How to Create a Strong Brand Strategy in Three Stages

Brand strategies come in all shapes and sizes. Designing one that fits your brand and company goals is one of the most rewarding and profitable assignments you can engage in. You already know why a brand strategy is important. Your next step will be to formulate a compelling brand strategy. Although every company follows a slightly different path, we are providing here a list of essential steps to create the perfect road map to reach your brand objectives:

 

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Where is your brand right now?

Have a look at your mission statement, vision and values. What does your brand stand for or believe in? This should be the backbone on which you develop your strategy.

Carry out a SWOT analysis. This gives you a feel of your brand’s current strategic position. Start by conducting an honest internal audit of your brand’s strengths (S) and weaknesses (W) and a realistic study of its external opportunities (O) and threats (T).

Review the data you have collected. Try answering the following questions about your brands:

  • Where is your brand right now? Look at what your customers and employees are saying about your brand. How do you compare to other brands in the market?
  • Do you have a long-term goal for your brand? To what extent has your brand achieved this goal? Have you been following a plan or just been going along with the market?
  • Which of your brand strengths can you leverage? Which of your brand weaknesses are an obstacle to reach your true brand potential?

Having answered the following questions, you can now move on to the next stage in creating a brand strategy.

 

branding strategy

 

Where do you see your brand in the future?

This is a forward-looking stage in brand building. There are quite a few factors to consider when deciding on the goals for your brands. Just as in the first step, take a good look at your vision and mission statements. Your brand, just like any other part of your company, should be working towards the future you want to create for your company. Your brand objectives must be synchronised with your company goals. If you get stuck, try imagining what you would like to see differently in your organisation in a year’s time or in five years’ time. How will, say, increasing your brand awareness help achieve your company goals? If you cannot succinctly answer this, then most probably increasing brand awareness is not the ideal brand objective that fits into the bigger corporate picture.

Your brand goal is to ultimately make your customers view your brand in a particular way. You should be able to answer how your brand being perceived in this specific way will help you reach your company mission and vision.

 

brand strategy goals

 

How can you reach your brand goals?

This is the stage where you use your company values as a guideline to reach your brand goals. An ideal strategy matches your company’s strengths with external opportunities and provides value to your customers at the same time.

Your strategy might be to differentiate your brand from competitors based on certain product qualities or technological factors. Which factor you choose to build your sustainable competitive advantage might depend on your brand strengths, current market demands or trending opportunities. This is where the SWOT analysis you carried out in the first stage comes in handy.

Break up your brand goals into smaller objectives. These are like action plans which should state what, when and how to accomplish and who is responsible for completing. Your brand values should always underlie all these aspects of your short-term performance targets. Set quantitative and financial targets as well so that your brand meets any sales or revenue-related company objectives. List relevant key performance indicators to track your brand’s progress in meeting both short- and long-term objectives.

After all this strategizing, you need to make sure your plans are being properly implemented. Perhaps your chosen way of doing a task is more costly than expected or a certain campaign is not getting you enough leads. It is important to have frequent performance analysis to identify the gaps between actual and desired conditions. Actions to reduce these gaps should immediately be taken. This revision of your brand strategy means that strategizing is a dynamic process which does not have a fixed end.

No one will deny that creating a brand strategy is hard work. It does require time, effort and overall dedication from the company. However, the fruits of all these works, especially the changes in the brand awareness and customer perception, are hard to ignore. That is why we recommend that you spend as much time as you require to take all factors into consideration while designing your brand strategy.

4 Reasons Why Brand Strategy is Important for Your Company

Brand strategy is such an understated word. As marketers, we sometimes truly do not understand the full extent of the word and often abuse it. Strategy is the overall game plan to reach a long-term goal. For brands, these goals could be anything from increasing brand awareness to expanding market share. A strategy would be the outline of the plan on how to reach these goals. All other decisions taken by your marketing department or company are sub-plans of this grand plan. The brands you love and admire the most have a clear-cut strategy on how to make you, their loyal customers, engage with them on a constant basis.

Strategy is often viewed suspiciously by key decision makers. Often marketing managers state the word strategy is used by agencies to offer unnecessary additional ( and billable) service. A brand strategy is not something to be ignored or taken lightly. In fact, here are four  most important reasons why every company should have a well-defined  strategy:

[su_heading size=”15″]1. Strategy is vital in shaping how your customers perceive your brand[/su_heading]customer

 

Your strategy is the master plan and the bedrock on which all decisions pertaining to your brand is based on. Strategy builds on your company’s vision, mission and values and makes sure these are incorporated in every decision made by the company. Strategy makes you look at your brand’s origins and compels you to question why your brand started out in the first place.

