7 characteristics of having a strong brand strategy
Editor | 24-03-2017
A brand strategy can take as many forms as the number of brands that exist in the world. However, they fulfill certain criteria to successfully reach their brand goals. Here are the 7 most important criteria to check if you have developed a good and effective brand strategy.
1. Provides a clear overall direction
Without mentioning the specifics, a good brand strategy tells you the general approach you will have take to meet your goals. Look at Tesla as an example. The electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer could have entered the EV market with a value-optimising car, just as the existing Chevy Volt and Toyota Hybrid did. Instead, Tesla focused on form and function – thereby, creating a whole new luxury sports EV segment all for itself. This is a brand which is anchored by a clear vision and purpose.
2. Utilises competitive advantage
A strong brand strategy identifies areas of competitive advantage and takes advantage of these resources to address emerging opportunities. Have a look at the case of world-renowned animation film studio, Pixar. A single film is rumoured to have a production cycle of about 5 years. The brand knows that it has the world’s most creative people on board and, therefore, follows a quality-over-quantity strategy to stay on top.
3. Minimises resistance and barriers
Newly formed strategies bring about changes to any brand and will always encounter resistance of some sort. This is natural. A good brand strategy takes this into account and does not provide any reason for people to oppose the change in the first place. This is because the strategy has been well planned to account for existing resources and capabilities – especially those of the employees. Employees see the new brand strategy as an opportunity for personal and career growth.
4. Has a good system of action in place
A good brand strategy would have a carefully tailored system of value creation. The brand strategy actually addresses the aims of the organisation and the issues faced by the customers. In short, it adds real value. It advances the overall mission of your company and reaches out to those affected.
5. Is understood and shared by the entire organisation
Your entire organisation must internalise the strategic direction of your brand. For your employees to be able to do this, the brand strategy must be applicable and relevant to what they do at work every day. Your strategy must be valid and clear enough that corresponding operational and tactical decisions can easily follow suit.
6. Follows deep analysis of internal and external environments
A good strategy is one formulated after taking into consideration the many influences on the brand – both external and internal. The brand strategy would, therefore, automatically optimise the usage of your brand’s strengths to take advantage of opportunities in the market and ward off any threats.
7. Is flexible in adapting to changing conditions
The eventualities you had foreseen in strategy planning won’t necessarily be what occurs during strategy execution. A good strategy takes this into account and is flexible enough to adapt to changing or unforeseen circumstances. For instance, Emirates partnered with Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston to showcase the wide range of in-flight facilities in a viral ad which put US airlines to shame. Following the recent ban on electronic devices on-board US-bound airlines from certain countries, Emirates recycled the same ad with a different theme: ‘Who needs tablets and laptops anyway?’ Instead of creating an entirely new campaign to address the latest developments, it simply shifted focus to how its in-flight entertainment is the perfect substitute for personal electronic devices.
At the end of the day, your brand strategy is the most deciding factor of your customers’ happiness. So, don’t hesitate to spend a good amount of time and effort in modifying your brand to fit our guidelines discussed above.
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:
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:
Having answered the following questions, you can now move on to the next stage in creating a brand 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.
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.
The world is looking forward to 2020, for many reasons, and the main one for traders and buyers is definitely the Expo 2020. This time happening in Dubai, and hence will become the most popular World Fair since its inception, the new logo was unveiled by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.
The main theme of Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” with the sub-themes being Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity. The logo of Expo 2020 is inspired from a simple gold ring that was dug out from Saroug Al Hadeed, an archaeological site discovered by His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
With artefacts dating back to the Iron Age – from discoveries that belongs to Egyptian Pharaoh, Thutmose III, cedar wood from Lebanon to objects from modern day India and Afghanistan – it was clear that the place was a place to gather and connect, where people and ideas met to create something astonishing.
People are using technology in new and exciting ways. For example, to teach students hundreds of miles away, unable to receive anything more than a basic education. New ideas open up new possibilities.
