Brand Strategy – What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Brand Strategy – What Is It and Why Is It Important?

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The word ‘strategy’ is one which can cause confusion and sometimes scare people because they don’t really understand what it is.

Brand strategy (not to be confused with marketing strategy) is important for every business, as it identifies all of the elements that are important for your customers.

And it is just as important for small businesses as it is for large businesses. Whatever your size, your customers need to know who you are, how you interact, what you deliver and what benefits you offer to them.

A well defined brand strategy not only benefits your customers, but also your employees and any other stakeholders in the business. It makes sure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet (as the saying goes)!

So what should your strategy consist of?

+   Your vision – what do you want to be?

+   Your brand promise – what commitment do you make to your customers and promise to deliver?

+   Your brand personality – if your company was a person, how would you describe it?

+   Your market position – where should you sit amongst your competitors?

+   Your proposition – what do you offer and how does it benefit your customers?

+   Your brand values – how do you operate internally and how do you interact with customers externally?

A well-defined strategy helps everything to run smoothly within a company as both employees and customers know what to expect from the brand. If executed effectively, the elements of the brand strategy become second nature in day-to-day business.

If you need help with your brand strategy, take a look at our branding packages, call me on 0116 232 5931 or email me.

Until next time,
Gemma

What Should Your Brand Be Saying This Christmas?

What Should Your Brand Be Saying This Christmas?

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Sending Christmas cards or emails to your customers is not about generating business, but about positioning your brand in their mind as kind and thoughtful.

Whilst it does have benefits for you, the sender, in helping to maintain customer relationships, a Christmas card should have a genuine ‘seasons greetings’ message with minimal branding so it does not appear like a selling tool.

Although the festive season is a time for joviality and getting in the Christmas spirit, you must still ensure that your Christmas card represents your brand personality.

As an example, here are some sample personalities and how they might translate to a style of Christmas card.

Traditional card

Brand Personality – Professional, corporate

Design Style – Traditional, simple

 

 

10-5395

Brand Personality – Fun, exciting, spirited

Design Style – Funny

 

 

Friendly Christmas card

Brand Personality – Family-orientated, personal, real

Design Style – Photographic

 

 

Design

Whatever your brand personality, a bespoke design will make the best impression on your customers. A design that has been developed around your brand will show your customers that a great deal of thought has gone into their seasons greetings message and therefore enhances the feeling that they are valued. Whilst your card should include your branding, it should be subtle so as not to be misconstrued as a selling opportunity, otherwise it completely takes away from the sincere message.

Format

The decision between printed cards or email depends on many factors such as budget and  number of recipients. However, if your brand promise is to be environmentally friendly, then printed cards are a no-no and if your brand personality is personal/friendly, then printed cards are the more personal option.

Whatever your choice of style, Hyphen can help you design and print your Christmas cards and calendars.

Contact us now to discuss how your brand personality can be delivered to your customers this festive season.

Your competitors…what are they doing and what makes you different from them?

Your competitors…what are they doing and what makes you different from them?

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Most companies know that they need to differentiate themselves from their competitors, in order to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace.

But how often do you take a look at what your competitors are doing and what their brand represents?

We have come across examples very recently whilst carrying out a competitor analysis for two clients, where we have revealed some information that they weren’t aware of.

The first example is a client who had suggested a new tagline he was keen to use with his brand refresh. Whilst carrying out our analysis, we discovered that one of his competitors had recently started using that exact tagline.

The second example is a client who said “we don’t have any direct competitors because we are so unique”. On further investigation it was found that their business was unique when it was established, but as they hadn’t reviewed the market recently, they were not aware of competition that had emerged in the last few years. And they had also not considered other companies as competition, who offer a different type of product but for the same need in the same market.

So the first two rules when trying to stay ahead of your competition are:

  1. Know who your competitors are
  2. Make sure you review them regularly so you know any changes they have made

The next thing to look at is what makes you different to them?

