If you skip this step,
it will certainly cost you dearly
The one investment that will save you in the long run is brand development. A successful business requires a well-defined brand strategy. Until the brand is defined it will not be clear what you are developing, why your customers need it, and why you should be their first choice.
The world’s most successful brands didn’t just pop up overnight. It takes a focused strategy and hard work to create a great brand. But what is brand strategy?
It can be your greatest asset… or your unfortunate demise.
Above all else, it is the vehicle for building real connections with people. And here’s a little secret: Real connections turn into loyal customers.
What is brand strategy?
Think of brand strategy as a blueprint for your business. It is an outline for the key elements to make your brand unique, your mission and goals, and how you will execute it.
A strong brand strategy is meticulously crafted, taking into account all aspects of your market, niche, product or service offerings, customers, and competitors.
If you are starting from scratch, you will need to make some assumptions – this is unavoidable without real-world data. However, with each new visitor and customer, there will be more data to translate into insights, which refines your strategy.
How to develop a brand strategy
Market research is non-negotiable if you want to grow quickly. Research helps you build a solid brand development foundation, providing you important insights into:
- Your business model by defining which products or offerings work with your strategy.
- Pricing for your offerings based value proposition and competitors.
- Your competitors, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
- The types of marketing messages and strategies that your audience responds to best
Four steps for building a brand strategy:
- Plan: Before you start your brand-building strategy, do your research to make sure you have a solid handle on the market, your specific niche, your competitors, and the roots of your marketing plan.
- Build: Once you have a plan in place you are ready to start building your brand identity. This includes logos, color palette, and other visuals. Now you can create your website and define social channels and other media through which you will execute your brand strategy plan.
- Test: No plan works on the first try, so be prepared to fail. Fail fast and learn, and try again until it works.
- Execute: Launch your brand and fully utilize all the messaging plans and marketing channels you built.
Be reliable and trustworthy
Consistency is key. Don’t start out with haute couture branding and then suddenly veer into soccer mom chic territory. Likewise, don’t use deeply emotional messaging and switch to sarcasm and jokes.
The whole point of the brand strategy process is to carve out a clear, distinct voice and image for your company – and stick to it in every single aspect of what you do.
Before making any merchandising, branding, or marketing decisions, ask yourself – Is this in line with my branding strategy? Does it “fit” with everything else and enhance the narrative I started?
If a new idea is even a little bit off, scrap it and try again.
In addition to keeping your branding and messaging consistent, it is also critical that you keep all the promises you make. If you offer shipping in one week, those packages better darn well get there in one week.
Ruining a customer’s trust is the fastest way to lose them and tank your reputation in the process.
Develop an actionable marketing plan
Having a sweet brand isn’t going to cut it. You have to drive it home with continuous messaging on all channels.
And once you have gained a customer, you need to earn their loyalty by strengthening the relationship.
Never stop, keep delivering customer experiences that delight your customers and improve the brand.
Research sources links:
Free Facebook user data based on their shopping habits and profile data like demographics, preferences, and interests.
A wealth of free information gathered through demographic data, public opinion polling, media content analysis, and other social sciences research.
Free and paid access to more than a million facts and stats about consumer and digital markets around the world.
All sorts of marketing data, analyses, and graphics. They offer free graphs and paid reports.
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