THE ENERGY OF HUMAN CONNECTIONS
There is a link between each part of the ring, representing the power of connections that remain over time and distance.
THE CELEBRATION OF INGENUITY
An exquisite ring found in Saroug Al Hadeed is the inspiration behind the logo. Fashioned with utmost care by the skilled craftsmen of the past, this ring is a celebration and reminder of Expo’s role as a global point of intersection today.
THE SPUR OF PROGRESS
A timeless effort for continuous improvement and advancement, the ring reminds us that ingenuity and innovation remain one of the most enduring characteristics shared by humanity.
Sheikh Mohammed said the logo “represents our message to the world that our civilization has deep roots. We were and will always be a pot that gathers civilizations and a centre for innovation. Over 4,000 years ago, the people who lived in this land had a deep creative spirit and today the people of this country are building the nation’s future for centuries to come.”
Rebranding is when you need a whole new branded look to your already established brand. But there are a lot of companies that messed up their brands-either with their logos or their concepts. Here are 4 of the lot:
From Science Fiction to Syfy. Maybe the SciFi Channel should have checked out UrbanDictionary before it released its new name. In most parts of the world, “syfy” is a slang term for syphilis. The company’s main justification for this name-change was that, while they couldn’t trademark the term “SciFi”, they could own the less-researched, alternate spelling.
Silly PepsiCo! All it was trying to do was bring its classic Tropicana OJ into the 21st century.
When it rolled out its new package in January 2009, its customers understood that the brand had underestimated how attached they were to the old package designs. The backlash was immediate and powerful. The New York Times reports that “Some of those commenting described the new packaging as “ugly” or “stupid,” and resembling “a generic bargain brand” or a “store brand.””
Kraft are one of the biggest food and drinks companies in the world. When they revealed their new brand identity in 2009, the design community went crazy and eventually, the food giant relented and six months later, pretty much reverted to their original concept.
They used Tekton as one of their fonts. A font used in the same breath as Comic Sans and Papyrus. A dreadful decision. And the rest of the logo? It’s just so bland and generic for such a renowned company, it’s pathetic. The original logo was like a smack in the face with one of their plastic cheese squares. It said “BOOM! WE ARE KRAFT” whereas the new logo says “We’re a food and drinks giant without any true identity, we’re quite bland and very generic, we’re Kraft-ish.”
Pepsi is no stranger to logo redesigns. But the company reportedly spent $1 million on their latest reincarnation, and it turned out like… this, the one on the right side.
The white strip on the new logo varies across Pepsi products, getting wider or thinner depending on product. The design team that spearheaded the campaign explains that they’re supposed to be “smiles”, but we don’t really see it.
As this clever graphic from The Consumerist shows, the Pepsi logo seems to have been redone nearly once a decade over the last century — while Coke‘s iconic logo has barely been touched. It’s not hard to see which is the better strategy here.
Reference : BusinessInsider
“A brand is worthless if it doesn’t connect with the right audience in a relevant way.”
In a fast-paced world, where consumer choices, demands and favourites change overnight, businesses often comes off bad. It’s unrealistic for an organisation to believe that the perfect mix of products, systems, infrastructure and workforce is at the top of its game.
Brand identity is integral, akin to a signature. It is unique, personal and identifiable, and a positive brand image works wonders for business. The decision to rebrand however is a big one – it is not just changing your brand logo and designs. Rebranding, if done skilfully, is a massive win for any company. A well-thought out, strategic brand strategy focuses on the positives and eliminates the negatives.
Thinking about rebranding? Do you need to? Here are some key points to consider:
The big decision. Rebranding is more than just a change in logo and tagline. It’s about telling your brand story the way it was meant to be told, so that everyone listening, never forgets.
Successful rebranding takes your business up a ladder that previously didn’t exist, giving your brand the foundation to evolve and flourish, whilst reinforcing your core business strategy, values and image.
