Do you know that companies have a brand value apart from their market cap? For example, Amazon’s market cap is $885.3 billion (in 2019) and its brand value was pegged at $125 million by Interbrand, a brand consultancy firm. In its report, Apple was the world’s strongest brand at $234.2 million. Its market cap is a mind-boggling $1 trillion.
Your brand name is significant to the progress of your company. The strength of your brand name is a reflection of your reputation and visibility in the business ecosystem. A logo, a vision statement and a bunch of brand-specific colors do not make a brand. There is much more to it and it is essential to the existence of your brand, especially if you want to join the leaders.
Let us cut straight to the chase, this article will tell you about the strategies for your brand development and how to create one:
What is a brand?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the definition of what a brand is. Your brand is what your customers think about you. It is the personality that you convey through your messaging and activities. Your logo, colors used, tagline, website, etc, is also a part of your brand but it does not fully encompass what your brand stands for.
Why is branding important?
Because customers identify with brands for a variety of reasons. Customers are not only driven by a good product at a decent price. There are more things that move them. Some of them can be animal lovers and they would identify with a business that specifically donates a part of its profits to charity that takes care of animals. They may care about climate change and if you could identify yourself as a company that cares about the environment too, your customers will be open to shopping with you over a competitor who might even be lesser priced.
Why do you need a Brand Development Strategy?
As a business, your focus, as expected will be on creating products that are transformational and innovative, but it should also be in developing a voice on how you want your customers and prospects to think of you. Many companies do not give priority to branding, but they are intent on developing world-class products. While it is a good attitude to work on perfecting your product, you need to have enough magnetic power to make sure that customers are attracted to what you offer.
Having a strong brand helps you distinguish you from your competition and shows you as someone who is more recognized by customers and prospects alike. Technology allows customers to compare products of different businesses. If you are in a field where there is not much differentiation between you and your competitor, then the only thing that can put you one step above is the power of your brand.
#1 Get customer’s attention:
In this fast-paced world where your customers are bombarded with marketing materials from various players like you, capturing the attention of your customers is a whole new game. Having a strong brand name helps garner that attention much easier. Customers love the entire experience that happens with a brand.
#2 Builds loyalty:
When customers are able to connect with you on an emotional level, you can expect them to stay with you for a long time. The whole concept of branding is to give your customers a perspective on how you want them to look at you. With strong branding, you can win the hearts of your customers.
#3 Increase prices:
People are more than happy to shell out their money for an Apple product over a different brand’s product even if they have the same specifications, right? In fact, most of you have seen Apple lovers scrambling for a space to get ahead in the queues on the day of new phone releases. It is madness that is inexplicable in simple words.
Are there not better products? Maybe. But customers are lovers of the brand and they want anything embossed with the Apple name and are more than happy to shell out 2-3x of the normal price of competitor brands. That’s the power of branding.
#4 Increase market share:
Good brand strategies will surely help you increase your sales which will be reflected in the increase in your market share. When you have solid brand development strategies in place, your customers will be purchasing more from you.
#5 Keeps your employees focused:
Having brand development strategies not only helps your customers choose you, but it will help your employees stay focused. When there is a brand strategy in place, your employees will be aware of a lot of things that will help them understand the motivations of your company in a better way. Employees will feel engaged, empowered, and will actively participate in all the activities of the company.
#6 Increased customer retention:
When you have a strong brand, through your marketing activities, you will be able to find your most loyal customers. Use this information to retain your customers. Have a loyalty program in place which will also increase the value of your brand and use it to keep your existing customers stay with you and purchase from you. Always remember that it pays well to keep an existing customer instead of searching for a new one- having a strong brand helps you achieve that.
#7 More appealing:
A strong brand means that your customers and prospects will find you appealing and will be more than willing to shell out their money on you versus an unknown name. It is like a magnet that keeps attracting a crowd for you. Buyers will be able to discern between who you are and what you bring to the table.
#8 Introduce new products with ease:
When you have a strong brand, it is extremely easy to introduce new products to your existing offering. Because customers are always expecting new things from you and will be eager to try out what you offer, thanks to the power of your brand. With a great fan following, you will even have a legion of customers who will always be waiting for the release of your products.
#9 More credibility:
A well-known brand increases your credibility with your customers, your industry, and the entire business ecosystem. You will find that your credibility is directly proportional to the kind of sales that you get. Why? Because customers want to buy products that they can trust without a hint of doubt. If you are known for building credible products, then your customers will be happy purchasing from you.
Questions to Ask before Developing Brand Strategies
Having a strong brand is a powerful tool for all businesses, no matter what type of industry you are in or the size of your company. Having well-defined brand development strategies is critical for companies to be relevant in the long term. Strong brands can increase customer loyalty, attract good customers, partners and vendors, helps with marketing efforts, increased involvement from customers, etc.
Before you develop branding strategies for your organization, here are the questions you need to ask:
- What makes our brand different?
- How does our brand fit into the lives of our customers?
- What is the problem that our brand solves?
- Where are our time and money best invested?
- What is our long-term vision?
- Why do our customers love us?
- Why would someone choose us over our competitors?
- Where do we see our brand in 10 years?
- What are the brands that you love or would like to emulate?
9 Best Brand Development Strategies for your Organization
You haven’t developed a brand development strategy yet? Well, then you should probably take a look at these 9 brand development strategies:
1. Chalk your overall business strategy
Having a brand that is differentiated from the rest of your peers will give you a great headway when defining a brand strategy. Here are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself when defining your business strategy.
