So you want to start a business, and you keep hearing that you need branding. Immediately, you think about getting a logo and website to showcase your new products and services. It’s all so exciting. However, branding is more than just a logo. Before you start designing your brand visuals, you must first determine how you will present your business. This is your brand strategy.

Creating a brand strategy will help your business stay focused, helping it to succeed. Because having a clear understanding of the goals for your business helps to keep all decisions in alignment with those goals.

What is a brand strategy

A brand strategy is a plan on how to help your business connect with its audience. It includes critical things like your mission and purpose, audience, values, and competitor advantage.

Defining your brand strategy first creates a strong foundation for your company. It allows you to make informed, strategic choices throughout your business development.

Creating a brand strategy

To craft your brand strategy you have to dig deep into why you are starting your business. First, you must have a clear understanding of the problem your company is going to solve.

Often companies say things about their products such as “anyone can use it” or “it will help so many people.” However, clearly defining the issue that you are solving and who is most likely to have that issue, will help create a more targeted approach for your branding.

Start by asking yourself what the pain-points of the people you are marketing to are? Why is this company even necessary? These questions will allow you to focus on what your business will do.

Knowing the pain-points for your audience also influences more features and products to offer. Helping to ease your customer’s frustrations further.

Developing your mission statement

Your company’s mission statement is the goal of the company. What is the company looking to do? Google’s 2017 mission statement is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Google’s mission statement defines the industry that the company is in and how it will impact it. Your mission statement must also be clear about those things.

Defining your industry is imperative to branding. Sometimes setting a sector is complicated, as some companies stretch across many industries. However, identifying your primary sector allows your company to be calculated in its marketing efforts and messaging.

For example, though Under Armour is a fashion company, it focuses on the Sports industry. Creating a brand strategy that focuses on Sports, they were able to emphasize designing products that fix the wardrobe issues athletes face. The technology they develop for their apparel helps to fix pain points for athletes. It also allows them to create brand values that their target audience also stands for.

Developing your purpose statement

Your company’s purpose is why the company is necessary. Companies that do well often exploit a hole in a given market. Though some products or services are like yours, they may still leave a void for your audience. When defining your purpose statement, you want to explain what that void is and why it is necessary to fill it.

ING’s purpose statement is “empowering people to stay a step ahead and business.” You can see that ING feels that people lacked the financial knowledge needed to succeed in life and business.

This statement shows not only the void but also the necessity. By creating a financial service, that specializes in overcoming setbacks and planning for the future, ING has filled that void.

Understanding your target audience

Your target audience is the type of people you will be marketing your product and services to. It is easy to use generalizations when you talk about marketing. However, specificity helps to define goals better and plan to start.

You want to define the demographics, interests, and how your target audience will find you. Understanding these things will help you with your marketing efforts. Your target audience determines the forms of media you should use to reach your audience and what your brand voice should be.

For more information about defining your target audience, our previous article goes more in-depth about the “who, what, and where” of target audiences.

Determining your brand values

We are in a time where companies are gaining and losing customers based on their values. Boycotts of brands such as Nike are direct results of company brand values. Nonetheless, companies are being more public about their brand values than before.

Defining clear brand values is more critical today than ever. Consumers find it more important to buy from brands they feel align with the things they care about. Having clear brand values help build trust and relationships with your audience.

To help define brand values, think about what you dislike about companies. Do they focus too much on money? Do they seem more opportunistic than honest? Locating these things will help you determine what you want to focus on.

At the same time, you want to think about what you want your customers to say about your company. Try listing a few sentences saying “Customers think my company is [blank]. “Customers say that we are helpful.” “Customers think that we are stylish.” “Customers think that we are empowering.”

These attributes will become the values for your brand. Building a framework of what your company should be at all times.

Defining your “onliness”

Before marketing to your clients, you need to articulate your company’s ‘onliness.’ Your onliness is also known as the competitor strategy. What is it that only your company can do?

Are you the only company that offers something? Does your company offer something that is a better price than it’s competitors? Does your background give you more insight to fix the issue you are addressing?

A clear competitive strategy allows you to focus your messaging. Always make sure to focus on your company’s uniqueness. Your onliness is customer’s reason for buying your product over others. Be concise and honest when defining these things.

Conclusion

Now that you have defined your brand strategy, it is time to put it all together. You can now start developing your brand voice, motto, and brand personality.

You can also use your strategy in all decision making from hiring partners to designing your brand identity. Keeping all aspects of your business aligned with your brand strategy builds a solid brand story that people can connect to.

However, doing things out of order causes chaos and confusion into your brand. If people don’t know what they’re fighting for, it’s hard for them to fight at all. So be sure to start with your brand strategy and everything else will fall in line.

Professional branding agencies like ours offer brand development services to make sure you don’t miss a step when crafting your strategy. Let’s start building your brand today.

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