Every successful brand is built on strong foundations that support its mission, vision and core values.
91% of consumers are more likely to do business with recognizable and memorable brands that provide them with relevant offers.
Why is that important?
Because recognizable messaging and tone of voice, memorable visuals and core values that speak to the target audience all stem from a well-thought-out brand strategy.
This article explains why brand strategy matters for business success and how it keeps your brand’s messaging and visual presentation consistent, streamlined and efficient.
What Is A Brand Strategy?
A brand strategy is a plan for aligning your business brand elements with your target audience, to ensure consistency across all channels.
Brand strategy affects all aspects of business, prioritizes consumers’ needs and solves their pain points. It also considers the business’s competitive environment.
- What your brand stands for
- What promises your brand makes to leads, prospects and customers
- How your brand communicates your unique value propositions
- What personality and values your brand conveys through messaging
We will discuss the benefits in-depth later in the article, but as a branding agency, we have identified these to be some of the main reasons to invest a brand stategy:
- Understand who you truly are
- Use your values to guide your decisions in ways that are better for your leads, clients and employees
- Communicate your brand consistently and effectively through every piece of content you create
- Attract the right customers to build a strong, lasting brand
- Position your brand to ensure you’re able to compete in your industry
Why Brand Strategy Matters
If you can’t clearly express what your business does, the unique value it brings to the market and what it stands for, no one will understand what your brand is about.
Without clear messaging, you’ll be leaking leads left and right through high website bounce rates and poor engagement on social media.
A brand strategy provides your business with:
- Message clarity that makes it possible for your leads to understand the nature of your business from their first contact with your brand. It also:
- Makes it easier for prospects to recognize your brand among competitors
- Improves marketing efforts
- Boosts website metrics such as bounce rate
- Visual consistency which enhances brand retention and recognition, making marketing efforts more effective and influencing the bottom line. Visual consistency can increase revenue by over 30%!
- A brand voice that is consistent, unique and well-defined. This enhances brand recognition as well as customer loyalty and internal and external brand advocacy. Retaining existing customers is seven times cheaper than gaining new ones. (If you are a food & beverage brand, here are more tips on how to use digital channels to grow customer loyalty.)
The purpose of a brand strategy is most often to:
- Craft messaging for leads and prospects across the conversion funnel
- Communicate and present your business’ unique selling points to clients
- Onboard partner agencies and other service providers
- Onboard new employees, especially in the business development and marketing departments
- Create messaging and visuals for audiences on various digital channels, following brand guidelines
Digital Silk’s Brand Strategist, Zorica Marjanović, says that the world is witnessing a digital revolution in user behavior and that only those brands that embrace all of its challenges and innovations will be in a position to grow.
“Before the digital revolution, brands used to compete with other brands,” says Zorica. “Now, they’re up against influencers, platforms and general online content. They have to keep up with everything that is happening in order to retain users’ attention.”
“Traditional branding gave way to the digital-first branding strategy. Consumers perceive any brand through how they prioritize and build their online reputation.”
Bonus Tip: Create A Brand Architecture To Consolidate Multiple Brands Under The Same Umbrella
Companies that have grown over the years often consist of old and new brands that all have their own brand identities. This multitude of brands under the same umbrella may confuse and even repel potential customers.
Brand architecture is a system of organizing different subsections of a larger brand – such as subbrands, products and services – to help the target audience relate to them.
For example, Google is a master brand of subbrands such as Gmail, GDrive and Google Meet, while P&G is a master brand of subbrands such as Gilette, Pampers and Tide.
Brand architecture clarifies the organization and relation between subbrands as a part of a larger whole, allowing consumers to understand the nuances of each brand.
It also helps business managers and marketers know how and when to keep parts of a brand separate when needed versus when to have them work together to boost one another.
