Your brand is a collection of all the thoughts and emotions that come to mind when a person thinks about your business. From your logo to your customers’ experience and everything in between, your brand is what defines you as unique and helps differentiate you from your competition. Developing your business brand takes time and careful planning. Read on to get some guidelines on creating a brand strategy for your business.
A brand strategy is a long-term plan used to establish and build your brand. Coming up with a brand strategy can be tough, so to help you get started, think about the following:
Think of where you want your business to be next month, in a year, and a few years down the line. You don’t have to have an exact picture, but having a realistic vision to work toward is the key to growth.
Put some thought into your short term and long term business goals. Do you want to increase your customers by a certain percent? Do you want to establish a customer loyalty program? Do you eventually want to open up a second location? Make sure your brand strategy aligns with your marketing goals, so that you can build your brand as you build your products, services, and marketing campaigns.
Every person has a unique personality. If your business were a person, what would he or she be like? How would others describe his or her tone, delivery, and style? Thinking of your brand as a person can help you visualize the attributes of your business that you want to highlight, and what activities will help to accomplish that.
There’s nothing wrong with looking at your competitors’ brands and brands that are well known among your audience. You of course don’t want to duplicate or imitate their ideas, but it can be helpful to get a sense for what different businesses stand for. This can help you to identify what your business stands for, to come up with your own unique ideas, and to identify gaps that you might be able to fill in.
Brand strategy is a creative strategy, and looking at existing brands can help provide the creative inspiration you may need.
Your brand should be different and personal, something that conveys a specific message. While there are hundreds of businesses out there that share products and services, their messaging is what differs. Take the commercial coffee chains Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, for example. Both sell similar products, but their brand strategies speak to very different audiences and convey very different messages.
Your brand strategy can center around a number of aspects of your business, such as
• Your mission statement
• A core value shared by your customers
• A common and unique characteristic of your target audience
• The specific problem you solve
• The unique way you solve a common problem
• The end goal of your customers
Let’s say you own a pizzeria. There are lots of pizzerias out there, but yours is unique. Why? You serve authentic Italian brick-oven pizza in a setting that takes your customers into the heart of Sicily. Sure, you sell pizza like many others, but your purpose is to deliver an authentic Italian experience. So what can you offer to your customers that they can’t get elsewhere or from your competitors?
Customer experience is the great equalizer of businesses. Sure, a competitor might offer the same products or services at a cheaper price, but if they treat their customers poorly or fail to address small but significant details, it won’t matter. People are willing to spend a little more money or time for a better experience. Think not just about delivering a better experience than your competitors deliver, but also of what the ideal experience is for your customers specifically. What specific actions and details can you cover that show your customers that you truly stand for what your business says it stands for? What aspects of your brand can you translate into action when it comes to communicating with, serving, and supporting your customers?
The design and colors of your logo should support your brand strategy. Color is a crucial part of any good brand, and for good reason. Research has shown that up to 90% of snap judgments customers make about products are based on color alone. Why? Different colors elicit different ideas and emotions that you can leverage to better establish your brand.
Here are some common colors and the “vibes” that you may experience from them:
• Red: passion, excitement, boldness (but also danger and warning, so be careful with this one!)
• Yellow: warmth, brightness, optimism
• Purple: royalty, creativity, approachability
• Blue: dependability, trust, also the most commonly used color for branding
• Green: growth, health, safety
• Black and white: simplicity, class, confidence
The colors that make up your logo and your website design have more of an impact on your audience than you think, so be sure to put careful thought into which ones you use. Als, make sure your logo is resizable so that you can upload it to any platform and apply it to any piece of swag for increased exposure and brand recognition.
Developing a brand strategy for your business is key to putting forth a unique profile that stands out above the competition. With the right tone, personality, colors, and actions you take for your business, you can make it both more easily identifiable by your target audience and more appealing to potential customers.