6 Steps to a Comprehensive Brand Strategy

Despite what a lot of newbie entrepreneurs, businesses and even some mediocre corporations seem to believe, your brand is not determined by a logo, no matter how stunning it is (Tweet this). Your brand is what people perceive, think, or feel when they consume your content or buy your products.

How do people feel when they wear Prada? Luxurious.

The Nike brand equates to inner strength.

A brand survives on these connections. Companies either work hard to develop a successful brand strategy or they fail to appear authentic. It’s typically hit or miss.

Your brand strategy is created by your core products or services, your mission, and the target audience you are trying to reach. Your brand’s story is defined by what is most important to your company and customers (Tweet this).

1. Strive For Genuine Connections

You have to connect emotionally with your target audience beyond the point of sale – this means reaching out (Tweet this). Business owners should have the goal of inspiring an emotional connection in their audience. Strive to understand your customers and what they want from your company. Once you understand their needs, you’ll be able to identify ways to strike an emotional connection with your target market and ultimately define your brand.

2. Nurture Those Connections – Reward Both Customers and Your Staff

Think about the companies that treat both their customers and their employees well – they typically resonate with the public even more. Companies like Costco thrived even during the recession, because not only does the company appeal to both lower and higher income consumers, but it’s earned a great reputation for how well they treat their employees. The company-employee relationship has become part of its brand, and has also enabled Costco to stand out above its competitors.

3. If It Doesn’t Reinforce Your Brand’s Message, Lose It

This is one area so many brands get wrong, especially on social media. It’s easy to assume that posting a humorous photo or video will engage your audience. However, instead of being engaged, your audience might just end up confused if it doesn’t fit your brand’s message. If your goal is humor, make sure it supports your overall brand message and values. That way, your brand will be represented when your fans share it with potential customers.

4. Monitor and Measure Your Efforts

While you may think you’ve done all the right things for your brand strategy and campaign, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to monitor analytics. You have to measure results, monitor your campaign’s effect, and determine whether or not your strategy was successful. If people aren’t responding like you’d planned, then your campaign needs a makeover. If it does work, and your business takes off – you should still monitor your campaign like a hawk. Things can take a major turn in a few minutes, thanks to social media. The ability to be flexible and evolve with new strategies is the key to long-term branding success.

5. Solve Specific Problems and Use Specific Words

This is how you separate your brand from the rest. If you own a restaurant that specializes in artisan-style pizza, you must go beyond just selling good pizza. What else do you do that’s great? Maybe you pair pizza with specialty craft beer? Maybe the pizza ingredients are completely organic and your pizza boxes can be recycled as lunch boxes? Whatever your company chooses to highlight, it has to be specific and either unique enough or fabulous enough to make you stand out from the millions of other pizza sellers.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Spy

You should be aware of what strengths your competitor has, especially if they happen to be your weaknesses. You don’t need to sneak in at night and plant hidden cameras, but be aware of their successes and failures, how they compare to your own, and what you can learn from them. Marketing campaign metrics include competitor comparison and analysis for this same reason.

When consumers spend money on high end products, they’re paying for a brand’s name, not a product, because they have a personal or emotional connection to it. What your brand strategy must work toward is just that – creating an emotional desire or subconscious reaction to your brand. One strong enough that they would pay $90 for something they could get for $35.