What is Brand Strategy?
Brand strategy is the framework you’ll use to develop your brand in relation to your long-term business goals. It defines how, what, where, when, why and to whom you communicate your brand message.
Brand strategy takes place before any creative work begins and encompasses all aspects of a brand's communications, from packaging and promotional materials to social posts and articles.
Even non-tangibles, such as a brand's character, values, and emotions are considered during brand strategy.
Research plays a large role, too. With particular attention given to the needs, demands and emotions of customers, the market, its trends and the competitive environment.
A brand strategy will answer the following questions:
Why are we here?
- A simple statement that sums up your core purpose, usually relatively emotional in tone and outlines a specific vision of what a better world will look like.
- It should be for something, inclusive, service oriented, resilient to change, and idealistic.
What do we do and how do we do it?
- The answers here are usually descriptive, nuts and bolts, functional ‘doing’ and ‘process’ statements.
What makes us different?
- Typically referred to as a positioning statement, this question aims to position your brand away, in customers’ minds, from what other brands offer while also enhancing what makes your brand unique.
Who are we here for?
- This is your ideal audience—customer or client—for the product or service you offer. The more defined your audience is, the easier your brand's positioning becomes.
What do we value most?
- The core beliefs and universal truths that are shared by your brand. The focus here isn’t only outward but also inward, which affects how the brand, its founders, directors and employees behave.
What’s our personality?
- Typically referred to as a brands character or tone of voice, it’s how your brand expresses itself and communicates to the outside world.
Why is Brand Strategy Useful?
The main benefit brand strategy offers is the competitive advantage over competition in the market by clearly differentiating your product or service.
Brand strategy establishes strategic visual and verbal language in which to effectively communicate to your target market in a way they understand and connect with—physically, emotionally or both. This allows customers to recall more easily who you are and what you do, building trust and credibility.
Instead of letting clients and customers define your brand, brand strategy lets you define it. Or more accurately, define it in a way that the consumer definition of your brand aligns with your definition of your brand.
It can also help ground highly laudable missions, vision, value statements in the day-to-day of what your brand/organization/company stands for, making it more accessible to your target market.
Some brands even take those core beliefs that normally live inside internal documents—often never to be seen again—and bring them to the foreground, turning their beliefs into the basis of their brand’s entire communications strategies.
Who is Brand Strategy For?
Anyone who has a brand, a business goal, and wants a framework in which to achieve that goal.
If you sell products, brand strategy will clearly define what makes your product different—physical and emotionally—from competitors and give you clear insight into how to communicate both visually and verbally to your target market in a way they value.
The same is true for marketing services. When competing in a market where one service is difficult to distinguish from another, brand strategy looks for gaps in that market in which a distinction can be made—often done through positioning—allowing the service to be marketed as the only option available.
How Can You Use Brand Strategy?
You can use brand strategy to grow your brand in a way that aligns with your business goals, providing you with the tools you need to create strategic visual and verbal communications that better speak to your audience and their values.
If you’re looking to begin work on your own brand strategy, I’d encourage you to answer the six brand strategy questions from the What Is Brand Strategy section as they will be a great reference as your brand develops.