone to signify real beauty. They not just spread awareness on such a critical matter but also attached their brand with the key audience, women, who didn’t find any negativity in the brand’s offering. Because they could relate with the brand message that advocates true feminine beauty.
You should give it a read: Why Should Small Businesses Take A New Design Spin? Importance of Rebranding
You won’t be the first one to offer something as there would be other brands (that are already established in the market), right?
So, how’d you convince your target consumers that your offers, your products, your solutions are better than the former brands?
This is where the branding strategy comes into play when you can show your buyers why YOU ARE BETTER. A brand strategy helps you portray your brand in a unique way that consumers can compare with former brands and make a decision that’s in your favor.
There are other computer companies but everyone (regardless if they own a Mac or not) just go speechless when there’s a mention of Apple.
Because Apple Inc. has positioned itself as a premium manufacturer with options like iPhone, iMac, and iPad. And they just don’t create hype about their products, they actually prove it with best speed, largest screens and an awesome user experience.
For maintaining trust in the brand, companies often make certain promises with the core consumers. Having a brand strategy works as a reminder for the company to revisit these promises and stay firm on their words.
Take H&M as an example!
The brand aims at offering stylish apparel for consumers having different purchasing power. They prioritize consumer’s satisfaction above their revenue which makes them an ideal fashion brand for the masses.
And not only that, they keep searching for more ways to offer sustainable fashion products to improve consumer experience, too. With a promise kept, they managed to expand their business to more than 50 countries.
With a smart brand strategy implemented on time, your brand can reap its benefits decades to come. Since you know what to say, when to say and how to say it, you can easily leave your competitors behind and maintain the spell your brand has casted with a powerful branding strategy.
Look at Coca Cola and how it has managed to remain the most favorite beverage for a century!
They claim to inspire every moment filled with optimism and joy and while doing so, they don’t mention the brand name. Still, people not only find this message relatable but recognize it they are and make their choice despite the presence of other brands such as Pepsi, Red Bull, and Sprite.
You may find it interesting: History of the Coca Cola Logo
When everyone is on the same page as you want them to be, magic happens!
One of the reasons to have a branding strategy is that you’ll have employees who share the same excitement or enthusiasm as you do as the entrepreneur.
Take HubSpot as an example!
They basically sell CRM, SaaS, and marketing tools to SMBs and large corporations who are trying to up their branding game.
They used inbound marketing as a strategy and everyone on their team maintained the same stance be it on their blogs, on social platforms or via the video content they produce.
They not just established themselves as an authority but raised $30+ billion market cap without spending much on advertising and digital marketing campaigns.
I hope now you know what is the core application of a brand strategy in making your brand a success and what benefits it has to offer. Now, let’s move on to the most important part of this post so I can show you how to create a compelling branding strategy that keeps you sane during this crazy ride to find your target audience and connect with them instantly.
Let’s discuss how to make your brand invincible in the industry and keep your consumers coming back to you for the same awesome experience they had at first.
Not just humans, brands also need a reason to survive in this world!
While you sit to define a solid brand strategy, don’t forget to work on your key purpose to operate. Doing so will give you a clarity to promote your brand without getting lost halfway.
Before you conclude the branding strategy, make sure that you know your WHYs and they should be visible in your brand message, too. This will attract the core consumers who share the same views on a particular matter as your brand does and will convert them into a devoted buyer.
Take Brightland’s example!
Its founder Aishwarya Iyer wanted to maintain a healthy lifestyle through organic foods. She simply implemented the same idea into her brand that offers olive oils and vinegars processed to maintain the natural ingredients to benefit the consumer’s overall health. This ideal resonated with vegans and health buffs who take their well being very seriously.
While you plan to strengthen your brand, work on your buyer personas and divide your consumers in different segments.
This will benefit you later when you start creating brand messages for each persona and you’ll be able to address every consumer more persuasively. Having different buyer personas will help you focus your branding efforts exclusively for that particular consumer segment and your brand will be able to receive positive outcomes in return.
Nike could be the best example to explain this!
The brand primarily focuses on health-conscious people who want to stay fit throughout the year. Though, the greater number is of men and women ranging from 15-40 age group, Nike also offers a wide range of sportswear for young athletes who love to stretch their bodies at such a young age.