 

[su_heading size=”15″] 2. A well-developed strategy saves time, effort and money[/su_heading]

time-and-money

 

If your long- term goal was a destination, then your strategy is the route to get to that final destination. Your brand strategy will tell you how to reach those goals related to your brand. A thorough strategy will guide your employees in every brand-related task they carry out – from the layout of your website to how you answer calls from customers. This means employees do not diverge from your overall plans and goals when making decisions. Also, your company does not lose effort in bringing unfocused employee activities back to the original plan.

 

[su_heading size=”15″] 3. Strategy gives your company and employees a sense of purpose and motivation[/su_heading]

employees

 

Once a strategy is formulated, you and your employees know what to achieve and how to achieve it. I t is now clearer and easier to create smaller goals and tasks, in line with your strategy, to reach your final goal. Your employees will now be more focused, and this enables everyone in the department (and even in the organisation) to work towards the same objectives. As a result, all customer touchpoints provide a consistent message about your brand. This consistency ensures that customers know what to expect when they interact with your brands – this puts customers at ease and increases brand awareness and loyalty.

 

[su_heading size=”15″] 4. A brand strategy is more than just the visuals[/su_heading]

visual-identity

 

Just like how your brand is something more than the logo and the colours, a strategy is more than choosing this logo and colour palette. A brand strategy is the plan to make sure your customers (both existing and potential) view your brand in the way you desire.

Simply having a strategy does not guarantee your goals will be met. Apart from being goal-centric, your strategy must be customer-oriented. In the end, your brand is how your customers experience it.Additionally, all decisions derived from the strategy should also be goal and customer focused. A strategy is something you should be spending a substantial amount of time on. And remember, always stay true to your company values and mission to develop an authentic strategy.

Adorable Valentine’s Day Digital Media Brand Campaigns that won our Hearts

During Valentine’s week, more brands are now trying to lure customers into a bond of love with them, even if they do not sell Valentine’s Day related products. It is now a custom for many brands to play cupid by injecting some love into their marketing campaigns leading up to February 14th. We look at 5 examples of brands seeking to help their customers fall in love with their loved ones, as well as with the brands, through digital media marketing campaigns.

 

#O2Tweetheart Twitter Contest

In 2013, Telecommunications firm O2 hosted a Twitter competition in the UK where they asked people to tweet their Valentine’s Day messages to their loved ones using the hashtag #O2Tweetheart. These tweets of love were broadcasted on screens in stores across the country – taking online conversations into the real world. One lucky tweet selected at random won a £500 bag of vouchers for Malmaison Hotels, so a couple could arrange a romantic getaway. Also, 20 selected tweets received £50 vouchers.

O2TweetHeart

 

Flipkart Gif Delivery Microsite Campaign

In 2016, one of India’s largest e-commerce company took to the business of delivering gifs. The brand built a microsite housing 50 gifs for different kinds of love, and you can choose any and send it to the person it reminds you of. There are adorable gifs capturing the little moments of love in our everyday lives, and there’s one for everyone – families, spouses, lovers, BFFs, pet lovers, and more. Along with gif deliveries, the microsite is also driving sales for its Valentine’s Day gifts and gift cards.

 

#PilotLoveGuru Social Media Campaign

Pen brand Pilot says that love has been commemorated with handwritten love notes for centuries, but it is often difficult to pen and post a Valentine’s Day message in this busy digital age. That’s why, for the past several years, the brand runs its ‘Pilot Love Guru’ campaign, which brings the heartfelt written word into the digital space by creating custom one-of-a-kind handwritten notes to send to those we love, through social media.
To participate, customers can tweet, tag, comment or share their valentine’s name with the hashtag #PilotLoveGuru on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Pilot’s specially trained ‘Love Gurus’ will hand-write a personalized and heartfelt message and send it to the valentine via the selected social network. Each message is customized based on the customer’s original message to Pilot. The brand says the #PilotLoveGuru campaign has already played cupid for hundreds of lovers and friends. Pilot has seen a 20 percent increase in love messages each year.

 

Cadbury Dairy Milk #SayItWithSilk Microsite Campaign

In 2016, the premium chocolate brand from Mondelez India was all out with its flagship Valentine campaign #SayItWithSilk that enabled couples to express their love to each other with a microsite that created personalized videos. On the microsite, one needed to answer a few questions like what their partner means to them, select appropriate stickers and submit along with email id. A video is generated that is shareable on social media as well as downloadable. Adorable visuals and gifs were used to amplify the social reach, and drive more people to visit the microsite.

