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How To Establish Your Brand Strategy

Brand Strategy - Feature Image (cropped)


When we talk about a “brand” in marketing, we’re talking about the unique identity of your product or company that identifies and sets you apart in the marketplace. 

This includes not only your visible brand components like your logo, fonts, colours, and design elements but also the tone of your written or spoken communications, the type of role or behaviours your company takes with your customers and other stakeholders, and the overall personality of your company and how it presents itself to the world.

A defined brand strategy allows everyone in your organization to get on the same page about what your company or product is all about and how that should be conveyed in the marketplace, and it allows you to make communications and operations decisions that are in line with your business strategy.


Why your business needs a clear brand

Some companies, especially those that are highly sales- or relationship-based, might think they don’t need to worry about branding. But, if your company is built on your reputation and the relationships you have in the marketplace, then it’s even more important that everyone on your team is working together to maintain that reputation and build those relationships in a comprehensive and consistent manner.

Some ways a clear brand strategy helps support your business include:

Differentiating yourself

Whether your company or product does something that nobody else does, or if you’re competing in a crowded marketplace, a clear and consistent brand helps your audience to recognize your company and sets you apart from the competition.

Communicating your offer

Your brand positioning helps your audience understand what you have to offer and why it matters to them. Through consistent messaging and brand personality, you communicate what value you can provide to them and why they should choose to do business with you.

Building relationships

By communicating what your company is all about through your messaging, design, and activities, you build trust with your audience and create an emotional connection that drives their decisions when it comes time to buy (even for B2B customers!).

How to develop your brand strategy

1. Start with understanding

The point of your brand strategy is to determine how your company or product presents itself to your target audience in your marketplace. So, it’s important to begin with a clear understanding of all three.

Understanding your company or your product includes knowing what you have to offer, what’s important to you, and what you want to represent. This should include not just the functional aspects of your product or service, but also what your company’s values are and why it matters. Tools like your Mission, Vision, and Values, the Strengths and Weaknesses sections of a SWOT exercise, or your company charter can help you identify what your company or product is all about.

Brand Strategy - MVV & SWOT

To understand your audience, you want to think about more than just their functional demographics like their age, income level, or job description. Think about who they are, what they want, and how you can help them. Audience research and customer interviews can help you dig into their behaviours, motivations, and pain points when it comes to your product or service. Tools like audience personas and journeys can help you map out what you know about them and how to connect with them.

Finally, understanding the broader forces at play in your marketplace helps give you a clear picture of the environment you’re operating in, so you can determine the best way to set yourself apart and communicate with your audience. This includes aspects such as competition, regulation, and societal trends that will have an impact on how you do business and connect with customers. Tools like the Opportunities and Threats from your SWOT or a Porter’s Five Forces analysis can help you understand what’s going on around your company that you need to think about.


2. Develop your brand positioning

Your brand positioning statement is a single sentence that outlines:

  1. Your target audience;
  2. The problem your company or product can solve for them;
  3. Your point of differentiation - what you do differently from your competitors;
  4. Your value proposition - how your point of differentiation solves your audience’s problem; and
  5. Your brand promise - how your value proposition makes your audience’s life better.

This single statement sums up who you’re talking to, what you can do for them, and most importantly, why they should care. 

In your marketing communications, it serves as the basis for your key messaging and brand design, and it informs your marketing channel decisions. Operationally, it can also serve as a strategic north star to decide what product or service offerings to develop, what markets to operate in, how you go to market, and how you operate with customers, partners, and other stakeholders.

So, how do you write such an important sentence?

Start with your audience. Based on your research and your audience personas, if you have them, try to sum up in one or two sentences who they are and what their main defining characteristic or motivation is that is relevant to your company or product. 

Brand Strategy - Audience

Next, consider the forces at play in the marketplace and how those impact your audience. Look for key tensions between what your audience wants and what is going on in their environment. Their main tension that your product or service can address is your problem to solve.

Brand Strategy - Problem to Solve

Once you know who you’re talking to and what problem you’re solving for them, you want to think about what your company or product provides that solves that problem, better than your competitors do. This will be a functional feature or attribute that sets you apart, and represents your point of differentiation.

Brand Strategy - Point of Differentiation

Your value proposition outlines how your point of differentiation solves your audience’s problem. How does it help them resolve that key tension? This is the value your product or service provides.

Brand Strategy - Value Proposition

And finally, why do they care? Your brand promise is the emotional benefit that your audience gets from having their problem solved. How is their life better because of your product or service? This is what truly motivates your audience and what will make them pay attention to your brand.

