Developing a Brand Strategy: What’s Your Game Plan?

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It’s not uncommon for business owners to mix up a brand strategy and a creative brief. They’re largely similar, but they differ in scope and how widely applicable the insights can be. While a creative brief can lay out a plan for a large number of marketing opportunities, only a brand strategy can encompass the needs, positions, and opportunities for your business as a whole unit. Your brand is the core of your marketing, employee relations, and customer experience all in one. So, it’s good to have a game plan when it comes to building your brand strategy. Here’s how we get started:

Step 1: Conduct an Audit

Before you can build a map to where you want to be, first you must know where you are. Once you complete a brand audit, you’ll have valuable insight into how stakeholders in your business at every level interact with your brand. And there are steps to address your brand’s past, present, and future to make informed decisions and stimulate growth:

  • revisit and evaluate your existing marketing plan
  • coalesce all of your consumer-facing documents
  • examine your website
  • analyze your social media content
  • ask for customer perception
  • reach out to comparison shoppers
  • listen to employee feedback

Step 2: Build Your Branding Internally

Once you’ve gotten a full view of where your brand stands and how to take the next step toward where you want to be, you’re going to have to get your team on board. They’re the number one touchpoint of your business for your customers! So before you present this new and improved vision of your business, you’ll need to train your team in how to conduct themselves accordingly including:

  • guidelines for visual assets and use of branded materials
  • process updates to reflect branding goals
  • updated talking points on products and services
  • an elevator pitch that reflects key brand messages
  • a focus on the type of attitude and experience presented to customers

The goal is to secure team buy-in. Ultimately, they will be the ones supporting your brand. So make sure you present it thoughtfully and give them time to interact with the changes and adjust habits before launch.

Step 3: Showcase Your Brand to the Public

Now that you’ve gotten your shiny, new racecar of a brand and trained your pit crew to keep it running, it’s finally time to show it off for the masses. Acknowledging the past of your brand while pointing to the future is what will leave the most impact. Anything less could be deemed hollow, so take the time to say why you want to reinforce these new values and how that is going to make the experience even better for customers moving forward.

Step 4: Implement Brand-Guided Marketing to Keep Growing

The core of your marketing strategy is your brand, and every decision made should extend outward from it. So, it’s likely you’ll need an overhaul not just in marketing messaging but in methods of outreach as well. Revisit all of your possibilities to consider the best for your target market and write sample messaging for each:

  • Website
  • Social Media
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Email Communications
  • Podcasting
  • Online Video
  • Referral Boosting
  • Coupons and Promotions
  • Blogging
  • Audience Segmentation
  • Direct Mail
  • Events
  • Brand Partnerships

These are the steps we use to keep our business partners from having brands that get stuck, stale or stagnant. And it all begins with a thorough brand audit. Want to learn more? Check out our guide to conducting your own brand audit to get started.

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