When it comes to brand design, the first thing everyone focuses on is their logo, or a business card. It’s a common mistake that many people make, putting the cart before the horse.
Brand strategy is the essential foundation on which any brand is built. Without it your brand will lack substance, direction and impact.
A brand strategy is not just the preserve of big brands. It can help businesses of any size create a clear and cohesive brand experience, improve their marketing efforts and generate more revenue.
In fact, a brand strategy is essential for businesses of any size who are seeking to build and scale their brand and create an impact. For intentional and purpose-led businesses, it’s the corner-stone of business and brand planning.
This blog post will discuss what a brand strategy is, exactly what a brand strategist does, how to develop a brand strategy for your business, and why you need one now more than ever!
What is a brand strategy?
A brand strategy is a plan for how you want your company to be seen by the world. It’s a plan for how you want your company to be perceived. It helps you to think about how your company will be positioned in the market, what you stand for and what makes you different.
A brand strategy is the way that we communicate what our business stands behind and believes in, as well as who it wants its customers or clients (or both) to become over time with their products/services being used by them on an ongoing basis.”-Andrew Davis
In essence, a Brand strategy should clearly articulate What you do, how you do it, why you do it, who you do it for and what you want them to think, feel and do when it comes to your business
Your brand strategy is the foundation for your brand. A brand strategy is the blueprint for how you want to be seen in relation to what you stand for, what you believe, how you act and how you show up in the world as your business.
In my brand strategy sessions, I take my clients through an in-depth session to uncover their vision, mission and goals. We talk about their values, the deeper why behind the business, how they are currently perceived by their clients, how they want to be seen and much much more. This in turn becomes a brand strategy document that outlines the company’s goals, objectives and values. It also includes how these will be communicated to customers or clients (or both).
A strong Brand Strategy can help you differentiate yourself from your competitors in an increasingly crowded marketplace.”Andrew Davis
Why do i need a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy forms the foundation of your brand. It’s a compass that will help guide all of your decisions, from what brand colours to pick to website design decisions to marketing campaigns and product/service development.
Your brand strategy will highlight ways to connect the dots between where you are and where you want to be.
Without a brand strategy, you’ll lack clarity and could easily get pulled off course. Decisions that made are often subjective or without clear reasoning.
With a clear brand strategy, it’s easy to see which decisions make sense for the business and which don’t.
It’s important because it helps you stay focused on what your goals are and who you’re trying to reach.
5 reasons you need a Brand strategy
1. Stand out from your competitors.
A clear and well-defined positioning will make it easier for customers or clients who are looking at the market as a whole (rather than just one company) to see that yours is different in some way; this could be because of what you offer, the way you offer it or just based on the values that your business stands for.
2. Create a unique and memorable brand.
A strong, cohesive strategy will help you to create an identity that is recognisable from the outset – this means customers or clients won’t need time (or lots of information) before they can recognise your business as different in some way; it also helps them remember who you are when there are lots of companies to choose from.
3. Create a clear and consistent message.
This is important because it helps people understand what your business does, how you’re different, how they can benefit from working with you or from buying your products/services etc., as well as helping them feel confident in their decision (because the information has been presented clearly).
4. Create a visual identity that is aligned with your vision, mission and ideal client.
When you have a solid brand strategy in place you can make decisions steeped in psychology and logic and remove the guesswork and subjectivity of design.
5. Craft a customer experience that is consistent and aligned with your mission.
This means creating an environment where meeting your customer’s needs are front and centre and in line with your shared values.
In summary, a brand strategy is an essential tool for your business , and one that will help you to create a strong, consistent brand that builds trust, loyalty and creates the impact you want in the world.
If you’re looking to create a brand with a solid brand strategy, check out my brand design packages or get in touch.
What’s included in a Brand Strategy?
There’s no set framework for what should be included in a Brand Strategy so each company’s brand strategy document might look different
- A brand statement
- Vision & mission
- brand values
- Your ‘why’
- Competitor analysis
- Ideal customer avatars/ brand heroes/ brand muse
- Your unique selling proposition
- Brand Avatar or brand personality
- Brand Essence / Brand Pillars
- Brand Voice
- Key messages
- Marketing platforms
- Brand vibe
- Visual inspiration
- Colour palette
What is a Brand Strategist and what do they do?
