How to Create a Strong Brand Strategy in Three Stages
Editor | 24-02-2017
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.
MasterCard‘s (known as Interbank in 1966 and MasterCharge till 1979) logo and name has changed since 1968, and at the core, the two overlapping circles in shades of red and yellow have remained the same. MasterCard is undoubtedly one of the unique brand and most recognizable brand mark appearing on millions of cash machines and billions of credit cards.
“To thrive in this new digital world where business moves faster than ever, we want to modernize and elevate the brand in a design that is simple and elegant, yet unquestionably Mastercard.”, said Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer, Mastercard. In an attempt to tackle this, Pentagram designed a new logo for the brand. Gone are the italics, they introduced FF Mark in typeface and retained the red and yellow circles, but with a brighter shade. What is most striking is they removed the stripes the brand identity has since more than two decades, making the identity more recognizable and simple.
“We haven’t touched our brand mark for about 20 years now and the company has changed really dramatically in that time,” says Chuck Breuel, VP Brand Marketing at MasterCard. “We’ve expanded all of our products and services and that’s really accelerated over the past few years, so we took a look at the logo and said, ‘I think we can do some things to have it more closely reflect where the company is’. To make it simpler, more impactful in a way, but still instantly recognizable,” he says.
Logo on Credit Cards
Overall, the new look is a clean break for Mastercard to establish a clear house style that stems from the simplicity and crispness of the new logo.
The company had got a new brand identity and has updated the App icons. The new logo as described by the CEO Mr. Kalanick, himself, is “at once more grounded and elevated.” Compared to the previous logotype, there’s tighter text spacing, heavier letter weights and the curves at the left tip of the letter U and the right tip of letter R is gone. “Some might say it’s less fussy (in part because we have cut the curls, our 1990s hairstyle),” Mr. Kalanick wrote.
Our new look and feel celebrates both our technology and the cities we serve.
This updated design reflects where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. The Uber you know isn’t changing, our brand is just catching up to who we already were.
Travis Kalanick, CEO
The bolder, more substantial logo is meant to make it more visible from afar and reflect Uber’s maturity as a company.
Along with the new wordmark, the company has dropped the “U” from its app symbol, replacing it with a white circle that partially encloses.
The design has philosophical origins: the square represents a “bit,” while the circle depicts an “atom”. “The unique aspect of Uber is that we exist in the physical world,” Mr. Kalanick explained. “We exist in the place where bits and atoms come together. That is Uber. We are not just technology but technology that moves cities and their citizens.”
That “bit” will also be a running theme in Uber’s partner apps, as seen in the hexagonal shape that encloses a square for the driver logo.
The new identity also introduces much more colour to the brand. Whereas before it was simply black and white a lil bit of blue, it now features a more vibrant palette and patterns, all of which will be localized and tailored to each country Uber serves. Uber, being a transportation network woven intot he fabric of cities, there is a drastic change from the black and white Uber. After months researching on textures, art, fashion, architecture, people and a lot more, specific to the cities, Uber came up with attractive geometric patterns and bright colours.
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
(Est. 1997) “Netflix is the world’s leading Internet television network with over 44 million members in more than 40 countries enjoying more than one billion hours of TV shows and movies per month, including original series.”
Netflix needed a brand through-line: a conceptual and visual thread to connect everything. Our challenge was to create something broad enough for a global brand but still unique and identifiable. To create something variable yet systematic and bulletproof. It had to be visually striking, adapt to any format, and hold up to interpretation by agencies and vendors around the globe.
The solution: The Stack, a visual metaphor and an identity system in one. It implies both the infinite, ever-changing catalogue and the custom-curated selections that make up the core of the Netflix service.
“The big challenge was unifying everything. They’re really successful, obviously, but the brand itself was a little fractured because they were working with partners and agencies around the word,” explains Gretel Creative Director Ryan Moore. “They had the logo and some basic text guidelines, but due to the sheer growth, they couldn’t oversee digital, print, trailers, and social media. What they needed was an idea to stitch everything together—a conceptual approach—but certainly a visual system all these agencies could look at and adapt to any format they needed to.”
The new logo is available exclusively on the Orange is the New Black season 2 trailer and nowhere else on any of Netflix’s digital domain.