What goes into building a brand strategy? Here are brand strategy elements successful brands use, how they use them, and why they work. So what is Brand Strategy?
There are plenty of definitions of brand strategy out there. The simplest explanation is:
This definition is short and sweet and a great example of oversimplification. This guide will help you understand the basics of crafting a brand strategy. Here are 10 categories your brand needs to define. Each brand strategy element will influence the other and a brand’s overall strategy. There are multiple levels of skill and execution in each of these categories.
1. Ideal Customer
A customer persona (also known as a buyer persona) is a semi-fictional archetype that represents the key traits of a large audience segment based on the data you’ve collected from user research and web analytics. It gives you insight into how prospective customers think, behave and decide.
Actionable buyer personas define your buyers’ attitudes, concerns, and criteria that drive their decisions.
Personas must be based on data-driven research rather than opinions and assumptions. Simply defining information about a fictional customer with gut feelings and good intentions will sabotage the following nine steps. The problem with many personas is that they are based on the preferences of the people providing the service, not the customer.
Get crystal clear on who your audience is and what they want, and you significantly increase your ability to connect.
Your ideal customer will guide every decision within your business plan, let alone your brand.
How to define your Ideal Customer: Feeling overwhelmed defining your ideal customer? Schedule a call today! Click here
2. Brand Purpose
The compelling why behind your brand
Of course, every business exists to make money; however, what is the problem you solve? Why does that problem need to be solved? How does your approach emotionally impact your ideal customer? Brands that take the time to define their WHY resonate with their ideal customer.
If you wonder how much a clearly defined purpose will impact your goals, The results are in. In a “Strength of Purpose Study” of 8,000 global consumers by New York-based Zeno Group, the results were clear. Customers are four to six times more likely to buy from, trust, champion, and defend companies with a vital Purpose.
How to define your Brand Purpose:
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3. Brand Vision
The brand vision sets the destination for the brand. It plants a flag in the ground as to where the brand wants to go, which ultimately influences decisions and actions to guide the brand in the right direction.
How I define Vision
A compelling picture of the future that you prefer over your current reality.
A brand strategy vision is not a piece of marketing designed to attract customers but an internal guidepost expressed in the brand vision statement. Brands that are acutely in tune with the vision of their future brand can breathe a sense of believability throughout the brand’s personnel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Tesla is a brand with a big vision. Tesla had become a world-leading brand and the benchmark in the electric car market. But Tesla’s vision goes beyond the automobile industry and into the realm of sustainability. The revamp of Tesla’s brand vision statement, which is also used as its mission statement, is:
To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Tesla doesn’t use their vision statement as a marketing position. They use it to drive decisions as the brand expands its services and products.
How To Create Your Brand Vision: Are you feeling stuck crafting a compelling vision? Schedule a call today! Click here
4. Brand Mission
While the brand vision outlines the brand's aspirations for the future, the brand mission defines the brand’s commitments for today.
The goal of the brand mission is to define the actions that will lead you toward your vision. The mission clarifies the brand leaders and personnel about the consistent commitments it must deliver to achieve the future vision. When a brand is clear on its commitments, it shows up in its actions and forms part of the brand’s reputation. For example, Patagonia is a well-established lifestyle brand that produces outdoor, camping, and climbing apparel. The brand has solid roots in protecting the environment.
Patagonia Mission: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. Today, many brands have jumped on the “Sustainability” trend without much to show for it. Patagonia, however, is an example of how a compelling Purpose and Vision clarifies a brand mission that drives a brand strategy’s success.
How To Create Your Brand Mission Are you uncertain that your mission is actionable and aligned? Schedule a call today! Click here
5. Brand Values
Brand values outline a code of conduct for anyone who interacts with your customers.
The goal of brand values is to define the beliefs that reinforce a philosophy of conduct.
Brand values form an integral part of the brand culture, which is how the brand functions internally. Brands with leaders who embody and recruit for values alignment authentically reinforce your brand strategy. This isn’t just an assumption. Both on revenue, and stock-price performance, brands that consistently show up in the 100 Best Companies To Work For List, see higher-than-average returns. Brand Values must be actionable. They must shape how the brand engages both internally and externally. Values for the sake of values are useless. IKEA is an example of a brand that is clear on its values and how to use those values as part of its broader brand strategy: We have a strong set of values. They are the compass that guides us in everything we do. Our culture is formed when we put these values into action.
We’re constantly trying to find better ways to get things done and to bring out the best in ourselves and others.
Here are the core brand values that drive the IKEA brand.
Caring for people and the planet
Renew and improve
Different with a meaning
Give and take responsibility
Lead by example
IKEA’s values are unique to them. Make sure your values are unique to your service. They’re straightforward and actionable and can be used to guide decisions, actions, communication, and engagements.
