Your brand encompasses the whole experience. From your unique perspective and vision, to how you communicate with your audience and how you position yourself in the market. It’s your people, your customer service and your marketing tools. And yes, it’s your logo.
The effort that goes into developing your brand from every angle is what ultimately will drive your customers to connect with you and gain their loyalty.
The misconception that branding means simply creating a snazzy new logo and popping it onto a business card and website is a mentality that probably won’t get you any closer to accomplishing your goals. Much of our work consists of disabusing people of this notion.
So, when you are creating or redeveloping your brand you must first put in all of the strategic work behind the scenes. It is not uncommon to find out the hard way that your internal ideas about your brand aren’t reflected by your target audience. By using brand strategy to inform communications and marketing, it has more potential to define your value to your audience.
When developing a brand concept, the FIRST and best step is to consider the 4 brand strategy pillars:
Brand Strategy Process
- Brand Core
- Brand Messaging
- Brand Identity
- Brand Application
1. Brand Core
Defining your purpose, vision, mission and values is central to a great brand. It helps to grow your reputation, attract new customers and helps your existing audience connect with you.
Sharing your reason for being, your motivations, and how you use those ideals to serve your customers will strengthen the foundation of your brand. It might feel unnecessary, but 9 in 10 millennials say they are more likely to purchase from a brand with a cause. According to Forbes, ‘people increasingly want to work for, buy from and invest in companies that have a mission and impact at the heart of their model.’
It’s worth being vocal about your integrity and values.
2. Brand Messaging
Once you have your brand core, you can begin to explore the perception of your brand and how your audience relates to its personality. A clear understanding of the demographic, interests and purchasing habits of your audience is fundamental to understanding how to communicate with them, and how your brand is positioned against competitors.
The tone of voice, opinions, and mood of your communications play a part in this from a brand strategy point of view. Just like a real person with a unique personality, your brand messaging will help your business stand out from the crowd by expressing your brand’s core values and mission through verbal and written communications.
A company that sells beauty products does not talk to the same public as a high-end car manufacturer. This variation has a significant impact on the brand’s tone of voice, the choice of language, and on the style of communication to be used.
By identifying your audience and what speaks to them, you increase the likelihood of gaining their trust. Maintaining a consistent brand image and messaging is important for customers to understand what the business stands for. Here’s a statistic to back that up: 77 percent of consumers buy from brands that share the same values as they do (Havas Group, 2019).
3. Brand Identity
Now we can get to the logo design! A great brand deserves a great logo and great visuals. However, it can be very tempting for businesses to want a logo that suits their personal preference. But creating a successful brand identity means paying attention to all of the insight gained in previous steps. Your brand visuals should reflect your core characteristics and, most importantly, they should always have the end-user in mind. Step outside your personal likes and dislikes and think about it from your customer’s point of view.
If you know what your brand represents inside and out, you have a framework to guide you as you make decisions about how your logo and visual identity should look. Simply having a beautiful logo does not make a brand great. Its true power comes from the relationship you build with your audience and the way in which they come to recognise your logo for what it represents.
Once you have defined your brand’s visual identity, it’s important that this should run across all channels, from your emails to your website to your social media. As a customer flicks through your platforms, they should always feel like they’re in the same space with consistent standards.
4. Brand Application
The final step to building a solid brand is ensuring the consistent application of said brand. Brand consistency is making sure that your brand values, image, and messaging are consistent across all channels. Customers appreciate it when a business has a consistent brand. In fact, consistent presentation of a brand has been seen to increase revenue by 33 percent (Lucidpress, 2019).
This extends to your people, your customer service, your products, your facilities, and consistent, proven fulfilment of your brand’s promises. If you achieve this, your audience will be more likely to have a positive perception of you, leading to loyalty and trust. When customers know your brand, they will be able to trust your brand. In fact, according to a survey, 46 percent of consumers say that they would pay more to purchase from brands they can trust (Salsify, 2022).
If you’re in the midst of branding or rebranding your business, we hope that this article gave you some food for thought. Whilst it’s tempting to dive right into the tangible, fun stuff, the benefits of doing it right and following the right process of brand strategy is hugely rewarding.
Ultimately, brand is about considering your business from every angle, from mission and vision, to your people, your customers, and every interaction anyone is ever going to have with you, no matter how small.
Whether you have a fancy new logo or not, you already have a brand. The question is whether or not it’s the right brand to help you reach your goals.
If you want some help with your brand, Journey would be delighted to work with you through this process. Get in touch to find out more.