Build a Brand Strategy That Sets You Apart and Gets Results
Did you know that 90% of consumers expect a consistent experience across all marketing platforms? A brand strategy makes sure that will happen.
The term brand strategy refers to “a detailed plan for developing and marketing a brand”.
But this process goes far beyond a logo and social media advertising.
A brand strategy serves as a compass for your business. It keeps you focused on the activites that will have the biggest impact on your business’s growth. It also simplifies the decision-making process. If something doesn’t align with your brand’s purpose, mission, or goals, then it’s best to avoid it.
In this article, you will learn:
- the components of a brand strategy
- how to create a brand strategy for your small business
- how to measure success
Components of a Brand Strategy
To begin developing a brand strategy, we must analyze the “forces” that affect your company. These are factors that strengthen or weaken your business’s position in the market.
Porter’s Five Forces provides a framework for this step. By exploring each force, we get a clear picture of how competitive a business is and how to improve brand value. It also makes it easier to build on strengths and defend weaknesses.
Let’s break down each of the forces and how they affect your business.
A “big picture” perspective of your industry gives us a better idea of who and what you’re up against. Compare your strengths and weaknesses with competitors. Be sure to include pricing, value (stated or implied), and product benefits.
Of the 400,000 new businesses that start each year, many will be new competitors in your industry. Naturally, these newcomers will create opportunities and threats.
You may rely on vendors or other partners to provide products and services. These have a significant impact on your brand’s well-being. For example, how much they charge will affect your profit margins. Likewise, they can make it easier for you to deliver, or more difficult.
If your business didn’t exist, what would your customers replace you with? The answer: a substitute.
Alternatives to your product or service aren’t limited to competitors. Substitutes may offer similar benefits to yours but are not the same at all. This makes it difficult for consumers to see how your product or service is unique.
For instance, web designers are now competing with social media platforms. Businesses give up control of the content they post on social media. But many of them still use these channels instead of a website.
Finally, buyers (or customers) have a major influence on your brand. Consumers have more power over businesses than ever, and they know it. Business owners must understand and adjust to their audience’s changing needs and wants.
Other Components of a Brand Strategy
Besides the forces above, there are other factors to consider as you develop a brand strategy. These features work together to create the brand that people see and experience.
Position describes how people perceived your business in the marketplace. Some examples of business positions are:
- value brand: least-expensive option and easy to replace
- mid-range price, perceived as an acceptable trade-off between price and quality
- unconventional, bold and unique, usually mid-range or premium
- distinctive brand: the most expensive choice, but offers the most customization
How your customers see your business will determine whether they buy from you. the more intentional you are about this process, the stronger your brand will be.
Consistent branding has been shown to increase revenue by as much as 33%.
Consider the following as you develop your brand’s position:
- Can you describe your ideal customer?
- Who are your major competitors?
- How do you want your brand to make people feel?
- What words do you want people to think of when you come to mind?
- Are you doing what it takes to build the reputation you want?
Target Customer Segment
Your target customer segment is the group of people for whom your product or service is designed to help.
Building a strong connection with your target audience is critical. To do that, you must understand their problems and how those problems make them feel.
Speak to them in words they use and show them you understand their point-of-view. Stay away from industry jargon and slang. To do this well takes time, feedback, and a genuine interest in the people you serve.
You can learn more about your target audience by researching the following:
- Physical description
- Whether they are married or single and have children
- Level of education
- Their interests
- Current occupation
- Details of their typical day
- Their skills and talents
- Their biggest challenges
- How they measure success
- Where they get their information from
- Where they shop
- What expectations they have for the products they buy
Understanding your customer to this degree will help you uncover valuable information. It will show you how to better serve them and connect with them in ways your competitors never will.
Have you ever bought something and enjoyed the process from start to finish?
Maybe the salesperson was friendly and took plenty of time to talk with you. Perhaps the company offered free delivery or resolved problems quickly.
Your opinion of a company before, during, and after a sale is called the customer experience. To build this out, you mut account for people in each stage of the buying process. Some will be ready to buy now, but the majority of them won’t. For this reason, you will need to stay top-of-mind until they’re ready. Your goal at that point is to be the first one they think of.
A brand strategy will help you develop this experience from beginning to end. This is illusrated in the image below:
Meausring the Success of a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy will be useless if you aren’t able to measure it. While some benefits are visible (tangible) and easy to see, others are not (intangible).
Some tangible benefits of a brand strategy:
- Uniqueness of your business is evident to target customers
- Promotes customer retention, which makes it less likely that they will buy elsewhere
- Helps cultivate a connection with target customers that increases conversion rates
- Reduces price pressure, which means you will spend less time overcoming price objections
- Reduces waste of resources and strengthens relationships between the business owner and employees
Intangible benefits are much harder to measure but are as valuable as tangible ones.
Some examples of intangible benefits:
- Proactive in creating the business’s personality and reputation
- Helps people develop brand recall — they will think of your business when the time comes to buy what you sell
- Helps you to establish brand signals. People use these as indicators before purchasing (Do they know, like, and trust you?)
- Extends the life expectancy of your business
- Creates a perception of offering high value and quality
- Over time, it’s quite possible that many of these intangibles will become tangible.
Now that you know what a brand strategy is and what it can do for your business, it is time to create one. If you need help, email me at email@example.com.
Until next time,
Click here to talk with us about developing a brand strategy that will transform your business.
We equip visionary entrepreneurs and small business owners with the knowledge and resources they need to stand out, communicate their value, and make more profit.