Why do you need a brand strategy?
You need a strategy to make sure your team leads your brand exactly where it is supposed to go. Whether it’s in purchasing, sales, distribution or product development, a lack of brand strategy can affect performance at every level of your organization, from customer communication to employee retention.
Some of the potential problems created by not having a coherent brand strategy:
- Disconnection between your business decisions and your brand purpose
- Brand confusion leading to a lack of interest and engagement from your employees
- Messaging inconsistency which can damage brand perception
- Undecided positioning that weakens your brand ability to set itself apart
Before you start your brand strategy
The first step to creating a brand strategy is answering two questions.
1) WHO ARE YOU SELLING TO?
In B2B, relationships are key to making a sale. That’s why you need to know your customers and understand how you can create value for them.
What do they need/want? What are their pains, their business problems? How can you help?
82% of B2B buyers believe that sales reps are ill-prepared to lead a productive discussion on the issues they’re facing (SiriusDecisions) and 13% think they can’t understand their needs (Forrester Research).
2) WHO ARE YOU COMPETING AGAINST?
Who shares your space? What do they offer? How might they outshine you? What is their brand promise? Are there gaps there that you can transform into opportunities?
This information is key to identifying how you can distinguish yourself from the competition, and how you should communicate your differences through your brand strategy.
How to build your brand strategy
A brand strategy is different from any other strategic document. It’s composed of multiple deliverables that coexist and influence each other. Each of these must be completed in order. There are no shortcuts.
- Define your brand goals
Now that you know your customers and your competition, your next step is to think about your goals. What is it you want your brand to do for you? Gain credibility and trust? Establish brand awareness? Establish market leadership? Develop brand loyalty?
- Audit your current branding
Once you’ve defined your goals, you need to know how your current branding compares to your new stated goals. Does your positioning, voice, values, USP, product and culture align with them? Can your brand identity help you reach your new objectives? Does your current infrastructure (sales process, customer services, RH) empower you to achieve your goals?
- Define your fundamentals
To shape your brand to achieve your goals, you need to build your brand fundamentals:
Your brand essence is about more than product and services, it’s about your vision, mission, and values. It’s what is at the heart of your brand. What gives it a pulse, a soul. It’s your WHY.
Your brand identity is how you express your brand essence; for example, through your logo, colours, and story. It’s how you communicate your uniqueness, what sets you apart from your competitors.
Brand guidelines are the rulebook of how to express your brand, and include logotype, imagery, fonts, colours and editorial style. The guidelines must be followed by everyone who works with the brand, so that a consistent outward face of your company is maintained.
- Bring your brand strategy to life
The brand strategy process ends with letting the world know that your brand exists, what its purpose is, and what defines it. You now have all the tools you need to make it happen.
The first step of a brand strategy launch (or relaunch) is to roll out the red carpet and introduce your brand strategy to your team. Everyone in your organization needs to understand the brand and what it implies for them.
Simply handing over new brand guidelines won’t to it. You need to brandwash them!
- Inaugurate your brand
- Foster a brand culture and brand environment
- Empower your team to become brand ambassadors
- Give your brand a seat at the table
“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
– Seth Godin