Put simply, brand strategy is a plan for how you will leverage your brand to drive growth in your business.
Brand strategy is the insights-led, long-term roadmap for how your brand will make its most potent and meaningful impact
– Me. I said that.
A good brand strategy is:
⚡️ Focussed on business outcomes. Specifically, it’s about growing your business profitably. A complete brand strategy takes a look at the financial side of your business (cos a brand is a commercial asset after all, no matter if you’re a multinational, a not for profit or somewhere in between).
⚡️ Considers macroeconomic factors (that is, trends and conditions happening in your market that affect your business both directly and indirectly).
⚡️ Takes a good look inside your business (to identify the capabilities and assets you can leverage to achieve your business objectives, as well as understanding the weaknesses you need to work on).
⚡️ Is aligned with consumer needs and motivations. Importantly, it makes your customer the hero, and understands what makes them tick in order that you can deliver a consistently satisfying experience for them.
Brand Strategy is a plan that encompasses specific, long-term goals that can be achieved with the evolution of a successful brand — the combined components of your company’s character that make it identifiable.A well-defined and executed brand strategy affects all aspects of a business and is directly connected to consumer needs, emotions, and competitive environments.
So brand strategy doesn’t stop at the core brand foundations like brand values, personality, tone of voice.
These foundations are of course an integral part of the strategy, but actually they’re just the beginning. It’s the execution of those foundations that’s the real strategy.
That’s the fun bit that covers:
⚡️ How to shore up your positioning in the market (how your customer perceives you vs. alternatives)
⚡️ What your product or service offer should be
⚡️ How you get your product/service to market
⚡️ What your pricing should be, how/when you discount (if at all)
All of these things say something about your brand and reinforce your customers’ perceptions about it.
Let’s take a look at some hypothetical examples for why these are important.
If Burberry started discounting heavily and frequently, that would detract from its luxury, premium positioning. If everyone can afford it, it’s no longer a special, high class product that delivers status to its customer. So, pricing plays an essential part of your brand strategy.
Similarly, if you saw plastic bottled water on sale at your favourite organic / eco store, that’s seem just a teensy bit at odds with the store’s sustainable ethos. Of course you *could* theoretically sell your product everywhere, but that doesn’t mean you *should*. The “where” in your brand strategy is therefore an important consideration.
If Facebook started offering car insurance, you’d certainly be curious about how that fits with their self-proclaimed mission to “bring people together”. It’s just not a logical extension of their brand. Not only would be a bit strange, it’d likely be a tough sell on their part, meaning it mightn’t make the most commercial sense.
Here’s the kicker – a brand strategy usually remains pretty consistent.
Meaning it doesn’t change every few months. Done well, and based on lots of rich insights and research, your brand strategy will take you through a full year. Sometimes, depending on the category you’re in, 3 – 5 years. Major shifts in markets and consumer behaviour don’t happen overnight, so if you know your audience and your market, you can be confident in a solid base for your plan.
What might change more regularly is your marketing activity, that is, the telling of your story.
In this way, your brand strategy actually segues beautifully into a marketing plan, by creating the blueprint for how your brand needs to connect with your audience in real life.
A brand is so much more than a logo. And a well-defined brand strategy is something every business needs to have in place.