It’s a conscious choice to stay relevant, revive growth and build loyalty. It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.
Reference : James Pass Design
It served them well through their first few years, but as Medium has grown and evolved, the logo has begun to feel flat, impenetrable, blunt, and not to be toyed with. It is also not particularly distinctive, either. In short, it no longer captured or conveyed what Medium has become.
They set out to create a logo that was a better reflection of who they were and came up with a million different ideas for a new M icon. & they were on to something! This simple geometric interpretation of the M felt fun — like a delightful game or a deeply satisfying puzzle.
Lastly, after much design philosophizing as to whether the logo should be rendered in perspective, isometric, or axonometric projection (they went for isometric), they created a exhaustive range of different heights and angles to make sure we landed on the most steady and most optically pleasing form.
And finally, the result:
Asana has got a new look, and that’s what they had been working on for the past several months. Teams across the globe in every industry—from fast-growing tech companies like Pinterest and Uber, to organizations like the United Way and NASA, to global brands like Disney and Verizon—use Asana to achieve more than they could before. There’s more opportunity to make work even easier for you. So, after countless customer conversations, user experience studies, and prototypes, they built a new Asana.
Asana is a powerful product with a lot of features, and in the old Asana it could feel overwhelming to get started with your team. To fix that, the product needed some big changes. In fact, the number one request from customers was an improved design. The new Asana is redesigned to make tracking work to completion easier, so teams can get on board quickly and use Asana to achieve their goals. Asana is on a mission to help you and your team do great things together. By making it easy to keep track of your work, we give you more time to do the work that matters: building software, curing patients, cooking meals, or whatever it is your company does.
Asana’s new logo
Asana’s 3 dots used to patiently wait in line at the deli counter, but now they’re working together on a common goal. Instead of a cool green, they’re now an empowering, warm coral, with a glow that conveys the active energy between the team. The letter forms, placement, and arrangement of our logo were crafted with purpose. If you look closely, you’ll notice that there are three dots equally spaced inside the “A” letters in our word mark.
The new Asana is the easiest way to track work, and get results.
Reference : Asana
Coke inspires. Patagonia awakens the explorer and begs us to experience the natural world. Victoria’s Secret evokes the seductive lover when we buy sexy lingerie. Nike fuels greatness, and charity: water makes us want to donate our birthday money to help change lives.
To the casual consumer, the power that some brands hold seems like a mystery or stroke of luck. The force behind the world’s most influential brands is actually a science–an intentional positioning strategy grounded in years of psychological research. When you find yourself loyal to your favorite brands and inspired by new ones, you’re subconsciously forging a connection with that brand’s archetype. A brand archetype is a personification of a brand on a human level.
According to Dr. Carol Pearson, a leadership consultant, speaker and author, there are 12 individual brand archetypes, and each of them is associated with specific motivations, values, drivers and attributes.
The 12 archetypes are:
Reference: Changing Minds, We Are Motto
The word has been in use since last several years and you’re still wondering what happens there? You already signed up once, went through the whole website couple of times and wondered “what on Earth is this place”, or as Twitter itself says, “WHAT’S HAPPENING?”, and right away quit ‘cz you got bored?
Chill, ‘cz Twitter is actually one place where you can show off, waste your time doing things that matter and don’t matter and still don’t get bored!
• Explore the Twitter World. Tweet. Tweet often. Tweet whenever you can. Tweet all the time, but DO NOT flood your followers’ timeline with your tweets! Don’t focus only on yourself. Eventually, you’ll learn the Twitter-terminologies – RT, TT, FF, Fav (etc. etc.)
• Fav/ RT topics that interest you. That’s one way to reach more people (the owners of those tweets, ofcourse!)
• Used a brand or some services and totally loved it? Open up to the world about it. Tweet short, sweet testimonials for them. Don’t forget to mention/ tag their official accounts!
• Interact. Explore. Engage with your followers. Reply to all who reach you, start a conversation with people/topic you are interested in.
