HOW TO DEVELOP A STRATEGY THAT LEADS TO MEASURABLY POSITIVE RESULTS
Bringing your brand to life is not about how it looks; it’s about how it makes others feel. It’s all about what your customers say and how they feel when you leave the room. That’s why having a great strategy for your brand is so important. Your brand strategy is what cements people’s perceptions of your brand. What might you perceive of a brand with no clear strategy?
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into this whole “branding” thing though.
Branding, according to Entrepreneur.com is “your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from that of your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
That’s a decent definition, but I’ve cleaned it up a bit. Branding, to me, is actively shaping people’s perceptions about your business. Strategy implies that there is a methodical system that one can implement to attain measurably positive results.
That’s all brand strategy is in the big scheme of things. It’s a system that you implement in your business to shape people’s thoughts about your brand.
Now that we’ve defined Brand Strategy, let’s talk about how we can start to build one for your brand.
I’ve broken it down into a nice little acronym that I hope you remember when you’re developing your brand strategy. Let’s get right into it.
1. C = Customer
Your branding should be geared towards your customer so you have to know who they are. If you’ve got a make-up line, think about the kinds of people you think will be interested in your make-up and direct your messages to them.
2. O = Objective
I believe that knowing from the start what you expect to get out of your branding efforts will help determine whether your branding efforts actually worked. It’s important to start with measurable goals. If your goal is to get 100 new subscribers to your mailing list, your branding efforts should direct your customers to get you to that goal. If you started with 0 followers, then after the release of your new promotional material and a certain amount of time, you should have 100 new subscribers if your branding efforts worked.
3. V = Values
This part needs time for serious self reflection, but being able to convey your values through your marketing and branding is crucial part of signaling customers and clients. Having well conceived core values for your business and brand helps set you apart in the competitive space because your values are unique to you. Your values act as the emotional attitude of your brand.
4. E = Express
As a creative, this is the fun part. Express is communicating those values and beliefs about your brand to your audience. How will your marketing collateral express the vision of your brand? How will your audience receive your messaging? Have you made a branding style guide? Do you need a photoshoot? The sky is the limit, so to narrow things down, refer back to the previous tips and ask yourself if these new creative assets fit your brand, match your values, and support your objective.
5. T = Tweak
As your business grows and your brand evolves, you’ll be able to see the results of your branding and marketing collateral. If you’re not getting the results you need, it’s OK to tweak what you’ve got to create something better.
When I discuss tweaking with my clients, I ask things like…
Is your logo a png?
Is the text written from your point of view?
Are you photos really old?
Does a different motto, slogan, hashtag resonate more significantly with your audience?
These are all critical things to consider when devising your brand strategy.
CAN NOT HAVING A BRAND STRATEGY HURT MY BUSINESS?
It absolutely could. Let’s say that you are an online retailer of custom made goods. You have a beautiful and responsive website, but you’re checkout page is difficult to navigate. If that’s the case, the chances are, you’re not getting the sales you deserve. This is what I call “brand incongruence;” The experience doesn’t match the brand, thus turning off your customers.
By implementing a strategy for your brand to convert interested buyers into returning buyers, this is the type of thing that you can address before it results in financial loss. Sure, you might have been able to save a few coins going with the default checkout theme, but how many customers have you lost in the process.
Being strategic about your branding efforts will allow you the ability to track whether your efforts worked and to recalculate so you can succeed. You’ll have the power to make smarter business decisions because a certain amount of your success has already been pre-determined.
Denzel Washington is quoted as saying “Dreams without goals remain dreams and fuel disappointment.” The same is kinda true for your branding. If you don’t set a goal for your branding, and if you’re not being strategic about accomplishing that goal, then get ready to be disappointed.
Sure, having an awesome name, great brand colors, and beautiful photos taken by Love’s Apprentice are all important and will help make your brand stand out, but if you care about growth, then you need to make sure these resources help to get you there.
If you would like to discuss how to develop a brand strategy for your own business, please get in touch for a low cost brand development session. We’ll get you squared away on all the steps you can take to refine your brand to get the results you want.