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 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.
You’re ready to develop a new brand or you decide to evolve your existing brand. & you’ll quickly realize that you’re filled with options – from freelancers to branding agencies, options to finalize the right branding partner.
Finding the best & the right branding partner
is like finding a diamond in the rough.
Shortlist 4-5 branding agencies which you think are the best. Interview them all and narrow it down to 2-3 firms. Have in mind clearly your goals, budget and deadlines so that when you talk to them, they get your objectives.
“Be open about your budget and goals. That way, no one wastes time if there isn’t a financially mutual fit.”
None prefer spending lakhs of rupees to
fall into a relationship that doesn’t eventually work.
Once you short list agencies you think are the best for your branding, consider the below points. They’ll help you find the best partner.
First impression is the best impression.
Make the most out of the subtle first interactions. Ask yourself the following questions during and after the first talk :
– How do they interact with you before you become their client.
– Are they prompt in initial mail exchanges and schedules?
– Do they ask relevant questions during your meetings? & How smoothly do they flow?
Natural chemistry matters. It never should be like a blind date where you realize both parties have nothing in common. If you’re not compatible as people, it will reflect in the work product.
You are unique.
A big part of successful branding is the ability to problem solve with a fresh perspective. Some branding agencies have portfolios that are undifferentiated – all work across clients look the same. You visual identities should express your brand’s unique voice and must solve your specific challenges.
Branding is not creation of new logo.
Your brand should live in the real world. Your branding partner needs to be well-versed across channels and mediums, and able to ideate and implement across various touchpoints.
Some agencies are strong with strategy but not so well versed with design. Others excel with design but fall short with the strategy. You want an agency that can deliver on both brand strategy and design at an equally high level that’s in line with your brand’s bigger picture.
They should lead you. Not vice versa.
A great agency should be committed to make your business successful. They shouldn’t be afraid to step forward, speak up, and say “Here’s what needs to happen in order to build a successful brand.”
Greatness is built by collaboratively working together to achieve success. Agencies that are client-led often result in poor outcomes. A great agency is built to lead the project, not just to stay on time, budget and scope, but more importantly to push you to a state that will make your brand more impactful.
Great agencies don’t focus on design deliverables first. They focus on the strategic path that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. What you need is an agency that can deliver both brand strategy and design – both at the highest level.
An integral part of your business success is reaching customers through inventive and comprehensive social-media marketing campaigns.
Here are some tips to help build up your following and your brand.
If you don’t want your posts to get lost in the Twitter stream, make sure to include an image, related link or even an emoji to separate your missives from the torrent of other tweets.
If you feel limited by Twitter’s 140 character count, feel free to expand on a point with posts on platforms like Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn.
If you find that you aren’t getting the response you are after from your company’s Facebook page, create some groups to spark more connections and conversations around your product and brand. Your customers can also choose to get updates from you this way.
Include call to action buttons (i.e. “like this page” and “learn more”) in your posts to gain more traction, clicks and conversions.
Market and post consistently across multiple platforms. Tailor your posts for each community and be sure to include links to your other social accounts in the bio and about sections so customers know where else to find you.
You’re not just selling a product or a service, but a larger network. If you know of people in your orbit who would benefit from meeting, whether they are an investor, advisor, client or customer, make the introduction – you and the brand be well remembered.
When you get positive feedback from a customer, don’t be afraid to highlight it. Retweet customer praise, thank individual customers on your Facebook page and consider a crowd sourced, user-generated campaign.
If a marketing idea appeals to you but you’re not sure if it’ll work, do the research but give it a try anyway. People will appreciate something a little unusual, and it could go viral.
9 . Stand behind your actions
Being honest, forward and entirely reasonable will win support from social media audience and will gain new paying clients.
Emotions are contagious and people love optimism. Social media users are more likely to follow you if you share happier updates all the time.
Source : www.entrepreneur.com
“Personal branding” is a bit of a buzzword these days. Many claim to be experts on it even though the subject isn’t really that complicated at all.
It is simply the art of creating a recognizable brand around yourself. The goals are:
Be recognized whenever the brand is seen.
1. Have that brand represent certain ideas in the minds of the viewer.
2. Here are 9 quick tips to help you build up your personal brand.
1. Decide between using your name or a made-up name. If you build a brand around your name, then do so for the purpose of raising your reputation. On the flip side, any brand built around you is not sellable. When you decide to quit, the brand dies. If you build a brand which is separate from you, then you can sell it.
2. Own your domain. Whatever brand you use, you need to own the dot-com. If your name is available as a dot-com, go buy it. We specifically recommend the dot-com as opposed to other domain extensions like dot-net or dot-org because dot-com is assumed by all. It is easiest to remember.
3. Invest in a professional blog design. One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is trying to design their own blogs when they have no idea how to do it. Saying that you’re not going to invest in a professional design until you make some money is to put the cart before the horse. Realize that you need to treat your blog like a business if you want it to be a business, and sometimes that means investing in it at the beginning.
