It is fair to say that there’s some confusion in the marketplace when it comes to defining what branding really means. Most businesses think of branding as merely choosing a logo, a tagline, color palette, and typography. But the truth is, there are a lot more elements that go into planning and building a brand and that means having a brand strategy.
Your brand communicates what your business stands for, what your goals are, and what you offer to your audience. Your logo, graphics, and chosen color palette are the visual aspect of your branding. The messaging you publish online or through reading materials and the causes you stand for comprises your brand’s voice. Even the products or services you choose to provide can contribute to your business branding.
To build a powerful brand, you must create a great experience that will leave a lasting impression on your customers. It is a set of stories, expectations, and relationships that influence a consumer’s decision to choose your products or services over your competitors. And this is the reason why you need to take branding seriously.
You need a coordinated, well-planned brand strategy so all the pieces work together and consistently reinforce your customer’s perception. And we’re here to help.
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to developing a brand strategy.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy
- Create your brand foundation
- Define your brand pillars
- Define your personality
- Write your story
- Develop your visual brand
- Create a style guide
Create your brand foundation
When developing a brand strategy, you have to start at the beginning by defining your brand type and value proposition. This will guide you in making the right decisions throughout.
Determine your brand type means identifying which category your business falls under. There are four (4) brand type categories: organizational, personal, product/services, or idea. As most of these categories overlap, understanding their differences can definitely help.
For example, let’s take a look at the kinds of brands Pepsi might need.
- Organizational Brand – Pepsi Cola
- Product/Services – A wide range of beverages
- Idea Brand – Pepsi’s thirst-quenching, eco-friendly, healthy drink options
All these brands work together and support the experience as a whole.
Value proposition, on the other hand, is your key selling point. It’s what makes you unique and stand out in the marketplace. It could be tempting to choose more than one but the best brands tend to focus on one type of value.
There are three primary types of value proposition:
- Product/Service Excellence – You offer the best products and services because of your innovation and authoritativeness in the industry.
- Operational Excellence – You can deliver your product/service at a lower cost compared to competitors due to better manufacturing processes.
- Relationship Excellence – You solve your customers’ problems. You’re selling a relationship with customized solutions that satisfies their needs.
Define your brand pillars
Brand is an ‘experience’. Experiences are driven by emotion. By identifying your brand’s benefits, you can now focus on planning how to create an emotional impact. Once you know which of your benefits has the most impact, you now have your brand pillars.
However, do note that benefits are not the same as features. A feature is what your products/services do while a benefit is a positive result that the feature delivers. Benefits can be functional or emotional. Functional benefits are directly related to the functionality of the feature. Emotional benefits, on the other hand, satisfy the user’s feelings.
Create a list of your brand’s features then identify its functional and emotional benefits. Identify your strongest features and benefits. These will make up your brand pillars. It’s often helpful to hire a branding agency like Public Advertising Agency for a neutral perspective. It’s also important to seek feedback from your prospective customers.
Define your personality
People relate to people. If your brand was a human being, how would they look like, sound like, or act like? Personality is a key factor in having a powerful brand.
Do this exercise: list down five human traits that describe the way you want your customers to view your brand. These traits will be your brand personality. Make sure it’s consistent with your brand’s value proposition and your emotional benefits.
Write your story
Your story begins with your brand promise. A brand promise is a value your customers can expect to receive every single time they interact with that company. By being able to deliver that promise, the stronger your brand’s value will be in the mind of your customers and employees.
Next on your list is to create a brand positioning statement. Your brand positioning statement should reflect the essence of your brand. Having a positioning strategy puts clarity in other aspects of your marketing.
Your brand positioning statement should contain:
- Your name
- What you do
- For whom
- Main reason why your customers buy from you
Once you have these two, you can start writing your story. Brand storytelling should evoke emotions within your audience to establish a relationship. Your brand story should:
- Build your credibility
- Make you stand out in the market
- Show your brand’s personality
- Communicate your purpose on an emotional level
- Help customers understand why they should listen to you
If you’re not a writer, this can get a bit challenging. List down bullet points for each area and hire a branding agency like Public Advertising Agency. We can help you hit the right note in a precise, compelling way.
Develop your visual brand
There are three important elements you should consider in developing your brand’s visuals:
- Relevance – Your visuals should support your brand strategy and promise.
- Quality – Focus on quality. Your visuals should be professionally designed and look professional.
- Consistency – Your brand’s visuals should be consistent at all customer touchpoints.
Incorporating these elements in your creation process will help better reinforce your positioning and brand experience.
There are three basic components in brand visuals: colors, logo, and font.
Your brand logo is important as it grabs attention and makes a strong first impression. It should be unique, noticeable, and impactful.
A great logo should have the following attributes:
- It follows basic design principles like color, consistency, and clarity.
- It’s functional and flexible. It should be easy to use in different backgrounds and surfaces.
- It should represent your product or service.
- It’s unique in your industry.
Color increases brand recognition and there’s psychological reasoning as to why marketers choose certain colors. For example, red is associated with passion and urgency, blue is often linked to calmness, and black represents power and luxury.
Choose a color palette that supports your personality and theme. This is another opportunity to reinforce who you are and a way to differentiate yourself from competitors.
The first thing you need to do is to decide whether to use a serif or sans serif font. Serif fonts are classic fonts that look like they were written using a calligraphy pen while sans serif is simple and has less variation. If you’re looking into a much more serious tone, you should go with sans serif. If you’re feeling a more casual vibe, serif is a better option.
Create a Style Guide
Once you’ve developed your brand’s visual identity, you want to establish consistency in using them. A brand style guide is your key document that helps content creators communicate a consistent message to your public.
Here’s what it should contain:
- Brand Personality
- Brand Value Proposition
- Brand Positioning Statement
- Brand Pillars
- Logo (with dimensions and examples of use)
- Typography and fonts
- Specific colors (with Pantone, RGB, HEX identified)
Your brand style guide communicates your design standards to your team.
Need help with developing a brand strategy? Public Advertising Agency provides top-notch branding solutions for small to mid-sized businesses from website to print collaterals. Call us and schedule your consultation!