A brand strategist is someone who helps a company develop and maintain its brand in line with its wider business goals and vision.
They can help you grow your business and increase its profitability by developing a clear, cohesive strategy for all the touchpoints with customers.
Brand strategists bridge the gap between your business and design, helping to create a cohesive brand experience for customers and a brand that has substance.
A brand strategist will help you find your unique differentiator and then help you communicate it to your audience. They help you stay focused on what your goals are and help create clarity around what it is that you do and what makes you different.
A brand strategist looks at the business, emotional and psychological sides of your brand and helps you to develop a clear strategy to achieve your goals taking into account your values and vision.
They can work with the marketing team and other stakeholders in order develop a cohesive brand and communication strategy that meets both the commercial business goals and the deeper ‘why’ and visionary goals and mission.
A good brand strategist will help you develop a cohesive brand strategy that forms the foundation of your brand. They’ll ask you the right questions and dig beyond the surface level to uncover the true essence of your brand and reflect this back to you to show you how this relates to your brand and business decisions.
The difference between a brand strategist and a brand designer
There’s a subtle but significant difference between a Brand strategist and a brand designer. Brand strategists focus on the foundations, planning and business alignment of the brand, brand designers match this to the aesthetics and create the visual elements of a brand.
Brand strategists tend to take a more holistic and long-term view of your brand with a focus on achieving long-term goals, they will look at how your brand identity translates into the day to day activities of your business.
Brand strategy can highlight the longer-term needs of your brand and business, which usually ends up saving you time, money and effort in the long run.
Don’t get me wrong, a good brand designer is worth their weight in gold. They can create an incredible brand that will support your vision for your business, they’ll ask you lots of questions about your business, ideal customer and competitors, but they are reliant on you providing the right information.
If you don’t have clarity around your vision and business then your brand designer might struggle to bring together that vision in a clear and cohesive way. They can only work with what you give them.
A brand strategist is trained to look beyond the surface level responses to find the true essence of your brand, to read between the lines and to connect the dots between where you are now and where you want to be.
Brand design historically, was left in the hands of graphic designers who, whilst understanding design rules and psychology may not have the holistic view of the business and its wider and deeper goals.
Graphic designers tend to create beautiful brands but not always ones that stand out for the right reasons. The best breed of brand designers merge brand strategy and design to deliver cohesive brands that deliver on every. level.
Brand Strategy Example
A brand strategy is different to brand guidelines. Brand guidelines show you how to apply your brand, a brand strategy focuses on the foundations of your brand and what your brand represents.
Brand strategy can be a simple as defining the tone of voice you want to use in all communications, or it can be as in-depth as creating a whole plan for who your business is, how it shows up in the world, why and to what end.
In this brand strategy document we explored:
- The vision
- Brand Story
- Brand Pillars
- Ideal Clients incl: How they think and feel and where you intersect
- Competitor Analysis
- Brand Messaging & essential talking points
- Unique Differentiators
- Visual Inspiration
What are the benefits of having a strong, cohesive brand strategy?
A strong, cohesive brand strategy can help you to inspire trust, build authority and attract the right kind of customers. It’s not something to be undestimated or overlooked.
Any good brand strategy should layout the vision for your brand and include the brand essence and values. If you use your brand strategy to guide your future decisions it will be easy to achieve a consistent approach whether that is verbally through your tone of voice or visually through your brand identity.
2. Build Trust
Consistency builds trust, as do brands with strong values. Your brand strategy should layout how you reflect those values through your brand.
There’s nothing worse than a business without direction. Without clarity, every decision becomes something to agonise over, once you have clarity around your vision and mission and a clear strategy to get there it becomes easier to make decisions that align with your goals.
Another benefit of having a brand strategy is how easy it makes translating what you want and need when working with copywriters, photographers, graphic designers, printers, interior designers, event designers and other 3rd party suppliers of you business. Your brand strategy provides both a written and visual guide of your vision.
Building a brand strategy
If you’re building a brand and you want to create an impact, then you need a brand strategy. If you’d like to discuss building a brand strategy for your business get in touch