A brand strategy looks out for your relationship with your customers. It helps you make smarter choices.
Before we dig in to all the great benefits of a brand strategy, let’s look at what we actually mean by “strategy”. Most businesses are familiar with the concept of planning for the future. You might make a business plan, decide how many stores you are going to have and set goals for revenue and investments. All these things help you make smarter choices since you can weigh pros and cons before taking action. The same goes for a brand strategy but rather than pure investment, it looks at your relationship with your customers. An effective brand needs to be much more than a nice looking image, it is the way your company is perceived. The way you are seen is shaped by what you choose to present, the experience people have with your company and how you have positioned yourself as different to your competitors. It is only once you have all the necessary information that you can create the roadmap forward that is your brand strategy. If this sounds useful to your business, check out the previous post we wrote about our step by step process to creating a brand strategy. Now let’s dig in to the benefits of having a brand strategy.
People like habits and consistency. That is one of the biggest reasons having a clear strategy will help you build trust with potential and existing customers. We are seeing big changes in what consumers care about when they make a purchase and causes such as sustainability are quickly rising to the top of the list. 73% of Millenials and 66% in general say that they would pay more for a brand that shows dedication to sustainability. With this transformation, most people are also aware of Greenwashing and other unethical tactics some companies use to appear in a more favourable light while not actually contributing to better choices. This has put more pressure on companies and organisations to be extra clear and transparent with their goals. Not saying anything can be misunderstood as being evasive which is never good for a brand.
A brand strategy will help you understand exactly what your customers want and where to find them. By knowing this, you can focus your marketing in key areas and present it in a genuine and helpful way. Traditional advertising is becoming less effective and instead we see a clear trend towards collaboration, community building and influencer marketing to build trust.
All these strategies take more work than setting up an ad but they build a relationship with the customer which will lead to trust and often a lot more repeat business and referrals. Most importantly, knowing what will resonate with the people you want to reach will save you a lot of time and money.
When you can take a step back and see things that your competitors have missed, it is a great opportunity to plan for bigger goals over time. An important part of creating a brand strategy is to figure out where your company fits in to the market. New companies might feel like they do not have any competitors but this is almost never true. Even if no one is tackling exactly the same problem as you, you still need to consider alternative fixes and ways people can spend their money. For example, if you have an app matching dog walkers with pup owners and no other company has an app, people might still choose to pay their neighbour to walk their dog. By knowing how people think and what is already out there, you can better address concerns early and move on to more complex ideas and goals. Don’t get stuck at customer acquisition.
Knowing more means you can take more risks without, well…risking too much. If you are not aware of your customers motivations, your competitors and how you are already perceived, any decision you make could have a negative effect on your business without you knowing why. Having all the cards on the table means you can quickly test ideas before you launch them and see them in the larger framework of your long term strategy. A great example is Nokia. For a very long time, Nokia was known as the indestructible brand, with their 3310 phones surviving extreme conditions like liquid Nitrogen. As the market started changing and moving more towards smartphones, Nokia felt they had to keep up and launched the Nokia N-Gage phone; a game console, Mp3 player and phone all in one. The problem, this was not at all what their customers wanted and it was not their expertise. The N-Gage was seen as a failure and the brand image took a toll. Had Nokia considered their customers and what strengths they had over competitors, they might have focused on other strengths like durability and battery life that other brands often get criticism for.
We can put a lot of time and effort in to creating the most appropriate and beautiful brand, but no one will know about your business unless you spend just as much effort telling people about it.
Start by thinking about the interests and values of your customers. Where can you find them? Maybe it is on a social media platform or maybe it is a parenting group that meet once a week. Once you know where to find your customers, find a way to help them out in a way that lets them know about your business without making it a sales pitch. Perhaps you can host a talk, create a free guide or offer a consultation to start creating connections with people.
Be smart about the number of social media platforms you join, it is much better to be engaged and grow one following than posting on every platform but not talking to your fans.