Obvious differences are the products and services offered, but what also makes a difference to customers is the brand as a whole and what benefits it gives to them.

Assuming you know what your brand says about you (as discussed in a previous blog post), you can then compare it by carrying out competitor analysis and answering the following questions:

  • What are your competitors’ perceived brand images?
  • What impression do their visual identities (logos) give?
  • What do their websites and other promotional materials represent?
  • What are their brand values, brand personality and brand promise?

If you think there are too many similarities between you and any of your competitors, it may be a good idea to look at your brand strategy and perhaps refresh your branding. If you think this may be beneficial for you, please call me on 0116 232 5931.

Until next time,
Gemma

Your customers…do you know what they want?

Your customers…do you know what they want?

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Let’s start by asking a very important question…

When you developed your brand, did you base it on what you wanted the brand to say to your customers, or did you find out what your customers wanted and use that information to create a brand with all the values that they would like to see?

If it is the latter, well done! But if you based it on your own thoughts and ideas, how do you know that your brand is delivering what your customers expect? Yes, you can make an educated guess…but to really make sure, why not ask them?!

Questions such as:

+ What do they think is your main strength?
+ Do they think you have any weaknesses?
+ What words would they use to describe your brand?
+ Why do they buy from you?
+ How do they rate different elements of your business?

As the most important part of your business, your customers can give you the most invaluable feedback which can be used to put together a solid strategy that ensures that your brand has strong values, a likeable personality and a proposition that really shows what benefits they are getting from you.

Maybe some companies are scared to ask their customers what they think, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get! And often, any negative comments can be much more useful than positive ones as it shows you how to make improvements.

If you have never asked your customers what they are looking for from your company, or just haven’t asked in a while…now might be a good time to do just that.

If you need help asking your customers the right questions and turning the feedback into a definitive brand strategy, please call me on 0116 232 5931.

Until next time,
Gemma

What does your brand say about you?

What does your brand say about you?

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Do you know how to describe your brand?

A common misconception made by many is that their company’s brand is their logo.
Whilst the logo forms the important initial first impression, your brand is so much more.

Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon once said:

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”

Another quote I came across, which is similar to the one above, but increasingly relevant in today’s society of social media is:

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is. It’s what consumers tell each other it is.”

Your brand is everything to do with your company:

+  Who you are
+  What you stand for
+  The products and services you offer
+  The way your staff interacts with customers
+  What your customers think about you
+  Your position in the market
+  Your goals & values
+  Your internal culture
+  Your personality and promise to customers

In order for your customers to tell their friends good things about your brand, you must deliver a consistent message so that you are what you say you are. If you have a professional image…be professional. If you promise to be the cheapest…be the cheapest. If your brand says you are reliable…be reliable.

And remember, in the past, a negative comment may be only relayed between you and the company. Now any negativity can be displayed online and can be seen by millions of people.

To try to eliminate negativity surrounding your brand, it is essential to create a strong brand that delivers on its promise.

If you need help assessing what your brand says about you, or how you want to communicate to your customers, please call us on 0116 232 5931.

Until next time,
Gemma

Introducing Gemma & Brand Strategy

Introducing Gemma & Brand Strategy

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Hello everyone!

 

I have joined the Hyphen team this week so I am using my first blog post to introduce our new services that I will be heading up!

In my role as Brand Strategist, I will be helping clients on branding analysis and strategy so we can develop strong brands.

Some people think a brand is just a logo, but that is just a visual representation. Your brand is everything your company represents; your USP, personality, benefits to customers, position in the market and more. Once these have been established, then it is possible to develop a strong brand that really communicates what your company is about.

Of course, it is possible that a company has a good idea of their brand values and can develop a strategy themselves, but often it can be a good idea to ask someone external to the company to take a fresh look and get a different perspective. And that’s where we come in!

We have added a strategy page to the website so please check that out for more information.

Until next time,
Gemma