How To Create Your Brand Values
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6. Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is arguably the most critical and challenging brand strategy element to define and develop.
Brand positioning aims to describe the problem you solve in a way that sets the brand apart from its competitors.
An influential brand position may frame your services in a category with little to no competition. Consumers are bombarded with choices in every category, and brands must fight for attention. The best brand position strategies create new categories by framing services in a new way.
Category and positioning strategies play a significant role in influencing purchasing decisions. Apple is one of the best examples of a strong positioning strategy. They take existing products and describe them in a way that makes their customers believe they are unique products with no competition.
There are hundreds of technology brands in the world through none deliver the simplistic brand experience quite like Apple. Apple's focus on advancement and a superior brand experience has allowed Apple to establish the leading position with premium pricing competitors can’t compete with. Here is the Apple brand positioning statement: For individuals who want the best personal device, Apple is the technology leader that emphasizes research, advancement, and innovation to give our customers an innovative and seamless experience. We consider the impact our products and processes have on our customers and the planet.
The brand positioning statement is not designed as a marketing piece but as an internal document to shape everything about the brand, from experience to marketing.
How To Develop A Brand Position will your brand position fade into the crowd? Schedule a call today! Click here
7. Brand Personality
Brand personality is one of the brand strategy's most potent but underutilized elements.
The goal of brand personality is to connect emotionally with the developmental mentality of your audience instead of a cold corporate exchange. It is not what you say; it's how you say it.
93% of communication is tone and posture
Humans connect with others when they find similarities in their interests and values.
We feel more connected to those with the same characteristics and traits because our brain signals familiarity as safety.
Brands that embody their ideal customer's personality traits trigger familiarity.
Harley Davison is a perfect example of a brand with personality. They may be the only corporate brand that is literally tattooed on the arms of customers who hate corporate brands.
Harley’s target audience are rebels at heart, and they use that rebellious spirit throughout the experience, which includes
Rugged Brand Identity
Rough Tone Of Voice
How To Develop A Brand Personality Do you need guidance defining a brand personality for your customer? Schedule a call today! Click here
8. Brand Voice
Brand voice and tone are the "character development" of your brand personality.
The goal of the brand voice is to define your customer's native language.
While your brand personality is the broader strokes of your brand's behavior, your brand voice defines the insider lingo or slang within your customer base.
Old Spice is an excellent example of how a brand can use a refreshing tone and personality to speak the common tongue of an audience in contrast to its competition.
Before their repositioning, Old Spice was seen as a boring grandpa brand.
But with a refreshed personality laced with silliness, satire, and swag, Old Spice became the #1 brand in the Men’s Body Wash category within 18 months of adjusting its brand strategy and tone of voice.
How To Develop Your Tone Of Voice Not sure your brand voice speaks your customer's language? Schedule a call today! Click here
9. Brand Story
Brand story or brand storytelling strategy is the framework of narrative techniques used to engage with the audience in a highly engaging way. Brand storytelling aims to position your services as the way your customer transforms into the hero of their own story.
Many brands make the mistake of communicating why their service is better than the competition and forget to craft an emotional connection with the problem it solves for their customer.
Humans are emotional decision-makers and stories engage a primitive part of the brain that cuts through the barrier of analytical thinking.
When we hear a story, it draws our attention and opens a story loop that needs to be closed. In other words, when we hear a story, we instinctively need to know what happens next.
Can you accurately describe the emotions your audience desires and tries to avoid?
Brands that weave their message into a story their audience cares about stick and spread.
Allstate's "Mayhem Like Me" campaign exemplifies the art within brand storytelling. They rolled out multiple scenarios of everyday ways Murphy's law plays out in our lives. (If anything can go wrong, it will) Mayhem personifies chaos as a human villain. Allstate positions its services as a shield against "sh*t happens".
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10. Tagline & Slogan
The brand tagline or slogan is steps 1-9, distilled into as few words as possible.
The goal of the tagline or slogan is to plant a memorable idea in the audience's mind that can grow into the position it wants to own.
Though the words “tagline” and “slogan” and used interchangeably. There is a difference. A slogan spearheads a marketing campaign, while a tagline spearheads the brand.
Slogans, however, can be promoted to a tagline on the back of a highly successful campaign.
The tagline should help to solidify the position by making the idea simple and easy to remember. Nike’s tagline is “Just Do It.” is probably the most successful and memorable tagline of all time. The Nike tagline was born as a slogan for a campaign by Wieden and Kennedy in 1987. The slogan resonated deeply with the athletic community, which was Nike’s core audience, and it quickly became the adopted tagline.
The tagline has become the spearhead of the brand alongside its iconic swoosh and acts as a way of life for the brand and its customers.
How To Create a Tagline: Is your tagline a paragraph and difficult to remember? Schedule a call today! Click here