The Definitive Guide to Strategic Branding

NicoleBotello 0
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Everyone in business has heard the terms “brand strategy” or “strategic branding” at least once, and they really do sound intimidating. Strategic branding is the key to the success of any business. But it is not as difficult as it seems, if you know where to start and what aspects to pay special attention to.

When it comes to developing a strategy that can take your brand through market, audience and competitive landscape changes, no one can do it better than you. But if you need any help, you’ve come to the right place.

We will help you understand the topic of strategic branding: understand what it is, why it is important and what its benefits are. We’ll also cover what you need to get started creating your own brand strategy.

What is strategic branding?

Strategic branding is the process of creating and developing a brand, which involves developing a visual image and tone of voice, as well as communicating a key message and core values ​​to the target audience.

And of course, to start, we need a strategy, a plan to achieve the ultimate goal. This is the brand strategy . It is she who will help your company grow and succeed in the long term.

Strategic branding takes into account all the aspects that make your brand stand out from the rest and make it unique. After all, a recognizable personality—like a great product—is the first step to building a loyal customer base.

Strategic branding should cover all the needs of the target consumer, take into account his needs, emotions and alternative offers of competitors. It’s not about product development or market research, but about establishing a connection between business and customers.

Your brand personality as a whole, and not just your logo or name, will let potential customers know they are looking for you.

Why Strategic Branding Matters

As a business owner, you are probably familiar with strategies. Most likely, you have already dealt with an integrated business strategy, a marketing strategy, and a cost minimization strategy. But your brand strategy is equally important and should not be forgotten.

Strategic branding helps you fully understand the business concept behind your offering. This will allow the team to make the most successful decisions for both the brand and the audience in the future. A recognizable brand not only attracts customers more, but also looks more professional, and is also able to communicate the key message to the main audience more effectively.

As with a general business plan, you should begin developing a new strategy by analyzing your customers’ goals and needs and learning how you can meet them. Of course, you want your brand to become an industry leader, everyone wants it. By focusing on creating strong strategic branding, you can achieve your goal effortlessly.

Benefits of strategic branding

Think of a large company that inspires you: most likely, a clear and understandable brand image will appear before your eyes. You probably remember their personality and tone of voice just as well as you remember the product or service itself.

The reason is that the most successful brands, whether they’re global leaders like Apple and Nike or more niche companies like cosmetics brand Glossier, have built strong reputations that set them apart from the competition.

Strategic branding includes the process of developing a brand identity, image and tone of voice. These elements will let customers know who your brand is, not just what you sell. If you create an image that aligns with the values ​​and interests of your target audience, people are more likely to associate with your brand than with competing brands.

Where do you need to start?

The first step to strategic branding is defining a unique selling proposition ( USP – what makes us special and sets us apart from other brands in the industry ). This will help you better understand your target market and build brand awareness based on the needs of that market, as well as identify and communicate brand values ​​along with your product or service to your audience.

Next, you need to decide on the logo and slogan, as well as all the visual elements of the brand that are responsible for recognition. For example, the font, color palette, and any specific imagery that the brand name should be associated with. Ready? Now the hardest part is over.

Most brands develop guidelines, a set of guidelines that can be shared within the company as well as with new hires, so that everyone has the same vision of the brand’s purpose, image, and visual identity.

The guideline covers everything from the brand mission, keywords that indicate its goals, and ending with color codes and logo placement rules for designers. Such guidance serves as the foundation of brand strategy and is a visual reflection of the brand itself.

Strategic branding process

In today’s world, a website, along with traditional marketing tools such as print media, television and outdoor advertising, is becoming one of the most important assets of any brand.

It is important that the image of the company on the network is fully consistent with its image in the real world. Consistency is the key to building trust with your audience. Strategic branding will help keep all the elements consistent along the way to achieve branding goals.

Applying strategic branding to content and social media strategies will ensure higher conversions for customers interacting with your brand at one point or another. For example, a customer who is looking for a healthy food delivery service should, by looking at your website or social network account, immediately understand what exactly and under what conditions you deliver. Graphic design and copywriting are the best ways to make your brand’s visuals and tone of voice consistent and consistent.

This is how brands are created and developed. There are many factors to consider when developing a strategy. In order for the audience to perceive the brand as something alive and unique, you need to pay attention to 6 key aspects.

1. Define the purpose and objectives of your brand

Understanding the core purpose of your business is just as important as perfecting your product or service. Knowing why you wake up every day and go to work is more important than what you do, according to Allen Adamson , head of North America at Landor Associates . This is what sets you apart from your competitors.

