Creating a brand strategy is the first, and arguably the most important step that branding agencies take when building a brand for one of their clients. The branding strategy is like a roadmap, guiding the branding process to make sure it focuses on the right audiences, targeting them with the proper messages.
It also makes certain all of the visual branding elements are consistent with each other and with the messages that the company wants to communicate. The brand strategy defines who the brand is talking to, what needs to be said, and how it’s going to be communicated. In short, a brand strategy allows designers, copywriters, and everyone else involved in the branding process to work toward specific, shared goals to maximize results for the client.
Branding strategies are relatively easy to explain but very difficult to effectively build and execute. You need a top branding company like award-winning San Francisco-based Ramotion to leverage their experience into the creation of a brand strategy that results in compelling brand identity.
Branding Agencies Start With Your Goals
Before an agency narrows in on the particulars of a brand strategy they start with broad strokes about a business’s general goals. Small businesses and large go through the same process. These goals serve as the bedrock upon which the rest of the strategy is built. There are the goals the branding strategy is attempting to achieve.
In formulating this foundation, the branding agency will answer questions such as what sort of company the business wants to be. Are they looking to grow quickly or build their business methodically? What is the business’s overarching purpose? What are the values the business would like to communicate? What are its main areas of focus?
Once it’s clear who the business is and how they want to be seen, a branding agency can focus in on how best to accomplish the stated objectives.
Next, Your Brand Agency Will Focus on Positioning
Creating a positioning statement will help place your business’s goal within the greater context of the competitive marketplace. To do this your agency will research your competitors to determine how they’re positioning themselves in the market. It’s important to understand what others in your industry are doing so that you can find the UVP or unique value proposition that sets your brand apart.
A proper positioning statement is one to three sentences that succinctly describe what makes your company unique and defines precisely your niche among your competitors. A top branding company will spend quite a bit of time on this step, as your positioning statement describes exactly what it is your selling to your audience.
Now You Identify Your Audience
It’s important to understand exactly who your brand will be speaking to so that you know what it is your brand should say. Your positioning statement or your brand story needs to be tailored to each of your audiences so that it resonates with them, and targets their specific concerns.
To do this, a branding firm will examine the market and narrow in on specific groups of people that would be most interested in your message. It’s best to get as specific as possible so that the business doesn’t waste time and resources speaking to people that aren’t interested in listening or communicating features they aren’t concerned about.
Research is critical. You need to understand exactly what each segment of your target audience wants from you so that you know what and how to sell them.
Once You Know Who Your Audience Is, You Tailor Your Message to Them
Brand messaging needs to be targeted in order to be effective. You don’t want to try and speak to everyone because this waters down your message and prevents it from appealing strongly to the people truly interested in hearing about it. Your brand identity is fixed, but the way you share it should be customized to each of your target audiences.
A financial services firm wouldn’t sell the same features of their brand to stay at home parents looking for a second source of income as they would to individuals coming up on their retirement. They would uniquely position themselves for both audiences in a way that directly satisfies their demands.
Choose Your Brand Voice
Sometimes it’s helpful to think of brand identity as belonging to a person, particularly when you’re trying to formulate your brand’s voice. Just like people have specific ways of speaking that set them apart from others, a brand’s voice should reflect its corporate identity. It’s the voice that encapsulates how a brand wants to engage with people and creates a distinctive “personality” for the brand.
A business’s brand voice should match the qualities of the brand that are most important when communicating its message. A law firm would likely want to choose a brand voice that’s professional, formal, caring, and authoritative. A creative agency would go in a very different direction, possibly favoring a warm, playful, offbeat, humorous voice. Again, think of the brand as a person. What sort of person would make the perfect spokesperson for your brand? That person’s voice would be your brand voice.
Now Design Your Collateral Material
This is the part of the branding strategy that most people associate with the process, but as you can see, it doesn’t enter the picture until quite late in the process. That’s because all of the other steps in the brand strategy lead us to this point.
Your branding agency or a design agency would create a wide range of material, including logo design, building a website, designing social media collateral, marketing materials, web content and a host of other elements for promotional purposes.
All of this material is informed by the business’s positioning statement, their brand voice, the target audiences, and the specific messages that are being targeted to each one. It’s important at this point that the design firm strives to keep the logo, website and marketing materials cohesive so that no matter where a customer touches the brand, they get a clear, consistent message.
Now Make Sure Your Brand Is Everywhere
Now that you have your strategy and your collateral material, be sure your brand is integrated into every interaction. Customers should see it on products, your website, emails and other communications. Your brand voice should emerge from the mouths of all of your customer-facing employees. Your office should incorporate brand colors. Your employees should know the brand inside and out so that they are all brand ambassadors for each other and your customers. No matter where your customers or your employers are when they come into contact with your brand they should know immediately who they’re dealing with.
If you’d like help to develop a brand strategy, or would just like to chat about what a well-developed brand strategy could do for your brand, give us a call. We’d love to chat with you about all of the benefits that a proper brand strategy could bring to your business.