Brand architecture begins with these two categories:
- Master brand: A top-level brand that envelops all other brands, products and services
- Brand extension: A brand, product or service launched by a known brand name belonging in a different category
The most common brand architecture types are:
- Branded house: The master brand is always present and is linked to brand extensions. For example, Google is a master brand with brand extensions such as Gmail, Maps, GDrive and others, which provide different and complimentary services, easily linked back to Google.
- House of brands: The master brand is insulated from brand extensions. House of brands “protects” brands from each other and encompasses competing brands in the same segments. For example: Unilever houses brands such as Dove, Rexona, Sunsilk, Knorr and Lipton, which all have distinctive identities and some of them even compete in the same segment.
- Endorsing brand: This is a more flexible way of placing subbrands under a master brand umbrella. Brand extensions have their own separate identities and may or may not be associated with the master brand depending on the context. Every subbrand has its own brand strategy but can use the master brand’s equity. An example is Apple with its subbrands iPad, iPhone and Apple Pay.
Why is brand architecture such a good brand strategy for growing businesses?
Because it brings these benefits to your company:
- Marketplace clarity: Brand architecture emphasizes the connection multiple brand extensions form through a consistent verbal and visual identity. This results in greater market visibility and stakeholder confidence.
- Attention-grabbing story: When multiple brands are consolidated, you are given an opportunity to tell why you have created your company, what unites these brands and what capabilities you have developed.
- Cross-selling revenue: When you are able to express the full value of every brand you own and how they complement each other, it becomes much easier to cross-sell these combined solutions to consumers.
- Inclusive culture: A compelling, unified story can serve as a rallying cry for all your employees — one that makes everyone in various business units and locations feel like they’re all fighting for the same cause.
Let’s take a detailed look into using a brand strategy to communicate with all of these segments in a way that benefits your business.
How To Use A Brand Strategy To Communicate With Leads
Leads are more likely to trust a company in the future and become loyal customers if they know what to expect from the brand.
The process of lead onboarding begins from the first contact with the customer and continues until they are able to make an informed decision about your brand and its products or services.
This may consist of detailed step-by-step instructions, tutorials, guidance and support with the aim of helping leads understand how your brand solves their pain points.
A brand strategy for communicating with leads should consist of these steps:
- Train your sales team on your brand values, including your mission and vision, brand positioning and messaging they can communicate to your leads through all available lead-capturing channels
- Ensure that external and lead-facing representatives understand and represent your brand identity
- “Train” your website chatbots to be consistent with your brand voice
Wondering how to train chatbots to use a consistent brand voice?
Check out these examples:
- Spotify: This streaming service’s Facebook Messenger bot uses a casual and friendly tone of voice to help users share music and recommend playlists based on their mood or general preferences.
- Sephora: This beauty brand’s personal assistant chatbot compliments the brand’s in-store services by using an affirming and supportive tone of voice to suggest makeup tutorials and products.
- Pizza Hut: Making it easy to order pizzas for delivery via Facebook Messenger or Twitter, this chatbot uses a conversational tone in line with the brand’s voice to provide users with current deals and ask questions about their order.
How To Use A Brand Strategy To Onboard Clients
Brand strategy and storytelling provide consistency in brand messaging.
People love consistency and are comfortable when working within a predictable environment.
When used correctly, a brand strategy is a tool that helps you create this environment and increase client trust in your brand.
In order to make sure your clients are on board with your brand mission, values and general capacities to deliver outstanding work:
- Use messaging consistent with your brand strategy: messaging in your client presentation should not differ from what your prospects and clients can find on your website, as a discrepancy can cause confusion and suspicion
- Create branded promotional materials to increase credibility, such as presentations and e-documents
- Leverage brand values to fortify an emotional connection with your audience
How To Use A Brand Strategy To Onboard Agencies & Other Service Providers
A brand strategy serves as a set of strict guidelines that align marketing efforts among all stakeholders, including specialized agency partners.
A streamlined brand voice and consistent messaging help provide a character that your stakeholders, as well as your business partners such as agencies, can relate to.