A brand’s purpose can be either the functional purpose of your business, such as making a profit or supporting a specific group of people, or its purpose, the ability to make a profit, to support a specific group of people.

A great way to define and evaluate your brand’s purpose, purpose, mission, and values ​​is to host a workshop and ask questions. What is your company like? What does she offer? How is it different from competitors? You can always hire professional logo designers to run a workshop like this with a creative director.

As part of strategic branding, many companies declare their intentions. For example, the Ecosia search engine is a direct competitor to Google and other search engines, and its intent (planting one tree for every search performed) is as obvious as its function (delivering search results). A brand can subtly communicate its purpose in the course of its day-to-day activities, but the key is to make sure that all existing and potential customers know about your intentions.

The communication strategy should also be heavily built around your brand so that the company’s goals go beyond selling a product or service.

As you work towards a goal, think of other companies that express their intentions in an inspiring way. It is likely that your customers will be close to a similar concept. Especially if the brand goal is unique and has never been seen before in the industry.

2. Think about your brand image

Obviously, you will not be able to attract an audience without a spectacular identity. If a potential customer stumbles upon your brand and doesn’t understand who you are or what services you provide, they will leave without making a purchase. This is primarily about the corporate identity of the brand, which includes a logo and images. But this also applies to the more abstract aspects of identity that customers will later associate with your brand.

For example, even without a signature, you will recognize the Chanel logo of two letters C or the legendary Nike swoosh. If all communication channels are designed in a uniform way, your brand will be memorable and unique.

Corporate identity should be fully consistent with the brand. The image of the mountain in the Patagonia logo is a great example of how the company communicates its identity and offering through visuals.

One of the elements of the brand image is its reputation. Do you want your brand to be perceived as luxurious or affordable, exclusive or affordable, fun or formal? All these decisions need to be considered as part of strategic branding in order to make the right impression on the audience.

3. Develop your brand persona

A brand persona (similar to user personas) is what makes your brand feel like a living thing to customers. It will help add humanity to it and create a community around your product that will resonate in the hearts of new customers.

Peloton is an example of a company that has developed a very strong brand persona despite a lot of competition in the related field. The Peloton isn’t the cheapest and most affordable home bike on the market, but its premium status and the brand’s energetic, enthusiastic, inspiring personality, and the community that has formed around it, are drawing in more and more new customers.

The key to making your brand truly come alive is to choose a personality type that resonates with your audience without seeming fake or overbearing.

4. Determine your brand’s tone of voice

How you speak to your audience is just as important as what you say. In strategic branding, the tone of voice determines how the company communicates with the audience and talks about its business and offerings. Your tone can be expert and professional, funny and witty, or warm and encouraging, depending on the market.

Tone of voice not only makes a brand memorable, it is also part of its persona. Brand messages must be on target so as not to alienate the audience. Stick to the chosen tone in internal communication, so that all departments and teams of the company are on the same wavelength.

Brands with a strong message tend to outperform the competition because they are understandable to users. If new customers can quickly identify who you are and what you offer, the chances of them making a purchase are quite high. In addition, this approach will help you comply with basic SEO requirements and create the right content that will continue to broadcast the key message.

5. Research the brand audience

In strategic branding, understanding your audience is paramount to business success. One of the best ways to get the right idea of ​​demographics is to develop user personas. This will help all departments of the company figure out who to focus on and who to contact. If employees don’t understand your target customers, then they don’t fully understand your brand.

While audience research may seem like an internal aspect of strategic branding, how well you understand your customers will be reflected in all of your company’s external communications.

For example, if your audience is over 50 years old and you are trying to engage them with TikTok videos, misperceptions about your own brand will negatively impact how potential customers see you.

The key message also shows how well you know your audience. In it, you should present the brand’s proposition and values ​​in a way that people can instantly understand what is being said.

For customers, the brand persona, the emotions it conveys, consistent communication, product quality, flexibility and responsiveness to market needs, and the community play an important role. All these elements are constantly changing.

A successful brand is able to track these changes and ensure that its core message stays relevant. You only need to look at cigarette manufacturers who have switched to selling vapes to satisfy their audience’s need for a cheaper and healthier alternative to habitual smoking.

6. Analyze competitors

Perhaps your competitors have something that you don’t. Analyze them and

Borrow from successful solutions for your own strategic branding to fill in the remaining gaps. Of course, completely copying competitors leads to sad consequences, since the market niche is already occupied, and people are unlikely to need another identical brand.

Strategic branding is the key to success

Whether you’re launching a new brand or owning an established business looking to reach a new audience, strategic branding is essential. It will help develop an action plan to achieve the company’s goals. This is a key element of a successful business. So don’t wait another minute and get down to business.