Cutting through the noise and chaos to genuinely connect with customers represents the holy grail for most businesses. The complex and psychological nature of this task however means it is not quite as straight-forward as simply choosing a new logo, it takes some strategic thinking. Adam Arnold, Founder and Chief Brand Consultant of Brandality hacks his way through the fluff that surrounds the subject of brand strategy to explain further.
In the book The Practice of Management (1954), Peter Drucker wrote: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” In achieving that, Drucker believed each company will have ‘optimum profitability’. I agree with Ducker and believe it still to be true 70 years on. Far too many companies focus on making money, when they should be focussing on making customers – the latter will take care of the first.
Making customers in our multi-channel era of clutter and noise is more complex than ever however. It’s no longer who can shout the loudest, the most often or who’s product has the most features; you’ll simply be adding to the noise. For a brand to have impact today and ensure success for tomorrow, it needs to authentically connect with consumers by communicating a unique value proposition and maintain a resonating narrative across all touchpoints.
This is where brand strategy has its place
I describe brand strategy simply as being ‘a roadmap to establish meaningful connections between companies and their customers’. At its essence, brand strategy encapsulates the DNA of a business, to convey why a company exists and why customers should care. It should inject creativity, meaning and direction into a company to spark awareness, affinity and loyalty among ideal target audiences. Just as a compass assists with guiding a ship, brand strategy helps companies navigate the course towards customer connection – a deliberate and considered approach to shape positive perceptions.
The components of brand strategy
Below is an overview of some of the components that make up brand strategy, starting with what we deem to be the key components.
Research: brand audit, customer and marketplace analysis.
Read more about brand audits >>
Purpose: Why a company exists beyond making money.
Read more about brand purpose >>
Proposition: What is it a company does and what is its value to the customer.
Positioning: What makes you different and what do you want to be known for.
Read more about brand positioning >>
People: Who are your target audience and what do they need?
Personality: What are you like to do business with?
Other areas often covered are
Values: Guiding company and brand behaviour through a set of core values.
Mission: What you aim to become over a longer period and what must be accomplished to achieve it.
Vision: Vividly conveying what future success looks like and why it’s important.
Brand Story: Connect a brand’s values with emotional meaning and narrative so that people feel a bond and want to be part of your journey.
Narrative and communications: A coherent brand narrative creates a unifying thread across communications to shape perceptions and understanding of how the brand delivers distinctive value.
Alliances and associations: Another component of brand strategy which I believe to be of great value. I recall my mum saying you’re judged by the company you keep. Just in the same way, who your brand is seen with (other brands, celebs, events, influencers etc) is a great way of shaping perceptions.
Read more about brand association >>
The benefits of Brand Strategy, here are a few of the highlights
Differentiation: Effective brand strategy helps businesses stand out in a crowded marketplace. It establishes a unique identity that sets you apart from competitors, making it easier for customers to recognise and choose your brand.
Customer loyalty: A well-crafted brand strategy helps to build emotional connections with your audience. This emotional bond fosters loyalty, as customers are more likely to stick with a brand that resonates with their values and aspirations.
Consistency: Brand strategy ensures a consistent brand personality across all touchpoints – from marketing materials to customer interactions. Consistency builds trust, a crucial facet in establishing a reliable and reputable brand.
Increased perceived value: Through strategic positioning, your brand can be perceived as offering higher value. This perception often allows companies to command premium prices for their products or services.
Market expansion: A robust brand strategy provides a solid foundation for entering new markets. It facilitates a clear and compelling message that can transcend cultural and geographical boundaries, thus enabling successful expansion.
Employee engagement: Internally, brand strategy serves as a guiding light for employees. It helps align teams with the company’s mission and values, creating a cohesive work culture and improving overall organisational performance.
Adaptability to change: Brands evolve, and a good brand strategy ensures adaptability. Whether facing industry shifts, technological advancements or changing consumer preferences, a well-defined strategy allows your brand to navigate change while staying true to its core identity and beliefs.
Identity: Brand strategy is also an integral part of creating a strong visual and verbal identity. An effective brand strategy clarifies what the brand stands for, what makes it unique and why customers should care. By delineating the brand’s differentiation, personality, positioning a brand identity forms consistency across touchpoints. This makes it easier for customers to understand and connect with the brand, fostering familiarity and trust. This further cements recognition and shapes positive perceptions to drive customer loyalty. In essence, robust brand strategy lays the foundation for authentic, distinguishable brand identity.
Fatigued consumers yearn for authentic connection. They’re even willing to pay substantially more and go out of their way for it. When grounded in customer insights, brand strategy becomes a pivotal tool in illuminating pathways to business growth. It’s more than just choosing colours; it’s about encapsulating the emotional DNA of a business and serves as the compass guiding ambitious companies through the intricate task of connecting with customers.
Do you have a brand strategy challenge you’d like to chat to us about? Feel free to get in touch