• Follow international and local trends. This actually helps you keep updated with the things happening around the world. Also, tweet anything and everything that comes to your mind regarding that trending topics you’re interested in.
• Make good use of hashtags, be it for personal or official use. Hashtags are here to stay.
• Ask questions. Like, real questions. Seek help from ‘experts’ in Twitter. Questions you have no idea what the real answer is!
• Tweet real/ interesting photos. Attention-grabbing images in your tweets receive 89% more favourites & 150% more retweets.
Life has become complicated. In the past we only had one brand to create and maintain.
The “physical brand” that is constrained by time and space.
Its maintenance is constant and it is something we all do and some are better at it than others. You rise from your sleep and perform activities that could include showering, preening and wrapping yourself with the latest fashion.
Check in the mirror and you’re done, you are ready for the world.
In today’s digital age we also have the online brand to maintain, nourish and polish to present to the world. This is not restricted to a geographical location but roams and communicates beyond the space, time continuum.
It is your virtual “digital brand”.
The challenge today is to become visible in a world of online noise, torrents of information and global web competition, whether you are a personal or business brand.
A Multi-channel cyber persona is now becoming mandatory. The brand digital persona needs to be spread across websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and that is just the start. The brand message needs to be consistent and constant on a variety of media. Visual channels are adding to the mix with Pintrest and Instagram.
It requires persistent and vigilant management as we check our emails, logon to our Facebook page and review Twitter updates. The blogger needs to check what blog posts are resonating, then review and approve the comments. Others will be checking how many hits have happened overnight to the YouTube channel. LinkedIn fans and users will want to know what connection invites are sitting in the inbox. If you are on Slideshare, you will be checking how many have downloaded or viewed your presentations.
Social media has pushed our lives further into the digital sphere as we check our friend requests on iPads and iPhones and often before leaving our beds.
The public and digital persona needs constant optimization to ensure that it has not been hijacked by spammers, scammers or trolls. It is an exercise in constant surveillance and management.
As they say “its complicated”.
The Rise of the Digital Assets
Business is now playing out online and thinking that your bricks and mortar presence is all that is needed is ignorance in a digital economy. If you are not found by search engines then you might as well be invisible. In some industries up to 90% of all buying decisions start with an online search. The holy grail is being ranked one on Google.
So what are the digital assets you need to create, market and manage?
• Websites (including blogs and e-Commerce stores)
• Social media channels and assets
• Multi-media content assets
• Mobile assets including apps and mobile sites
• Digital databases including email subscribers
The value of building and continuing to invest and build these assets cannot be underestimated. Most online stores have more traffic than physical stores.
Once created the next challenge is moving your online brand from “invisible to visible” so that prospects and customers can find you, read and view your content and then buy your goods and services. Digital asset creation should not be “set and forget” as it was in the past.
Successful campaigns require multi-channel digital marketing strategies and tactics. These include:
• Search engine optimization (SEO)
• Paid digital advertising (this includes banner ads and Google Adwords)
• Social media marketing
• Email Marketing
To be truly successful requires three types of “multi“, multiple digital assets, multi-media and multiple marketing channels.
Marketing can no longer rely on just one channel or even two channels as your target audience has splintered and dispersed across a digital matrix.
Managing and Monitoring the Digital Brand
Multi-channel marketing requires the right tools and platforms to measure success and failure of campaigns.
The marketing manager and brand police will want to know what is being said about the “Brand” to protect PR disasters from destroying a reputation in hours or even minutes as real time communication offers both opportunity and potential catastrophe at the speed of a tweet.
Community managers maintain and monitor “Tweet Stations” on Hootsuite or other Twitter platforms to see what is unfolding online. This maintenance can be in-house or outsourced.
Advertising agencies will want to know what are the click through rates on banner ads.
Many tools are needed to manage the process of brand protection and maintenance.
Source : www.jeffbullas.com
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