Another important read for you: 12 Principles Of Design Followed By Nike
The next step to create a compelling brand strategy is to ensure consistency in your brand message!
Due to various things happening in our surroundings, it is highly likely to get distracted and jump on a hot discussion that may not fall under your brand’s focus messages.
AVOID THEM AT EVERY COST!
Keep your consumers in focus when posting something on social media or spreading a new message regarding a new product. Be sure that every message you share is regarding your products, your consumers and their pain points to maintain consistency and relevancy in your promotional activities.
About 1.5 years ago the whole world went into a lockdown situation that affected every business but Boohoo stood firm on its position.
They used their social media pages very smartly to connect with the consumers and keep them up-to-date with their new collection that can be purchased online.
This resulted in sustainable growth in their revenue despite the pandemic situation across the globe!
Don’t forget that you’re dealing with humans who, quite often, take decisions from their heart!
While you craft a smart branding strategy for your brand, identify the emotional side that resonates with the consumers. Because they not just seek logical reasons to buy something, they also want emotional association when making a purchase.
So, observe that side of your brand and find a way to connect with your consumers on a personal level.
Take Rolex as an example!
Apparently, they just make watches and their market is very limited yet they’re one of the premium watch makers in the world.
Because they attach their legacy with their watches that people want to buy at any cost to include themselves in the elite club.
There are watches that cost about $50/- but any Rolex user wouldn’t mind paying up to $18000/- for Rolex’s new Datejust 36 watch that comes with scratch resistant sapphire, a bezel dome, and an Oystersteel body.
They need something, you provide that, they buy the product and here the transaction completes!
What’s more in that for them?
See, there are other brands that are doing just the same as you’re doing but you want to stand apart from them, right?
In order to up your branding strategy, you need to include loyalty programs to reward those consumers who always come back to you for buying your products.
This would benefit them as well as strengthen your brand when they’ll tell others about how well you treat your consumers.
Take Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program that is an accurate example of how loyalty programs work.
Sephora offers a standard point system to buyers where they can make purchases and get points for every dollar they spend. In return, they get to spend these points in a multitude of ways that reduces their cost and prevents Sephora’s products from devaluing from excessive discounts, too.
While you prepare to give your brand a distinct position in the market, do it better!
Your consumers have various options and they demand you to tell them how you’re different. Take it as an opportunity and set your best foot forward while inviting your consumers with the unique selling proposition (USPs).
If you’re out of clue, do it as Subway did back in the day!
Subway is known to offer fresh food for its consumers and they made this point their competitive aspect while marketing their brand.
They claim full personalization for their consumers when they step in to order their sandwiches.
You can pick what to eat, give directions the sandwich should be and watch the chef prepare the meal for you with fresh ingredients.
As I conclude this post, let me share one very important component of a strong brand strategy that makes your brand invincible.
Once you cultivate loyal consumers, don’t just stop there!
Make them your representatives so your brand can have another marketing channel (word of mouth) that offers you repeated benefits in terms of sales, recognition and a sustainable revenue stream.
Look at Harley Davidson and how having a devoted consumer segment has benefited them to secure a stable market position.
They’ve positioned themselves as a premium motorcycle manufacturer that offers class and a distinct identity to its riders. This has helped the company in gaining a stable position in the market and they thrived on their consumer’s loyalty. As their consumers won’t exchange their Harley with another motorcycle that comes in the same price range in fact, they’d invite others to be a Harley rider, too, which ultimately benefits the brand.
A must read for you: 9 Reasons why I think your start-up will fail without a professional logo?
I hope this would prove a helpful checklist for you to create a perfect branding strategy for your brand.
The brand strategy is something that gives you a clear understanding of the path you’re about to walk on. But be sure to revisit and revise any part that demands your attention once you have some idea of what your consumers actually seek from you.
In simple words, you’ll have to make small adjustments to keep your brand on the right track to achieve your branding goals. And if you’re still unsure how to do the brand strategy part right, you will always find the needed help from folks at Full Stop Inc. so feel free to contact one of our branding experts. Adios!
Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.
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