What’s in a Brand Strategy
I worry about entrepreneurs paying to “be branded,” without knowing what they are paying for. Branding has so many different components, some far more tangible than others. To further complicate things, there’s no standard for branding and all it entails. When you hire an accountant to keep your books, you mostly get the same thing regardless of which accountant you hire. When you hire a designer to design a flier, you have clear expectations of what the outcome will be. But when you hire a branding expert, she could be an expert in brand strategy, brand story, brand messaging or the visual design of a brand. While all of these components of branding should be intertwined, it’s important to know what you need so you can hire the kind of branding expert who can deliver.
This is why I started this series on branding and its many components.
Brand strategy is the climax of the series. If done correctly, brand strategy gives you a clear picture of how your brand’s story, your brand’s message, and your brand’s visual identity can be put into action to make your future clients fall in love with you.
Different agencies and different experts put different components into their brand strategies. At Kiss Me Creative we work primarily with personal brands. Our clients are usually running their biz show solo and our goal with their brand strategy is to keep things simple enough for them to be able to execute the strategy on their own.
With that being said, here are the main components of our brand strategy:
Who you are
Because we work with personal brands, we dig into our clients’ greatest strengths—the aspirational things about you. This includes the parts of your personality which deeply impact your business—your passion for service, your heart for vulnerability, your talent for written communication. It also includes lighter facets of your personality—how edgy or flirty or classic you are.
Building a brand is about showcasing the most attractive parts of yourself, your story and your business.
Building a brand is an emotional job.
We grow enamored with brands not because of logical, measurable factors like quality and price. We grow enamored with brands because buying from them tells the world something about who we are.
As you design your brand, you have to identify what it is you bring to the table and what it says about the people who buy from you.
In order to do this effective, you have to dig into the psyche of those potential clients, which leads me to the second piece of brand strategy.
Who you serve
Everything you do as a brand is worthless if it’s not perceived the way you intend for it to be perceived by the people whom you want to receive it.
To make that happen, you have to know your ideal client (or crush-worthy client as we call them at Kiss Me Creative). You have to know what keeps her up at night and how she loves to spend her time and money. You have to know her greatest strengths, her deepest insecurities, and her wildest dreams.
Sure, the standard age, sex, socioeconomic status information can be useful and it tells you something about how they see the world, but if you want to know what they want people to think of them and how buying from your brand will cater to the perception they want to create of themselves, you have to dig deeper than data points.
How you serve
You have to be able to put words around what you do for your crush-worthy client. If you cannot tell people what you do, it doesn’t matter how drawn to you they are, they won’t be able to logically justify the emotional decision to buy from you, so they won’t.
This seems straight forward enough, but in a service-based economy where entrepreneurs are getting more and more creative with what they do and how they do it, new concepts are constantly emerging.
If your crush-worthy client has never heard of what you do before, you better be damn good at explaining it.
And if your crush-worthy client has heard of what you do, because she has something to compare it to, you better be damn good at explaining why she should buy from you and not someone else who does the same thing.
Why you serve
This is your purpose. What you do is a vehicle for accomplishing this purpose. It’s a deeply-rooted belief you have about the world and the good you’re doing in it and it permeates every aspect of your business.
It’s important to note purpose and passion are not one in the same.
Passion is fleeting. Purpose is a goal you’re in for the long haul. And when it comes to creating effective brand strategy your purpose must align with and validate the way your crush-worthy client sees the world.
These components are just part one of your brand strategy. Once you have them down, the question becomes, how can you use what you know in tangible ways to market your business.
Laura Diaz is the CEO and Senior Strategist at Kiss Me Creative where they make client love all day long. Her super powers are efficiency, follow through and creativity based on sound logic. She enjoys long sips of coffee and short lines at Starbucks.