- How do I want customers to think of our brand?
- What kind of personality does my business have?
- How is my brand different from my competitors?
- What’s my business story?
- What are 5 adjectives that describe you?
- What’s wrong with the existing brand identity? (if there is one)
- What is our logo, colors and fonts that we should use?
- What is your brand voice?
Once you write down the answers, you will have more clarity on the kind of brand that you want to create.
2. Be clear about your target market
When it comes to marketing, not knowing who you are selling to is suicide. If you are a bank, then your brand cannot have bright colors as it would best suit a startup. Also, knowing who your customers are is the first step in your marketing strategy. Without it, you would be shooting at random objects. Remember this, not everyone is your target audience. The narrower you target, the better would be the results that you get. If your target market is diverse, then your focus will be diluted as well.
To know who your target market is, find out your buyer persona. A buyer persona is the fictional representation of your ideal clients. You can have at least 4-7 buyer personas for your brand, which will help with your targeting. It is found out based on the likes, dislikes, motivation, needs, etc, of your target audience. With a narrow focus, your marketing strategies will have better results.
3. Brand positioning
The idea that customers have about you as a brand is called brand positioning. For example, Coca Cola is positioned as a brand that brings happiness. Colgate is positioned as protective. Having an effective brand positioning in place will improve the relevancy of your brand. The objectives of your brand positioning would be to include relevance, differentiation and credibility. All of these three things should be kept in mind when drafting a brand positioning strategy. Let’s say if you are a highly relevant brand but there is no differentiation, then you will be no different from a mass-produced product.
4. Communication strategy
The way you communicate with your customers about your brand is a huge part of your branding. Your messaging strategy to your various brand personas, although are based on different tastes, it should not be varying. The message to each of the personas should be the same while specific concerns must be addressed individually. The things that you communicate should be similar in all the channels and at no point should it deviate from the main point that you are trying to convey for any of the personas.
5. Consistency across all channels
One of the most basic principles about branding is consistency. If you sound like ‘A’ in one channel and ‘B’ in another, you are sending conflicting signals. When a customer thinks about your brand, it should be the same across any format. This means that you need to make it look the same and feel the same across all channels and for all products. It doesn’t mean that there cannot be no change at all. If you are going to new markets, then you can adopt according to local customs and conventions.
6. Brand identity elements
It is the face of a brand, as in, the visual component of a brand that represents the ideas of what your brand should stand for. The elements of your brand identity include logos, typography, colors, packaging, messaging, etc. It makes your existing customers feel comfortable while developing a sense of identity for your new customers. Your brand identity should be consistent across all channels. You cannot use yellow everywhere for your branding and change it overnight. Customers will not take such a change lightly. Organizations should invest in creating a holistic brand identity to stay relevant in today’s cut-throat business world.
7. Content Marketing strategy
All the businesses that have a presence on the Internet need to publish content regularly so that it can attract viewers. The aim of the content is to nurture customers over a time period so that they can go deeper into the funnel. With content, you will be able to get visitors, but you need to have a strategy in place to ensure that all the audience who visit your website end up becoming customers.
Being ‘Marketing’ Ready
Businesses require strategies to implement plans. Without one, you will not be able to get good results. This is where having a standard set of tools helps businesses build content. Here are some of the things that you need to create your marketing toolkit:
Having a bunch of content experts who are familiar about your niche
- Design team
- Freelance writers
- Tools for keyword research
- SEO Expert
It would be wise to create a checklist of the different types of tools that are used for your content marketing strategy. It could include information about the type of content you regularly post, info about products/services of the company, buyer persona, tools used, resources required, and so on.
Ensure that there is always an excess of content. Have a page where you write down ideas for content. If there are a bunch of ideas present, then it becomes easy to keep churning content on a regular basis.
8. Competitor Analysis
When you venture into developing a full-blown brand strategy, you will be in a much better place if you study your competitor’s strategy. It will also help you understand the difference between you and your competitor. It will help you concentrate on what to focus and what not to. In fact, copying your competitor is not even a bad idea. If you think something that your competitor does will work for you, then don’t hesitate to do it.
9. Implementation stage
Once you have all of the above ready, the next step is to implement it. Most companies are afraid of the implementation process even after creating solid brand development strategies. Why? Because the brand building is put in the back burner as the management instead concentrates on client work, sending out invoices and getting more leads. This is why implementing and ensuring that you track all the developments becomes a necessity.
Implement the strategy as per the plan. See to it that each of the metrics is taken into account. Track the entire process so that you are going in the right direction.
You cannot build a brand strategy alone. You need a team behind you because there are a lot of elements and skill sets involved that it is impossible for a single person to do the entire thing. Ensure that your branding is in alignment with who you are and who you want to be (hopefully both are the same). Your branding strategy should be aligned with your marketing strategy.
A lot of brands fail because they don’t have a long-term vision, which is why they don’t spend time on crafting a brand strategy. The most important takeaway from this article should be that having strong branding is important for the longevity of your business. We do not say that it is easy to create one and nor is it difficult.
If you follow the above steps that we have outlined for you, you can easily create a strong one that will stand the test of time. Understand your position and who you are as a business to create your brand to become an established one.
We leave you with a quote from one of the world’s most powerful CEOs, Jeff Bezos:
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn a reputation by trying to do hard things well.”