An effective brand strategy builds long term equity.
Most business owners know the power of effective branding as well as knowing that they want it – they’re just not sure what “it” is. To make better sense of the mysterious subject of branding, here are the three key components of any successful brand strategy.
1. Establish your company’s core message and values
What is your company’s “pivot point,” the unifying theme?
Rather than starting with logos, tag lines, and websites, it’s best to start with the most important question of all, “Why are we doing this?” This type of introspection helps set the foundation of the brand by giving it a sense of purpose, mission and direction. Without a compelling reason for being, a “brand” is no more than a commodity with a name. Rather than explaining what you do, (function) delve deeper into why and how you do it (purpose.) Often referred to as a company’s “pivot point,” the idea or concept around which everything revolves. It’s also referred to as the core value proposition or central theme.
Strong brands connect this message to consumers’ emotional desires, e.g. happiness, acceptance, safety, security, achievement, advancement, etc. Basing the brand message on timeless attributes allows a company to grow and evolve. Apple’s pivot point is based on style and innovation, not computers. Woolworths was based on affordability. Rolex is based on prestige.
2. Formulate the overall brand identity
Does your company name, logo and tag lines compliment and support your core message?
Once you know what you are wanting to accomplish, you can then turn to building an identity to follow suit. Start with the name and tag line. Make sure that they convey the general feel and direction of your brand message without boxing you in or leaving you outdated. Avoid product or geographic references in your company brand name. ‘PC World’ works better than ‘Billingshurst Computers’. Although, you should bear in mind that if you are wanting to dominate a particular area or county then this can work in your favour, for example ‘Surrey Homes’ may work better than ‘Reigate Rentals’.
If you are working on an existing brand, does the name cause confusion or require constant clarification? If so, consider re-branding to make it current, compelling and relevant.
For legacy brands, be sure to establish a consistent use of fonts, colours, and design elements. Strive for consistency in all your marketing materials. To keep everyone on the same page, create a brand style guide that outlines the proper usage and formatting of your various brand elements. This document can then be shared with both staff and suppliers, such as printers, sign makers, and graphic designers. By keeping the visual presentation clear and consistent, the brand message becomes more indelible and embedded in the mind of your consumers.
We would always advocate the hiring of an experienced graphic design service, such as BlueFlameDesign, to help in building a professional branding and corporate image for your business. Your marketing material will then always be professionally produced with a consistent brand image.
3. Determine the brand personality
What do you want to be known for? Is it consistent with your core values?
Once you define the core message and the overall appearance of your brand, explore your brand voice, the way you want to interact with clients and staff members. In a sense, it’s your brand’s personality, and like your brand identity, it needs to be consistent. Do you want to exude a sense of pride and professionalism or convey a sense of fun and excitement? It’s important to have a familiar style when you engage your customers, otherwise your brand will appear sporadic and unpredictable. Make sure to clearly communicate your messaging style to all your staff to ensure conformity of style. This especially holds true with the advent of Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels.
Bringing it all together
Unifying your company’s purpose, appearance and persona
These three building blocks form the basis of how your brand thinks, looks and feels. They combine to create the brand experience. By clearly establishing your brand message, identity and personality, you will attract congruent customers and dedicated staff members that mirror your company’s goals and objectives. You will begin to resonate with those who share your passion and conviction. With clarity comes confidence, and the ability to say “yes” to those opportunities that empower your brand, and “no” to things that compromise your ability to deliver effectively. Investing time and energy into these essential brand strategies will pay long term dividends that transform brand strategy into brand equity.