I see ads every day telling me what I "need to add to my brand strategy". But what is a brand strategy and do you even need it if you already have your logo and the messaging basics?
So, before I answer these two questions, let's start with a common definition for brand. Brand is the perception of who you are as an organization. Essentially, it's not what you say about yourself, but what others say and think about you. And this perception is defined by every interaction your audience has with your brand.
Because you can't control how others perceive you, it can often seem like you have to luck into great branding or be so creative and on top of every trend just to "fit in" with the cool brands it seems impossible for small businesses. It's true that just like our own reputations, we can't control how others perceive the things we say and do, but if we consistently and intentionally show up in a certain way over time, we can influence the perception so significantly that the majority of people on our circles will see as who we try to be.
Branding works the same way! We may not be able to control it, but we are the primary influencers of that perception. The trick to making this work is:
Brand Strategy is "the plan" to take the concept of what your brand is and make it a reality. It's how we, as leaders, strategically influence these key interactions to ensure your audience's perception of your brand matches up with the brand identity you've created. That's finding brand alignment.
Sometimes this looks like adding iconography to create distinctions between products. Sometimes it looks like developing out specific experience touchpoints or re-vamping a marketing campaign or website. Still, other times is finding new ways to improve team buy through internal brand training. The point is, brand strategy is something that should be a part of your daily operations and reviewed regularly. And just like marketing strategy, it's important to keep a history of the evolution of your brand strategy along with metrics on how it's performed over time. A brand strategy well executed builds value for your brand and distinguishes you from others in your industry that are simply relying on offers, features, or discounts.
Hopefully, this explanation has given you some insight as to how and why some of the most influential brands work on brand strategy.
If you are inspired to take a closer look at your brand strategy, get in touch to find out more about our brand strategy sessions.