Just like every business decision should be based on a set of predefined to-do points, branding should draw inspiration and clear directives from the brand strategy based on thorough analysis. Without it, your business growth could resemble a ship sailing without a compass — directionless and quite random.
A well-crafted brand strategy accelerates business growth by laying a robust foundation for your operations. And it’s not just about driving revenue, it also helps address the deeper sense of your business, which is growing connections with the audience that benefits from the relationships with your brand.
A brand strategy brings alignment to your marketing efforts. Every campaign, every ad, and every piece of content will remain harmonious with your brand ethos and core messages, creating a more consistent visual identity and compelling narrative. This alignment cultivates trust among your customers and drives them back to you, supporting the greater mission of your own brand promise — making the world that little bit better.
Behind every successful brand strategy lies a foundation of thorough research and analysis. Below are the key actions you should take to make it through the very first steps. Market research helps you get insights into the market environment and your opportunities to thrive in this environment. Consider this the initial investigative work behind your brand strategy.
It involves gathering data about potential customers and analyzing this information to make informed decisions. You may conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups, or use online tools and social media platforms to gather data.
During the process, you will also study your direct, indirect, or potential competitors. They may provide similar offerings to yours, though their target audience is not necessarily the same as yours. By studying their positioning and approach to marketing, you will start understanding how to differentiate in the target market.
Old good SWOT and PEST analysis will never go out of style. SWOT analysis will give you strategic insights about the strengths and weaknesses of your company, potential opportunities and threats. The PEST one tackles solely the external environment. It shows what political, economic, social, and technological factors affect your brand.
So let’s dive deeper, shall we?
Understanding your competition is as crucial as understanding your position in the market. Competitor analysis involves evaluating other companies that offer similar products or services. Look at their brand strategies. What makes their brand stand out? What does their brand voice sound like? How do they interact with their audience? This information can serve as a benchmark for your brand strategy. Identify gaps in their strategies - these are your opportunities to stand out.
The number and size of players in your target market will largely influence your brand strategy. The more competitors you have, the more intricately you’ll have to try and find a unique niche. At the same time, there are endless opportunities to lead the ground yourself if you know for sure you are among the first (or even bolder, THE first) to start doing what you’re doing.
Next, to visualize the competitive landscape, build a competitor map. This is a graphic representation that positions each competitor in relation to others based on specific variables. It could be pricing, quality, service levels, or any other factors significant to your target market. This map will not only help you spot trends and gaps in the market but also identify potential opportunities for differentiation.
Determining your competitors' brand positioning is another crucial step. Long story short, you don’t want your customers asking the question “Wait, isn’t that just another version of that brand I’ve known for quite some time?” Or at least, when they do ask this question, you will have the answer to not only reveal your true self but make customers believe in you more than the competition. This will help you find a unique brand positioning that ensures your brand stands apart.
Evaluating their promotional methods involves studying your competitors' marketing materials and tactics. Look at their advertising channels, social media engagement, SEO strategies, content marketing efforts, and more. Where are they getting their best results? Where are they falling short? These insights will enable you to craft a savvy promotional plan that amplifies your brand's visibility and appeal.
So, lead the game while others just copy, find your own way while others stand in line, and we’ll move on to the next step.
Trendsetter. This word has been heavily overused in marketing and we know it. Doesn’t it sound proud to be one, though?
Market trend analysis involves examining the changes and tendencies in your industry, identifying new opportunities, and predicting future trends. This analysis can include changes in consumer behavior, technological advancements, regulatory shifts, or even cultural transformations. It allows you to adjust your existing brand strategy proactively, ensuring you don't fall behind or become outdated.
A crucial part of trends research is to stay informed with the latest industry research and trend reports. Publications from reputable marketing agencies, industry media, or thought leaders can definitely help you stay on track.
When researching trends, don’t disregard minor trends. Major trends are undeniably influential and can significantly shape your industry. However, minor or emerging trends can also provide valuable insights. They might represent niche markets, innovative ideas, or early signs of what will later be deemed a breakthrough.
The better you understand customer behavior and their buying patterns, the better you can adjust your brand marketing initiatives to deliver exactly what your audience needs.
A great tip for knowing your audience better is to study buying patterns not just within your own industry, but across different industries as well. This can bring fascinating insights into broader consumer behaviors and trends, which can inform your brand strategy. For instance, you might discover that consumers are increasingly prioritizing sustainability in their purchasing decisions, prompting you to emphasize your brand's eco-friendly values more prominently.
Creating buyer personas is a powerful tool to understand your customers better. These are fictional images and descriptions of your current or target customers, which bring together demographic information, behavioral patterns, motivations, and goals. Well-crafted buyer personas can help you personalize your marketing efforts, customize your offerings, and communicate more effectively with different segments of your audience.
