Alright, let’s do some demystifying of what brand strategy is.
It’s a hot buzzword right now, and while it’s a topic many people are talking about it seems to be confusing more than it’s helping.
So in this post let’s talk about what brand strategy is and what a typical brand strategy should cover.
What is brand strategy?
Brand strategy is the plan/approach that a brand uses to successfully market to its target audience in hopes to achieve its goals.
In that strategy are the tools and elements the brand will use while executing that approach.
It’s your plan of attack. It lays out the foundational philosophies, guiding stars, differentiators, etc of your brand and how those things should be used to increase brand awareness, revenue, opportunities, etc.
Sounds important right? Because it is!
Brand strategy is a key player in every successful business that you admire.
Brands poised for longevity have a few things in common. They all:
- Took the time to develop and fully understand their target audience
- Fully understand the feelings their audience has surrounding their brand/product/service
- They understand the brand’s unique position to solve people’s problems
- Lean into how the brand can solve those problems in a unique and efficient way
Those brands are memorable, admirable, and predictable (in a good way).
Brand strategy helps you as a business owner make better decisions, faster.
It’s more than a path to visuals
When you work with a designer, all of them will work with you through a pre-design phase.
During this phase, you and your designer will discuss what the brand should look like, who your target audience is, color choices, and typography.
And that approach is great! However, that’s not what brand strategy is.
It has to be more than just a path to what your visual identity is going to look like.
A small percentage (about 10%) of your brand strategy is focused primarily on what your visual branding looks like.
That’s not to say that it isn’t an important element of your brand – because it is!
However, it is not the most important. It’s usually not a deciding factor on whether or not your services or products are chosen over your competitors.
The reason your offering gets chosen over your competitors usually comes down to a few things:
- They align with your values
- Your relationship to your target audience is strong
- How you speak and connect to them
- How much they value what makes you unique and different.
All your visual branding does is establish something visual that leads people back to what your brand really is.
Your brand is a living thing with beliefs, a personality, a familiar tone of voice and a message.
Those things speak to your audience’s pain points on an emotional level. This allows them to make a connection to the brand.
So what does brand strategy include?
Below are the common topics that a strong and comprehensive brand strategy should cover:
Mission, Vision, Values, and Purpose:
Basically laying out: Why the brand exists and what its purpose is outside of making money.
As well as what the brand is committed to doing everyday to make the world better as a whole (this is the mission) and it’s vision’s for the future.
This section digs into how you want your target audience to see and remember your brand. It also nails down what makes your brand different than the current options in the market.
Character, Voice & Personality:
Through your character and personality deep dive, you’ll start to shape the brand’s behaviors, mannerisms, and other personality traits.
Core Message and Brand Story:
Your core message is the one idea that you’re consistently delivering to your audience about your brand It covers the brand’s uniqueness and why choosing the brand is a no-brainer choice.
The visual section of your brand strategy goes into the actual tangible pieces in your brand’s toolkit. These are the graphic elements that are used on marketing materials, websites, printed materials, etc. Many people believe that “branding” is made up of entirely just this section.
Having a comprehensive brand strategy, something to guide business and marketing decisions is an irreplaceable tool that every business needs.
Your brand strategy is a combination of everything that makes your brand unique and how that uniqueness can be used to make an impact.
It’s your plan of attack in an ever-changing landscape of running a business.
I hope this post shows you how important brand strategy is to your business and how it’s much more than pretty logos and color palettes.
It is the most important step in every project here at The Fourth House Co. and it will stay that way for a very long time.
INSIDE THE THOUGHTS OF A BRAND STRATEGIST & DESIGNER
buckle in, folks
I'm Ashleigh Keith, a creative problem solver for woman led brands that prefer to cultivate relationships instead of the perfect Instagram photo. I use my background in Psychology to develop human-centered brands for women that want to do more than just run a business - they want to make a greater impact on the world around them.
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