How to identify brand strategy in a world of strategies.
You hear the word strategy tossed around from assessment strategy, business strategy, financial strategy, social media strategy, to sales strategy, and many more. It feels like strategy has become the new mot à la mode (buzzword), inconspicuously finding its way in all aspects of business and consumerism. So we ask the somewhat rhetorical question, is it overused? Has it lost its value?
This got me thinking about my clients’ preconceived perceptions of brand strategy. With the word floating around in a ubiquitous mingled world of strategies left and right, how can we come together to build a brand that works for your consumer? Recently, one of our clients realized that they weren’t truly listening to one another, although they communicated every day. They didn’t have a unified goal within their conversation. This company needed a strategy and liaison to help guide them as a plan behind their conversation. We worked together, focusing on what their consumers needed out of their marque (brand), helping them listen to unify their thoughts to create and implement the brand on a solid foundation.
Whether you’re starting a new company, launching a new product, or pivoting on the direction you’re headed, you need a deliberate brand strategy. With the age of everything instantly at our fingertips, the same goes for retour d’information (feedback) and analytics. If your audience doesn’t like something or it does not meet their needs, you’ll quickly see it on your Google reviews, website traffic, customer service emails, and sales. So what do you do about it, and how can you resolve these issues? Guessing is expensive. Stop wasting money with guessing—Plan where you want to go. You’ll want to set yourself up for success and focus on your audience’s needs instead of your own bias. Creating allies for your brand by way of your consumers. These are the questions you should be asking yourself for a winning brand strategy.
- What do you think a brand is?
We’ll give you a hint here. A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a corporate identity. A brand is not a product or service. In the words of Marty Neumeier, the famous branding expert who helped brands such as Apple, Adobe, and Google, to name a few, “A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product or service.”
It comes down to your reputation; your brand is the meaning people have of your product or services in their minds.
- Who is your audience? Demographics? Likes? Dislikes? What brands do they follow? How do they consume? How will you fit in their lives? What change or transformation does your product or service bring into their lives?
- Do you have a unified vision and mission within your company, with people in each department working towards the same goal and mission? Miss alignment of leadership and/or employees can become very costly. Is everyone working for the same goals? The larger the company, the more complex this can be.
- How do you implement your brand strategy? Are your products and services in line with your company purpose? Is your purpose clear to everyone inside and outside of the company? Are you truly delivering a solution to your consumers? Is your messaging and look & feel consistent throughout all touchpoints from website, packaging, advertising, social media to your customer service and much more.
- Does your branding help or hinder your marketing plan? Are you putting your marketing efforts and investments in the right channels? Have you succeeded in transforming your customers into advocates?
Once you’ve started asking yourself these important questions, you’ll be one step closer to reaching your audience in a meaningful way and mattering in your market segment. Strategy might be a buzzword at this moment, but it is necessary to build anything with depth and research. In turn, anticipating instead of reacting, and thriving instead of surviving. At Carte Blanche, we know it’s never too late to define a brand; markets and consumers evolve, so should your company and brand.