Brand Strategy - Brand Promise

Once you have all five components, combine them to create your brand positioning statement. It should clearly and concisely outline who your brand is talking to, the problem you solve for them, how you solve it, and why it matters to them.


Brand Strategy - Positioning Statement


Your positioning statement is an internal asset, to inform your teams about how they should communicate on behalf of your company. It isn’t your tagline, your sales pitch, or your ad copy (although all these assets will be based off of it), so don’t worry about making it cute or catchy. It should be clear, authentic, and easy to understand for everyone in your company.


3. Establish your brand personality

Just like you wouldn’t want a relationship with a person who has no personality, customers don’t want relationships with companies that have no personality, either.

A consistent, relatable, authentic brand personality helps your audiences to form an emotional bond with your company, understand what to expect from you, and build trust that helps them choose you when it’s time for them to buy.

There are lots of frameworks for determining your brand personality (archetypal branding is the one I use with clients), but the main goal is that it is a truthful representation of what your customers can expect from your company or product, that it is cohesive and understandable for your audiences, and that it can be consistently applied across all your communications touchpoints so that you can form a strong and memorable relationship with your customers.

A simple way to define your brand personality is to choose three to five descriptors or characteristics that you would want your audiences to use to describe your company or product. More specific terms are better, to help make sure everyone implementing your brand knows exactly what you want to convey. Share your brand personality with everyone who communicates on behalf of your company to help them effectively and consistently represent your brand. 

Brand Strategy - Brand Personality


How to implement your brand strategy

Once you’ve developed your brand positioning and brand personality, you want to implement them across the organization to ensure a consistent brand experience with your target audiences, employees, and other stakeholders.

Three main tools are used to convey your brand and communicate it both internally and externally:

Visual identity

Your visual identity includes all the visual elements of your brand like your logo, typography, colours, photography, iconography, and other design elements. These elements should be developed holistically to help express your brand personality and reinforce the feelings you want your audience to experience when they interact with your brand.

A graphic designer or design agency will use your brand strategy as the jumping off point to develop your visual identity, and can provide you with brand guidelines that direct your team in how to use your brand assets effectively.


Marketing Audit - Brand Guidelines

Brand guidelines outline your brand's purpose, positioning, and how it should be represented in the marketplace.


Key messages, tone, and voice

Similar to the way your visual identity communicates your brand visually, your key messages, tone, and voice communicate your brand through words. These elements tell anyone communicating on behalf of your brand what they should talk about and how they should talk about it, to make sure your audience gets the information they need with the experience of your brand that you want.

These can be developed by a brand strategist (like me) or a content strategist, and just like your graphic designer they can provide you with implementation guidelines for use by anyone in your company, including marketing, sales, and customer service.

Processes and operations

Finally, the way you do the work day-to-day will directly impact the way your teams interact with customers and stakeholders, and how they experience your company and products. 

Consider how your internal processes and operations are aligned to the brand value and personality you want to represent, and what you can do to help your teams effectively represent your brand. For example, if your brand is all about teamwork, make sure your teams are collaborating regularly and not operating in silos. If you’re all about efficiency, make sure you have streamlined execution processes that don’t leave your teams going round in circles. 

Aligning your operations and processes to your brand personality and values will help your teams live your brand, and allow your customers to experience your company at its best.


How a marketing strategist can help

Don't know where to start? A marketing strategist like me can help. 

I’ve helped develop dozens of brands across industries like agriculture, energy, food and food service, industrial services, manufacturing, travel and tourism, and others. My fine-tuned toolkit and deep expertise can help you build a brand that stands out from your competitors and connects with your customers.

I also offer additional services like market and audience research to help you understand your audience and marketplace, as well as fractional marketing strategy and management services to help you with the planning and implementation of your brand within your organization. Get in touch if you’d like to learn more!


Make your customer experience matter

A strong brand positioning and personality allows you to connect with your target audience and stand out in a competitive market. 

By understanding your company, audience, and marketplace; defining your brand positioning statement; and establishing your brand personality, you can create a clear and authentic brand identity that helps you build relationships with your customers. 

Implementing your brand strategy through visual identity, key messages, tone, voice, and operational processes will help your team deliver a consistent and meaningful experience through every interaction they have with your customers and other audiences. 

Remember, your brand is more than just a logo - it's the essence of your company or product. Embrace it and communicate it effectively to drive lasting customer relationships and results for your business.