 

Krispy Kreme UK Love Roulette Online Game

In 2012 and 2013, Krispy Kreme UK ran a ‘Love Roulette’ game to help singles find love and a free doughnut, with just one spin. Users can access the game through the Krispy Kreme UK website or its Facebook page, and are asked to provide their Twitter name, and their sexual preference – male or female. The roulette then matches the user with a potential partner and any successful pairing who strike up a conversation using the #krispykremeloveroulette hashtag will be automatically entered into a prize draw for the chance to win a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts. As an added incentive, participants received a voucher for a free doughnut of their choice when they bought any of the Valentine’s special range of donuts.

LoveRoulette

 

 

 

4 Creative Social Media Brand Updates During Super Bowl Sunday

Like a champion is crowned at every Super Bowl, brands also win big with their Super Bowl commercials that are aired at increasingly high priced TV ad slots. But in the age of social media, both big and small brands can score a touchdown on Super Bowl Sunday. An estimated 78% of consumers engage on social media while watching the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL). So let us scroll back to 4 ingenious social media posts by brands, during the most-watched television broadcast in America.

 

Doritos

The flavoured tortilla chips brand bought tickets for fans and created a large Dorito-shaped section in one of the end-zones in the stadium. Then they tweeted about it.

 

Cheerios

The cereal brand saved an image for just the right moment, which happened to be the game-ending interception at Super Bowl XLIX.

 

Oreo

When the stadium experienced a blackout during Super Bowl XLVII, the sandwich cookie brand sent a tweet to capitalize on the unfortunate turn of events; and became massively popular on social media.

 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Marvel Cinematic Universe used this screen grab from their upcoming movie, which mirrors the rough tackles and fouls of gridiron football.

This year, as the American Football Conference (AFC) champion New England Patriots battle it out with the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51 for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, brands will line up their social media posts to get in front of a large audience and be the next viral marketing benchmarks.

From Prada to Nada: Top 5 brands who bid farewell to the Super Bowl 2017

It’s the Super Bowl weekend. For marketing geeks around the world, it’s Christmas. Forget the game, forget the players, forget the half-time performers. Let’s focus on the real stars of the show – the ads.

Super Bowl ads are nothing short of legendary. The biggest agencies are hired, the biggest budgets are flaunted, the biggest Hollywood stars are displayed, TV ratings average 100 million views. So, everyone wants to be part of the action, right? Wrong. The numbers just do not add up anymore. The price tag for the 30 seconds slot has increased from $4.2 million in 2014 to $5.5 million in 2017. Meanwhile, viewership has taken a tumble. After a constant increase of nearly 3 million viewers from previous years, the Super Bowl is once again showing signs of declining TV ratings. In 2015, there were more than 114 million viewers. This reduced to 111.9 million in 2016.

While some brands will make a Super Bowl debut in 2017, the longest tenants are vacating. Here are the top 5 brands who won’t be showing up for the Super Bowl 2017:

  • Toyota
  • Visa
  • Doritos
  • Mini USA
  • Heinz

Dorito does not seem to be the only brand which parent company Frito-Lays is pulling out of the Super Bowl. It’s Crash the Super Bowl contest was aimed to democratise ad selection process: instead of boring old ad executives, general masses were given the power to choose works from independent filmmakers. Would a pull-out mean Frito-Lays has fully democratised the process?

While American and German automobile brands will be revving up their engines for the Super Bowl 2017, Japanese favourite Toyota will be ending their 5-year annual attendance. Lack of product launch around this time for this year has been cited as the main reason. For strategic purposes, all new product launches are to take place during late spring or early summer.

Visa has rolled back its association with The Big Game. You won’t be seeing any more cute little children asking cute little questions to NFL legend Ray Lewis as seen in the brand’s 2016 ad campaign. All you will see now is the payment option on the online checkout page for the NFL Shop.

Perhaps the general trend of reducing expenditures on traditional advertising mediums has finally caught up with the Super Bowl. Unless a brand is mentioned in listings of top Super Bowl ads on various platforms, the results of advertising on the Super Bowl are dismissive and definitely not worth the few million dollars per 30 seconds slot. Irrespective of this, there are still brands out there which have yet to experience airing their ads to more than 100 million viewers at one go. As long as there is demand, the $5 million price tag will always be around the Big Game.

 

Susanna Mamen

Brand Strategist