Here’s a brief buyer persona example from us for your inspiration:
Sophia, the Busy Mom: Sophia is a 35-year-old married woman with two young children. She is juggling a full-time job and her family responsibilities. She values quality and convenience and is willing to pay a bit more for products that save her time.
To capture how these personas walk through the funnel, there’s no better tool than a customer journey map, commonly referred to as just CJM. This is the marriage story of you and your customers from the very first steps into the relationship. CJM highlights the most important steps in engaging the audience and turning them into the advocates of your brand. When developing the map, you may also come across some additional interaction ideas you can miss while creating the brand strategy.
By studying buying patterns, creating detailed buyer personas, and mapping out the customer journey, you can build a brand strategy that delivers the right message to your audience, making them feel valued and trusted.
For a company to start sailing the business waves, you have come through a lot of thought, paperwork, you name it, for you know it better. Though business operations shouldn’t be solely based on raw ideas and bylaws, and that’s where you start branding.
The question that needs asking is "Why does my brand exist?" The answer to this question uncovers your brand purpose — the very heart of your own brand story. You have a brand vision, your product team knows the technicalities behind that vision, and your company has the tools to keep rolling. Now it’s time to define what the world and the target audience will see when contacted by your brand through various channels.
Briefly, a brand identity is a set of distinctive components that complete the face and voice of your brand, including, but not limited to a logo, a tone of voice, typography, and even sonic (also known as audio) branding. It’s the total package of your brand’s visual elements, tone, values, and personality. Consistency in your brand identity strengthens customer recognition and loyalty.
The right visual elements can vary greatly based on your industry, target audience, and brand personality. However, they should always align with your brand's purpose, value proposition, brand values, and identity. From choosing a colour scheme and logo design that resonates with your brand values to picking a font that mirrors your brand personality, every decision should be deliberate and intentional.
Finally, consider what sets you apart from the crowd — your Unique Selling Proposition. It's the distinctive quality that makes your brand unique in your industry. It's what you offer that your competitors don't. A strong USP can be a powerful tool in attracting and retaining customers, as it gives them a compelling reason to choose you over others.
Review your strategy execution regularly. Monitor your reach among your target audience and measure the effectiveness of your marketing and branding efforts. Are you seeing the desired results? Your brand strategy is not carved in stone; it should evolve and adapt based on your business growth, market trends, and customer feedback. Regular evaluations ensure your strategy stays current and effective.
Measure the return on investment from your marketing initiatives and evaluate audience engagement. This includes tracking metrics like customer acquisition cost, customer lifetime value, engagement rate on your social media accounts, website traffic, and conversion rates. These metrics will provide valuable insights into the success of your brand strategy, highlighting areas of strength and pinpointing opportunities for improvement.
Once the brand strategy is created, make sure you align all your brand marketing efforts with it. From your messaging and visual identity to customer experience, maintaining consistency strengthens your brand identity, reinforces customer trust, and contributes to a robust brand reputation. Trust leads to a loyal customer base, which is the bedrock of a successful brand.
There’s a whole separate study by Bolder on what the fundamental elements of a brand strategy are, and we suggest you familiarize yourself with our comprehensive article that includes some of the best real-world case studies.
The investment in a comprehensive brand strategy goes towards research, strategic planning, visual identity development, marketing plan creation, and more. The return on this investment is undeniably substantial, as a well-crafted brand strategy can significantly boost your business growth, market presence, and customer loyalty. Here’s why you may want to consider hiring an agency to cater to your brand marketing needs.
Agencies bring a wealth of experience across different industries and markets. They have the skills and knowledge to navigate the complexities of brand strategy development. Moreover, being external to your organization, agencies can provide an unbiased, objective perspective on brand assets that can be invaluable in strategy formulation.
Agencies have access to advanced tools and resources for market research, customer profiling, competitor analysis, and more. Leveraging these resources can provide you with deep insights and save you time and effort in building your brand strategy.
The digital world we live in is dynamic and constantly evolving. Your brand strategy should keep pace with these changes. Hiring an agency can ensure that your brand strategy remains updated and relevant, as they continually monitor market trends and consumer behavior.
Agencies like Bolder are adept at helping small or niche businesses build robust brand strategies. They understand the unique challenges that such businesses face and can provide tailored strategies to overcome these hurdles and establish a strong market presence.
At Bolder, we provide deep understanding of our clients' long term goals, mission, vision, and values, saving both time and effort in creating a synchronized partnership that goes beyond just the service provider-client relationship.
We offer conscious brand marketing production, and deliver long-lasting solutions that make for a meaningful brand future. The various brand development strategies created by Bolder are intuitive to the target audience, scalable, and flexible, ensuring adaptation to a changing environment, which is particularly important for dynamic and innovative companies.