Let’s clarify the biggest misunderstanding on brand strategizing. The product’s logo, website, or name is not your brand. Yes, your brand is not what you think it is—it’s really the elusive stuff that will attract your brand. People buy on a passion that makes them feel emotions, not on the logic of your brand. A branding strategy is a crucial component in competing with other companies as it keeps you organized throughout the whole process. It helps you set goals and expectations, keeping your organization going in the same direction. Here’s a few steps to a comprehensive brand strategy that will secure your company without hesitations in today’s marketing world:
- Evaluate Look at what you already have in your guidelines—what to develop and what to improve. (If you don’t have one, you can work from the beginning).
- Purpose Before you can set up your brand strategy, you need to know where your desire is.
- Identify Are you original and intrinsic in your consistency?
- Emotion People buy emotions, but rarely buy your logic of the company.
- Flexibility Can it be contextual and positional?
Let’s start with the basics. Does Your Guideline Include:
- Company Summary—Who are you?
- Audience Value—What important value do you promise your customers?
- Logo—Anyone can design a logo, but is it versatile and original?
- Fonts—What font do you use for your company and how is it used?
- Colors—Do you have a color scheme for your company?
- Photos/Illustrations—What is your photography and illustration style?
- Tone of Voice—What does your company sound like?
- Stationary—Do you have letterheads, business cards, and envelopes?
- Presentations—Do you have presentation template layouts?
- Product—What products do you sell and how do they look?
- Website—What is the purpose of your website?
If there’s missing information in your guideline, then it’s better to complete it—the more clear it is now, the less confusion you will have in the end. Whatever you are thinking in your head, write it down because it’s better than staying in your head where no one can read it. Think of communication channels where your company can grow, like social media sites.
You should think strongly on how to focus on a realistic goal. What are the goals and targets you are aiming for? What kind of amazing product or service can you offer? What do you offer that customers will care about and change their lives for the better? Can you provide evidence and understand concerns?
For the company Honest Tea, they focus on being natural and have a mission to promote organic and healthier drinks. So while money is the main concern, just focusing on that will not set you apart from other companies. Our advice is to dig deeper and find an inspiration. Then you could create your strategy. A positive attitude is also a must to thrive.
An identity is a reflection of your brand. It gives personality and is very powerful. Identities are straightforward yet enlightened because people will not always be rational. We don’t want to lose strategic focus on the purpose, so thinking about the intangibles for your products or service to differentiate them from other companies would be great to set you apart from other brands. Powerful taglines are the best way to keep it simple and effortless to understand and make an impression. It should be feasible, executable, distinctive, and credible. Honest Tea begins with a simple line stating that their tea is real, pure, and contains no artificial chemicals. This speaks to the audience, stating that the ingredients are all natural, with nothing hard to pronounce.
Emotion is a very important concept because it makes the customer feel that they are winners and a part of the company. We can do this by building our personality, but unfortunately, how you “value” your customers only from persona is just talk. Why? People prefer relationships. Psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary introduce this as the “belongingness hypothesis”, which states, "people have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to others, and that caring, affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behavior."
We don’t need an Honest Tea, but we do need to feel refreshed without drinking harmful chemicals.
So what can you do? Think of a way to connect with customers on a heartfelt, wholehearted level. Feelings of love and affection have a huge impact on human needs. Can you make their life easier? Make them feel part of the family? How can you reveal that you are about what you are? Dig deeper and you’ll achieve your brand’s promise to satisfy the people you serve with a good turn and a helping hand.
There are plenty of marketing channels out there and each of them have unique audiences and even their own language. So if you have some marketing channels, you should ask yourself these questions:
What is the brand tone you want to use? If you have a brand voice with different platforms, then you can change it to reach different audiences.
Do you want to include imagery? If so, think of what audiences use the platform, and transition your imagery guidelines. Amplify Your Brand’s Possibilities With Social Media:
70% of Tumblr’s audience is between the ages of 16 and 34 —Statista
70% of Instagram users come from outside the U.S. —Hootsuite
71% of Pinterest’s 72.5 million users are women —Search Engine Land
80% of users access Twitter via their mobile device —EngageSciences Marketing
Here’s an example of how a food company can evolve their guidelines for Instagram:
Tone Imagery Brand Additions
- What tone should I be using on this channel? The tone should be more lighthearted and less sales-focused on Instagram. Since it’s an image/photo journal platform, overly promotional items seem out of place.
- What type of imagery resonates with this channel? We will take our photo style and skew it a bit to be more artistic and beauty-based than normal. Inspirational quotes seem to be the norm, so we will also develop a template for a series of inspirational quotes that align with our brand voice.
- What additional sections or brand elements do I need for this channel? We’ll need our logo formatted to use on Instagram, along with a bio. We’ll need to outline what filters are allowed, image style and dimensions, plus a list of approved hashtags.