4. Use professional photo of yourself. You are going to use a photo of yourself in various places on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc. You want that photo to be professional and attractive. You also want it to convey the mood expressed by your brand. If your brand is about fun, then look happy and fun in your photo. You can pay somebody to take very professional photos of you. It isn’t necessary, but you’ll get better results.
5. Go for visual consistency. Preferably, you want your Facebook and Twitter background, your blog, your Youtube channel layout – all of it – to have the same overall design and color scheme. It maintains visual consistency for the brand. Also, I recommend you use the same photo of yourself in all online profiles.
6. Get a logo. You need a professional logo for your brand. Don’t use your photo as the logo. Also, make sure the logo would work equally in color and black-and-white. In other words, it should translate well into print.
7. Invest in swag. Ever thought about building out your brand into the offline world? Perhaps shirts, cups, hats, mousepads, USB sticks, business cards, etc. If you give away some swag at a conference, you’ll be easily remembered.
8. Nail down your brand keywords. This was something that Ted Murphy talked about recently. In the same fashion you might add tags to your blog post, sit down and tag your brand. What words describe the brand you want to create? Then, see if you can further nail down the brand description to a single phrase.
9. Be Everywhere. Easier said than done, right? But, this is part of being a pro blogger. You need to be out there on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc. And it all needs to lead into your blog where you are posting quality, helpful content designed to bolster your brand. You can build your brand visually all you want, but it isn’t a brand if it is not out there in front of people.
As with everything, the basics are easy. It just requires follow-through. It is one thing to read this post and ultimately do nothing different. Or you could come up with some steps to actually DO IT.
Now, go build your brand!
Source : www.blogmarketingacademy.com
Branding goes way beyond just a logo or graphic element. When you think about your brand, you really want to think about your entire customer experience…everything from your logo, your website, your social media experiences, the way you answer the phone, to the way your customers experience your staff. When you look at this broad definition of branding, it can be a bit overwhelming to think about what is involved in your brand.
In short, your brand is the way your customer perceives you.
It is critical to be aware of your brand experience and have a plan to create the brand experience that you want to have… a good brand doesn’t just happen… it is a well thought out and strategic plan.
BRANDING PROMOTES RECOGNITION.
People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with. If your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it can help people feel more at east purchasing your products or services.
YOUR BRAND HELPS SET YOU APART FROM THE COMPETITION.
In today’s global market, it is critical to stand apart from the crowd. You are no longer competing on a local stage, your organization now competes in the global economy. How do you stand out from the thousands or millions of similar organizations around the world?
YOUR BRAND TELLS PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS DNA.
Your full brand experience, from the visual elements like the logo to the way that your phones are answered, tell your customer about the kind of company that you are. Are all of these points of entry telling the right story?
YOUR BRAND PROVIDES MOTIVATION AND DIRECTION FOR YOUR STAFF.
A clear brand strategy provides the clarity that your staff needs to be successful. It tells them how to act, how to win, and how to meet the organization’s goals.
A STRONG BRAND GENERATES REFERRALS.
People love to tell others about the brands they like. People wear brands, eat brands, listen to brands, and they’re constantly telling others about the brands they love. On the flip side, you can’t tell someone about a brand you can’t remember. A strong brand is critical to generating referrals or viral traffic.
A STRONG BRAND HELPS CUSTOMERS KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.
A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease, because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand.
YOUR BRAND REPRESENTS YOU AND YOUR PROMISE TO YOUR CUSTOMER.
It is important to remember that your brand represents you…you are the brand, your staff is the brand, your marketing materials are the brand. What do they say about you, and what do they say about what you’re going to deliver (promise) to the customer?
YOUR BRAND HELPS YOU CREATE CLARITY AND STAY FOCUSED.
It’s very easy to wonder around from idea to idea with nothing to guide you…it doesn’t take long to be a long way from your original goals or plans. A clear brand strategy helps you stay focused on your mission and vision as an organization. Your brand can help you be strategic and will guide your marketing efforts saving time and money.
YOUR BRAND HELPS YOU CONNECT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS EMOTIONALLY.
A good brand connects with people at an emotional level, they feel good when they buy the brand. Purchasing is an emotional experience and having a strong brand helps people feel good at an emotional level when they engage with the company.
A STRONG BRAND PROVIDES YOUR BUSINESS VALUE.
A strong brand will provide value to your organization well beyond your physical assets. Think about the brands that you purchase from (Coca-Cola, Wrangler, Apple, Ford, Chick-Fil-A, Quick Trip)… are these companies really worth their equipment, their products, their warehouses, or factories? No, these companies are worth much more than their physical assets…their brand has created a value that far exceeds their physical value.
WRAPPING IT UP
The best branding is built on a strong idea… an idea that you and your staff can hold on to, can commit to, and can deliver upon. Your brand needs to permeate your entire organization. When your organization is clear on the brand and can deliver on the promise of the brand, you will see tremendous fruit while building brand loyalty among your customer base.
Source : www.strategynewmedia.com