At its title suggests, brand strategy is completely strategic; it’s your plan for how to achieve your desired positioning—how to become known for that certain “something.” It describes the consistent experience that you desire to deliver to your market at each touch point.
5 Key Concepts & Steps
1. Audit your existing brand
- If you have an existing brand, conduct a survey of your market and your stakeholders to understand how they view your brand. This will give you an understanding of where you are and how much work needs to be done to get to where you want to be.
- Before creating your survey, outline what you think your brand should stand for, so you have criteria to evaluate against the responses. If you’re not sure how to create your brand criteria, complete the next steps, and then conduct your audit.
2. Define your brand architecture
- Evaluate the features and benefits of your product / service. A feature is an attribute—a color, a configuration; a benefit is what that feature does for the customer.
- Identify which benefits are emotional (instead of functional)—the most powerful brand strategies tap into emotions, even among business buyers.
- Review the emotional benefits and boil them down to your brand pillars—the three things that your brand should mean to your market.
3. Define your brand experience
- Think of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. Describe him or her, and then convey these traits in everything that you do and create.
- Determine your brand promise—the one thing that you deliver each time you interact with your market.
4. Write your brand story and positioning statement
- Write your 25-word positioning statement that conveys the essence of your brand. It conveys who you are, what you do, for whom, and one or two emotional benefits from interacting with your brand. Use it throughout your marketing materials.
- Write your brand story. This should convey your personality, your purpose—the difference that you’re trying to make with your product, service or company. It builds credibility, differentiates you from your competition, and gives the market a reason to listen to you. Seth Godin says that the two elements that must come together in a brand story are:
- The story you can confidently tell
- The worldview the buyer tells herself
5. Define your brand visual and operational requirements
- Choose colors, fonts and other visual elements that match your personality.
- Determine how your employees will interact with your market to convey your personality and ensure your brand “lives” within your company.
When those align, you win.