Having a strong brand helps a business to attract the right customers. It takes multiple encounters with a product or service before people buy, and having a strong and consistent brand helps people to connect with and remember you. A brand strategy is a tool that helps you to accomplish a strong and consistent brand.
Many new business owners think of brand and branding in terms of a logo. Your logo in fact is part of your company’s visual identity, but before you design your logo there are more fundamental aspects of your brand, such as your mission, positioning, values, personality and more. A strategy clearly defines these and other primary elements in order to guide such key decisions as what to name your company, whom to hire, what your logo should look like, where to market and advertise, and even how to conduct your business.
Elements of a Brand
Different experts outline different elements that they define in creating a brand strategy. Those elements may include:
Vision: The overall big-picture idea for what the brand is trying to accomplish in the world
Mission: What the brand is dedicated to doing in order to fulfill the vision
Audience: The various groups of constituents the brand will speak to
Positioning: How the brand differs from the competition
Personality: Adjectives used to describe the brand
Values: A set of values that your brand represents
Benefits: What customers get from the brand
Objectives/goals: What the product, service or company plans to achieve with the brand, and by when.
Do You Need a Brand Strategy?
Defining these terms for your brand can take time, one thing many entrepreneurs and small business owners are short on. This leaves many small business owners to skip creating a brand strategy altogether. Others create a brand strategy as they go along, drawing their mission clearer into picture with each business and marketing mistake they make. There is something to be said for this approach as well, especially as product development becomes more of an iterative process.
If you are a new business, taking the time to create a brand strategy can save you from making business and marketing decisions that don’t make sense. In the long run, having a brand strategy can save you time and money by helping you to avoid mistakes. Having a strong brand strategy also can save time down the line as you are more easily able to communicate to designers and copywriters what your brand is about, so that they can go about creating your marketing materials in a focused way.
As a busy business owner you may decide to spend some time defining these elements. Some time spent considering these things is better than no time. If you do create a brand strategy, put parameters around it, decide when you want to have it done by. It can take months, or you can decide to keep it to two weeks. Part of managing the time involved is recognizing that a brand strategy is a living document, it is never perfected. It will continually develop as your business develops. If you only have a little time, I would suggest starting with clearly defining your audience, goals, positioning and benefits, as these elements are essential to effectively selling your product or service. When you have more time, you can also define your vision, mission, values and personality. Clearly defining these elements will give your brand that special spark that people connect with.
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Post by Rebekah Meola