By establishing core values and building a brand identity around them, your business gains a basis for those values to shine in short-term and long-term partnerships.
Your brand’s personality, language and imagery will play a key role in allowing your agency partner to trust your ability to provide satisfactory deliverables that will improve your business performance.
To ensure this happens, the first steps to take are to:
- Schedule a dedicated kickoff call with every new service provider to guide them through your brand strategy
- Send them a copy of your brand strategy
- Monitor their output (Ex. social media calendar, PPC ads, website messaging, etc.) against your brand strategy to ensure all pieces of the puzzle move in the same direction
How To Use A Brand Strategy To Onboard Employees
Cohesive and well-defined company culture and business purpose help retain employees.
A brand strategy that creates such a working environment is also effective at onboarding new hires and helping them adapt to their roles. A brand strategy explains what the company stands for and provides guidelines for how the employees should represent the brand.
Employees are often the best brand ambassadors for:
- Creating brand buzz and brand awareness
- Driving company culture
- Recruiting new talent
- Forming a public perception of your brand
To ensure your brand strategy results in a cohesive team that understands and applies the company values and mission to their work, be sure to do the following:
- In addition to training your sales team, present an employee version of your brand strategy and make it accessible to your entire workforce
- In this internal brand strategy presentation, outline your company’s:
- Brand and company values: Why does your brand exist?
- Brand vision and mission statement: What is your brand here to do? Where does your company see itself in the context of a market and what does its future look like?
- Brand culture that includes
- Brand descriptive adjectives: What buzzwords and phrases describe what your brand is and what it isn’t?
- Sales and customer relations etiquette: What are the best practices for professional communication?
- Resources and tools of the trade: What resources can your employees use in their day-to-day operations?
Be sure to incorporate your brand presentation into your employee onboarding process. This will help you create a uniform company culture and infuse your internal and external relationships with a consistency that Forbes research has proven to be the basis of trust.
How To Employ Brand Building Strategies On Digital Channels
Gaining new customers and improving customer retention are the benefits of data-based design and effective messaging.
By defining your brand voice and positioning your brand on the market, your business is able to streamline communication via all digital channels.
In today’s digital networking environment, your brand can’t afford to ignore major networks like Facebook or Twitter. Controlling your B2B brand message and reputation is essential. Often, managing your brand, even in B2B, is done on social media.
Social media channels are an ideal solution for getting the word out about your products and services and generating brand awareness.
Let’s look at the numbers:
- Global brands spend 45-75% of their social media time on Facebook
- There are 2.1 million negative social mentions about brands in the U.S. alone, every single day
- 80% of consumers are more likely to evaluate solutions from the brands they follow on social channels
By creating a strong brand presence on social media, you can reach a much broader audience that resonates with your brand voice, imagery and offering.
A brand strategy document should provide a set of visual guidelines that include:
- Brand colors
- Context in which to use these elements to ensure visual consistency across all channels
Some of the best practices of using a brand strategy to solidify your digital presence include:
- Following the visual guidelines to a “T”
- Perpetuating the brand voice using recommended syntax, buzzwords, taglines, branded hashtags etc.
In the context of social media and platforms like Twitter and Instagram, branded hashtags can provide a unique element to your company.
They can be something simple like a hashtag version of your company name, your tagline, or the name of one of your products or campaigns. Branded hashtags may have nothing to do with your brand name but instead with your brand identity.
Brand Strategy Takeaways
Creating clear and consistent messaging for your target audience at each stage of the conversion funnel and beyond it is important because it:
- Ensures brand consistency across different channels
- Reduces investment in marketing efforts due to increased brand retention, thanks to successful messaging aimed at the right users
- Increases CTRs in search results and on-site, thanks to clearer messaging: your audience doesn’t bounce because they are not confused about your offering
- Helps build a loyal customer following
- Boosts trust in business clients and partners