Brand strategy is about the way you look and the voice you use to talk to your customers. Your brand lets customers know what you are about and what they can expect from you in an instant. A great business name and an eye-catching logo can really make a business stand out from the crowd so that it will win customers. But your brand is about so much more than just a logo.
Brands have evolved over the years. I visited the Museum of Brands recently. I loved wandering through the Time Tunnel to see the history of consumer culture and how brands have developed since the Victorian era. www.museumofbrands.com
“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
Developing a brand strategy
I am an advocate for planning and this applies to developing your brand, as much as any other aspect of your business. A good brand will let customers know why you are different, why they should choose you. It is all about being known for what you do.
Think about your favourite brands for a moment. Who are the brands you are loyal to? What is it that draws you to a brand? Are they good value for money, trendy, good for the environment, fast, reliable or just delivering really tasty food?
The 3 most important elements of your brand strategy are:
- Brand proposition – what you do
- Brand Purpose – why you do it
- Brand Values – how you do it
Your offer – What is it you offer? What is your USP (unique selling point), that thing that no one else does quite like you? What defines your product or service and makes it stand out from the others?
The Benefits – for example, if you make pens. One of the features is that they have lids. The advantage of that is that the ink won’t dry out and therefore the benefit is you will be able to go on writing for longer. What is unique about the product or service you provide?
Your Target Market – Consider who they are so that you can understand what they like and want? Make sure your brand is appealing to your target market and be clear on your business goals and strategy so you can focus on what your product or service gives your customers.
The 3D-VA Brand Proposition: Virtual Assistant business support, working with clients on customer engagement, process efficiency and data analysis.
Why do you do what you do? A brand purpose could also be referred to as a mission or vision statement. All businesses know what they do, and most know how they do it, but many have never taken time to define why they do what they do. It’s why you get out of bed in the morning. It’s why you are driven to succeed and why anyone should care? As Simon Sinek says in his book ‘Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action’, “in business it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it.”
Here are some examples:
John Lewis “The happiness of all our members, through their worthwhile, satisfying employment in a successful business.”
Amazon “To be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
Ted.com “Spread ideas”
Tesla “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
You will notice that these statements are not about their specific products or services but their goals and aspirations. Typically, a purpose statement will not be a goal that has an end, it is something to constantly strive towards. Once you understand your purpose, then business decisions become easier to make. With every decision you make, challenge yourself so that you know it is moving you towards your purpose?
The 3D-VA Brand Purpose: Giving you time to grow your business and do what you love.
Your values are the things that are important to you, the things you stand for. What qualities do you want your brand to be associated with? Reliability, fashionable, durable, Innovation, a sense of humour? Are you a high-quality or low-cost solution, think premium brand product versus supermarket own. People trust a brand that is known and respected and they will often pay more for that reputation.
Think about what qualities you want your customers to associate with your company. What makes you different from the competition? What personality do you want to show? Do you have any testimonials for your previous work? Look at the wording past clients use about you, does it resonate with how you see your brand?
Always remember, action speaks louder than words. A brand can have the value of “trust” but if they let down their customers it’s meaningless.
Knowing your values will help you make business decisions. Imagine that in order to meet a deadline you had to cut quality. Would you? Well that will depend on your values. If your greatest value is dependability you might be prepared to do it. If your greatest value was quality, you might not. There is no right or wrong here, it is up to you to decide what you stand for. If you want everything you do to be top quality, you may have to quote longer lead times to allow for some contingency.
The 3D-VA Values: Dedicated.Detailed.Dependable
Once you have defined your brand, think about how you translate that into actions that are visible to your customers. This is what will ultimately define your brand, not the words on your website.
Always be consistent in your approach so that your brand has a strong sense of personality. Be sure to use the same colours, font, wording, etcetera to reinforce your brand. Create brand standards and be sure to use them with your marketing material. Document templates can be created so that each time you write something new it is already formatted with your brand style, fonts and colours. You may also want to take a look at my recent blog on powerful presentations. If you want help with creating PowerPoint, Word or Excel templates, Contact me.
Finally, when thinking about developing your brand, you enjoy this fantastic short video – Why you should START WITH WHY by Simon Sinek