The Branding Process: 2. Developing A Brand Strategy
Following on from my previous post on the first stage of the branding process – conducting research – I will now take a look at the second stage, developing and clarifying strategy.
A brand strategy is essential in showing which direction a brand should take, in order for it to grow.
Developing a brand strategy takes a combination of rational thinking and creative imagination to create a strategy that works for the company internally and for its customers externally.
“Look into a microscope with one eye and a telescope with the other.” Blake Deutsch
So, in developing a new brand strategy, it is important to look closely at the company in terms of how you wish it to be portrayed and also from the perspective of the customers; what do they want and does your brand satisfy their needs?
A brand strategy should clarify:
- Target markets
- Competitive advantage
- Brand values
- Brand personality
- Brand promise
- Brand proposition
More often than not, a complete new brand strategy is not required. It may be that some of the elements are already defined and in place, and just need blending together to create a unified message and identity that needs to be taken through to the design process.
Narrow the Focus
A strong brand has a narrow focus and many companies make the mistake of trying to be too many things. As brand stylists, we are looking for the big idea, or the gold. It has probably been there all the time but has been hidden away. By bringing in an external consultant and allowing them to speak to management, staff, customers etc, it often brings out the brand essence and leads to one key focus, which is what your brand can become known for.
The most successful brand positioning is one which tells consumers that the brand can deliver and why they should be selected over the competition. Consumers are overwhelmed with purchasing choices, so you need to tell them “buy this from us because…”. And you will understand the reasons why they may choose to buy from you, having completed the research in stage 1.
Another part of developing the brand strategy is developing or clarifying the company name and tagline, if one is required. Naming a company is a very complex task and one that requires a significant amount of time, thought, brainstorming and research. The brand name is a valuable asset and any decision to rename must not be taken lightly.
Brand strategy is a very complex topic and above is just a very basic run-through of the main processes we go through. Our brand stylists are always on hand to answer any further questions you may have.
Until next time,