Why You Need A Brand Strategy
Creating a brand isn’t about making something pretty or trendy. They’re nice elements, of course, but at the end of the day, thoughtful design and authentic storytelling are the keys to successful branding. There are many ways different consultants go about helping you craft a brand strategy, but the following process is one that has worked for us.
How to create your brand strategy
In this exercise, you will do the thinking that will lead you to a complete brand strategy. Work through each question, jotting your ideas and thoughts down. Your strategy will only be as good as the thinking that goes into it, so take your time.
When you have completed the exercise, type all your notes into a proper strategy document for your designer, as well as your own reference.
Define Your Intention
- What exactly does your business do?
- What excites you about owning your own business?
- How do you want your business to be perceived? Boil it down to a few keywords.
- How will you know if this branding/rebranding has been successful? SMART goals only please.
"Thoughtful design and authentic storytelling are the keys to successful branding."
Define Your Speciality
This may seem obvious, but this is your opportunity to reinvent the way you talk and think about yourself. If you’re already in business, you probably know what your best-selling and most profitable products/services are. You may find, though, that as you’ve expanded, you’ve been left with a range of products that you just can’t shift. You’ve lost your unique selling point, people are confused by what you do, and you’re struggling to see the wood for the trees.
These questions are relevant whether you’re just starting out, or if you’re redefining your focus.
- Where are you now?
- Where do you want to go?
- If you could be known for just one thing, what would it be? Do you really want to diversify, or are you happy with the one thing?
- If you could wave a magic wand and change anything about your business, what would it be?
- Are you selling what inspires you?
- Are you known for products/services that have you leaping out of bed to create and spread the word about them? If not, what would change that?
- Are there products/services that you’d like to drop?
- Are there products/services that you’d like to push harder or do more of?
- How will your brand identity reflect your big vision?
Define Your Target Customers
Start painting a picture of who your target market is. Remember, even if you’re the most innovative business in the world, you still have competitors. This section should help define exactly who you are aiming to attract, and what your strengths and unique attributes are in selling to those people.
- Who are your most profitable customers?
- Why do they buy from you?
- What sort of people are they?
- What blogs/magazines do they read?
- Where you they go on holiday?
- Where do they go out to eat?
- Where do they shop for other things like clothes, toys, shoes, homewares, or groceries?
- Who would they follow on social media? (This is a visual reference that should help you understand the visual language your ideal customers speak.)
- Do your actual customers differ fromyour dream customers? How?
- Who do you want your branding toimpress?
- How should your ideal customers feel when they experience your branding on paper, on their screens, or in person?
If You Are Rebranding, Why?
- Are you changing direction?
- Do you want to be taken more seriously?
- Have you changed direction and seen business fall off?
- Do people think you’re cheaper/more expensive than you are?
- Are you attracting the wrong clients?
- Are people confused about what you do or sell?
Look at Your Competitors
We don’t believe in being competitive – there’s enough pie to go around. But it’s important to get a sense of how other people offering similar products/services are talking about their offerings, packaging them up, and using particular design cues to sell them. Look at brands selling similar products to different target customers as well as brands selling different products to similar target customers. Decide which of the cues you want to embrace and which you want to reject – it’ll help you come up with a reasoned brand that is a true, well thought-out reflection of your business.
Now that you've done some serious thinking about your business and what you want it to look like, write it all up. If you think you need a redesign, pass this document to your designer. If you think you need to change some of your offerings, keep coming back to this strategy to guide you. In 6-12 months, review your strategy and see how it makes you feel. Are you still excited by it? Did you go off-course? Was your original thinking a bit off?
Your strategy should be your guiding light that helps you come home. We hope this has helped you head in the right direction. Here's to a wonderful, productive 2017!