A strong brand strategy can be the difference between a small business going under during hard times, or surviving with a loyal customer base that retains their faith in the brand regardless of ever-shifting market forces.
Exactly what constitutes a brand strategy can be an awkward one to tie down, though. Even experienced marketing experts must begin from scratch when developing a brand strategy for a new business. This is because the key to it all is a true understanding of what the brand represents and means, not just to the business, but to the consumers who identify with it.
Some businesses are not even aware of how their brand connects with customers. For them, this is the first step to creating a brand positioning strategy. There really is nothing else you can do until you understand exactly what your brand is supposed to represent.
What is brand strategy?
Brand strategy is a marketing plan designed to evolve a brand over time with the aim of achieving specific long-term goals.
Your brand is a combination of certain elements of your company and its ethos that identify it and creates instant recognition among your customer demographics. This means your brand strategy must incorporate all relevant aspects of your business that can promote this idealistic vision of your brand to establish a connection with your customers.
A strong brand strategy will pay attention to the needs of your customers as well as their emotional responses connected to your product and the problem it solves for them.
It is also worth taking a moment to outline what your brand strategy is not. Firstly, it is not your product or service. It is not your company name or logo, or even your website. It is not a specific, tangible thing, but rather the convergence of multiple elements – the strategy – that create a feeling about your brand within your customers.
Let’s look at the basic steps required to develop a strong brand strategy.
Define long-term goals
All brand strategy templates begin by identifying the long-term goals of the business. You must know why you are creating a brand and what you want to achieve with it.
This is usually a fairly easy and uncomplicated part of building a brand strategy, but it is the most important part as these long-term goals will be the platform upon which you create the rest of your brand strategy framework.
Eyes on the long-term prize
A lot of creative and strategic thinking in business is focused on the short term, but a strong brand strategy must stay focused on those long-term goals. Ultimately it is about finding a balance between the two, because there are undoubted benefits in certain short-term tactics.
However, the brand strategy framework can be designed in the first place to accommodate these wherever possible and without diminishing the evolution of the brand itself.
Some flexibility should always be incorporated into brand development strategies as there will always be unseen obstacles and surprise detours in the journey towards establishing a strong brand.
Staying focused on those long-term goals does not mean ignoring warning signs that the market forces have changed in a way that your original brand strategy plan wasn’t designed for.
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If you are currently developing a strong brand marketing strategy for your small business, then get in touch with our financial experts for advice. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.