What Is Brand Strategy?:

After you have learned what a brand is and why it’s important to invest in branding, the next step is to actually begin developing your Brand Strategy.

Keep in mind, building a strong brand strategy takes time, effort, and commitment.

It’s not something you’re going to quickly complete in a week, a month, or maybe even a year’s time.

It’s an ongoing process that defines the how, what, where, when and to whom your business plans to communicate to.

If you don’t know who you are, why you exist, what you believe in, or what you’re trying to achieve, your business is destined to struggle.

After completing weeks of research and audits into your company, your customers, and your competitors, your brand strategy will become the guide you use to design your brand identity and articulate your purpose.

A brand strategy helps you understand who you are and acts as a blueprint to help you communicate it. It will emphasise the vision of your company, and highlight your future goals.

And it will differentiate your business from the competition and focus on your unique competitive advantage.

A well-written and implemented brand strategy will connect with the emotions and needs of the consumer and encompass all aspects of brand communications.

It will include your purpose, personality, positioning, vision, values, mission, message, voice, name, proposition, and visual identity.

Warning Signs

Let’s begin by looking at 5 key warning signs that your business may be in trouble, and in desperate need of well crafted and designed brand strategy.

1: You don’t understand your purpose, vision, mission, or values. Therefore your marketing and business decisions don’t reflect them.

2: You develop marketing campaigns and advertisements and just hope they will work. If you don’t have a plan, strategy, and guidelines in place, your marketing efforts could be a waste of your time and your money.

3: Your employees are disengaged, disinterested, and failing at their roles. A company needs a well thought out brand strategy to unify the team.

4: You don’t have cohesive brand messaging or visual identity. Therefore your content is inconsistent and contradictory, leading to consumer confusion.

5: You can’t clearly articulate your brand. Without a well positioned and differentiated brand you will be unable to stand out in the crowded marketplace.

If you can relate to any of these warning signs, then it’s most definitely time to implement a brand strategy.

And it’s more essential and critical now than it has ever been before because the marketplace has changed dramatically in recent years.

Branding is no longer used for vanity or aesthetic reasons.

People’s expectations have changed and the walls between the business and the consumer are breaking down.

People want to feel an emotional connection to a brand, they want to join a community and support a common cause or values.

Transparency, trust, and connection are the traits that make a brand successful in today’s world.

The 7 Principles of Branding

Now that we’ve defined what a brand strategy is and why it’s important, let’s get more specific and review the components that make up an effective brand strategy.

In my over 20 years of design and branding experience working with some of the world’s most successful and beloved brands, I have discovered 7 Principles of Branding that every business needs to define and implement to build brand equity and become the leader in their industry.

The first of these brand principles is Definitive Motivation.

Your Definitive Motivation is who you are, why you are doing this, and defines the problem you are solving.

It is your mission, your values, your vision, and what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.

Essentially your Definitive Motivation is the reason why you exist.

The second brand principle is Targeted Audience.

Targeted Audience defines your demographic and who your ideal customer is.

By clarifying who your audience is, you will learn about their beliefs, what’s important to them, and what drives their buying decisions.

You will also discover their goals, their pain points, and what might make them hesitant to use your product or service.

The third brand principle is Competitive Awareness.

Competitor Awareness is exactly what it sounds like, which is knowing who your competitors are.

You must discover who your competition is, how you are different from them, how you are the same, what makes them better than you, and what you are able to do that they cannot.

You must determine their strengths, their weaknesses, and how you can capitalize on those weaknesses by differentiating your brand from theirs.

The fourth brand principle is Strategic Messaging.

This is how you speak to your customers and is where you strategically communicate to your audience and create positive engagement.

Your messaging should allow them to easily understand what you do, your values, your promise, and the benefits of your products or services.

Strategic Messaging includes your name, your tagline, your voice, your personality, and your value proposition.

The fifth brand principles is Engaging Identity.

Engaging Identity is everything visual that represents your brand.

It includes your logo, your brand’s color palette, the typography you use in your designs, and how you coordinate illustration, photography, icons, web design, and motion graphics to create a consistent look and feel, so your customers can easily recognize your brand.

The sixth brand principle is Consistent Implementation.

This is the process of implementing and coordinating your brand messaging and visual identity consistently across all your consumer touchpoints.

Basically it’s taking all the hard work, commitment, and time you have put into developing your brand and strategically releasing it into the world for everyone to see.

The last of the seven brand principles is Asset Management.

Asset Management is focused on creating guidelines for your team to use as they develop your marketing campaigns, advertisements, and all your touchpoints.

Proper management, enforcement, and systematic audits of your brand assets will not only maintain consistency, but also reveal where your brand may be failing so you can make the necessary adjustments.

So those are the 7 brand principles that you must define and implement if you intend to build a beloved and lasting brand.

In Brand Design Academy I dive deeper into each of the principles and show you step-by-step how to create a bullet proof brand strategy that will launch your business to the top of your industry.

To continue your training, please be sure to download the FREE Brand Builder Toolbox and complete the Action Guide.

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Chris
Chris McCarthy is a designer, creative director, brand strategist, consultant, business coach and the founder of Brand Identified. Contact Me.

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