Now before we go any further, let's define what a “brand” is.
On the outer face, a brand is a sign, symbol, design, wording, or the combination of all of these.
In a deeper meaning, branding refers to a set of expectations and memories that serve as a promise to buyers.
The ‘promise' is about what they expect in using a product and the feeling they will gain by using the brand, which is what accounts for consumer decisions to choose one product over another.
Why is a brand strategy important?
Let's take a look at some of the reasons:
1 – Prevents ad hoc marketing efforts
Once your products create a positive image in the customer's mind, your marketing efforts will be much more efficient than ever before.
Therefore, this will save you time and money, as you will have already established a place in the minds of the consumer.
When you already have a place in the minds of potential customers, you do not have to fight to break that first barrier.
Instead, new customers will be more receiving of your message since they have already heard of you, and have an idea of what you provide.
2 – Serves as an economical means to address customer concerns
With a strong brand strategy in place, there are high chances that you will create a reliable brand which will meet customer demands.
This is because a branding strategy needs planning.
You need to understand customer concerns clearly before going ahead with the plan you wish to execute.
3 – Increase in profits
A reliable brand enables a company associated with it to benefit from increased profit margins.
This is because a strong brand identity attracts more customers and also builds loyalty among existing buyers which makes your company stand out among competitors.
It is widely known that the more brand loyalty you have among your customers, the less you need to spend to reach them.
Key elements to building a brand strategy
It is, therefore, no doubt that having a reliable brand is crucial for all businesses, owing to the advantages that it can give you over other competitors in your industry.
To gain these benefits, you need a well-executed brand strategy.
So, what are the key elements to enable you to build this stable brand?
1 – Target Audience
These are the people who are most likely to buy your products.
When branding your products, you have to make sure that the brand targets prospective buyers.
While the market in a B2C is quite easy to spot, in a B2B, the market is complicated due to the purchasing process nature.
Therefore, you need to consider who will make the buying decisions when it comes to a B2B purchase.
When the decisions are to be raised by the department manager or the purchasing manager or a team of-of executives, you need to come up with a messaging structure that addresses those responsible.
If your company does not already know it's target audience, or who is making the buying decision, it is critical first to identify and ensure you know whom you are targeting before getting your message ready.
2 – Brand Promise
The brand promise is a message sent by the branding company to the target audience, where such a company assures its customers of what to expect by buying its products or using its services.
For you to come with a great brand promise, you need to determine what customers, employees, and partners expect from your products and base the message on delivering these expectations.
If you have a high-end, luxury service, for example, your customer's expectations will fall in line with what is expected from a luxury brand: highest level of service and customer support, ease of the entire process, and a luxury price to go along with the service.
However, if your company, using another example, provides low-end products for the masses, your customer's expectation will fall in line with what is expected from a low-end/average product.
This includes average quality and a low priced product.
3 – Brand Perception
You need to determine how people perceive your brand.
To begin with, seek to find out the past and current impression people have regarding your brand, and establish the judgment you need them to have in the future.
You can do this by consulting your current buyers and get and an idea of what they think about your brand.
Besides, seek to find out if your target audience is aware of your brand and what they think about it.
Such a measure will enable you to get to know what business branding strategy improvements you need to make, so as to make your name more stable.
Let's use the example of a luxury hotel.
If during their research process they come to find out that their customer's expectations in service were not met, they know they will need to make improvements to bring the level to that expected of a luxury brand.
A high degree of duty and professionality from all staff, elegantly designed hotel rooms and common areas, the highest level of cleanliness, etc.
4 – Brand Values
For you to create a strong brand, you need to establish what values determine how you make decisions in your business.
This is because your brand needs to incorporate all these values.
So what are your company values?
What drives your business and sets the stage for the products/services you provide and your impact in the lives of your customers and others?
Here is an example of a brand value from Patagonia, a company that makes the environmental health of the planet their core value:
“Patagonia grew out of a small company that made tools for climbers. Alpinism remains at the heart of a worldwide business that still makes clothes for climbing – as well as for skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, paddling and trail running. These are all silent sports. None require a motor; none deliver the cheers of a crowd. In each game, the reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection between us and nature.
Our values reflect those of a business started by a band of climbers and surfers and the minimalist style they promoted. The approach we take towards product design demonstrates a bias for simplicity and utility.
For us at Patagonia, a love of wild and beautiful places demands participation in the fight to save them, and to help reverse the steep decline in the overall environmental health of our planet. We donate our time, services and at least 1% of our sales to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups all over the world who work to help reverse the tide.
We know that our business activity – from lighting stores to dyeing shirts – creates pollution as a by-product. So we work steadily to reduce those harms. We use recycled polyester in many of our clothes and only organic, rather than pesticide-intensive, cotton.
Staying true to our core values during thirty-plus years in business has helped us create a company we are proud to run and work for. So our focus on making the best products possible has brought us success in the marketplace.”
5 – Brand Voice
These are the characteristics that define your brand's personality both within and outside your organisation.
These traits are what that determine how clients, employees, and partners describe yourBrand.
You need to create features that your brand should comply with, and these should be suitable when related to your audience and your voice.
The benefit you are likely to gain by having a good brand personality is a better emotional connection with your audience and uniqueness from other competing products.
6 – Brand Positioning
This is the position which your brand holds in the minds of your customers and so, the position the brand holds in the overall market as compared to your competitor's names.
Your brand's position tells what makes your company different from others, what customers can gain by using your products, your target audience, what unique value your company possesses, who is your brand's competitor and many others.
From the above, it is clear that several components make up a brand.
For you to develop these elements so as that they work to give more confidence to your customers, you need effective branding strategies.
Make sure that you implement a clear and efficient brand strategy to enable you to develop a successful branding for your company.
Author Bio: A love for entrepreneurship and e-commerce, Melissa has made it a life goal to learn both these arts. Currently working on Lighting Shoes, check it out here: LightingShoes: Yeezy inspired light up shoes for kids and adults.