How to create your brand strategy
…and make all your business decisions easier in the process
We frequently get requests from companies asking for help with their Digital marketing, but when we ask them about their overall brand strategy, the room often goes silent. The company simply has no branding guidelines in place.
But if companies can survive without it, why is branding so important? Firstly, there are many businesses selling similar products that solve the same problem. Cheap clothing brands are a dime a dozen. Cold press juices brands are everywhere. Cloud hosting companies are flooding the market.
With all this competition, branding is the one thing that will help you stand out from the crowd. Done correctly, it builds trust and engagement, adding value to the product and tailoring your message to a specific audience. It also helps you tell your story and persuade people to try that unknown product for the first time. This is something you need even if you are a super innovative company selling a product that nobody else is.
And to be even more awesome, it makes it much easier to make business decisions.
Discover your brand strategy by asking one simple question
Whenever I’m training students or executives on branding, I always recommend that they watch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk and ask themselves “Why does my company exist?” Your answers might be something like this:
- Example A: “I want people in the UK to experience the authentic taste of Italian food, because it’s not easy to find true Italian cuisine and people are missing something.”
- Example B: “I want small and medium companies to have simple web templates, so they can showcase their work without spending lots of time or money on web development”. Smaller companies should be able to compete with big companies, even if they don’t have big-company budgets.”
Try to think about the problem that your product or service addresses, the solution you bring to the table, and how you make people’s lives better.
Focus on the Why and you will be more successful than if you merely communicate features, because the Why is always more inspiring. In the examples above you can find the same structure; they all include the target (who), the problem (what) and the solution (how) with a differentiating value to approach the problem (why). Put together the reason for your existence and you’ll have the core statement that helps you start building your brand.
Applying the Why to business decisions
The Why guides you through all your business decisions, and will be key in reaching your ideal customer. Let’s look at some examples.
Example A: Italian food company
If you are passionate about giving others the opportunity to taste true Italian, this passion can drive a lot of business decisions, for example:
- New offerings — creating an Italian food cooking school or organising ‘foodie retreats’ in Italy to taste wines that pair with meals
- Logistics — selecting ingredient providers to ensure true Italian flavours
- Recruitment — enlisting Italian employees who can share their particular energy and culture with your customers
Example B: Software company
In the second scenario, your company wants to help small/medium business owners compete fairly with big companies, but on a smaller budget. Let’s be more specific and say your company wants to expand. How does the ‘Why’ help it do this? It would give you ideas like:
- Upsell — create add-ons to the main service, like a plug-in that turns web pages into a pdf.
- New offerings — build an easy-to-use ecommerce and payment gateway that makes finances easier for small/medium businesses.
- Marketing/building customer loyalty — offer webinars or low-priced online training for your customers, to facilitate the use of the tools you’re providing.
This is how your Why brings consistency to your entire business model — it gives you a clear guiding principle that’s much more practical than simply saying ‘we want to sell Italian food’.
A little something to help you get to work
This core statement is something you can start sharing with your network straight away. If your audience finds it as inspiring as you do, you can work it into your branding to promote your company.
To really get started with branding, you need to ask yourself the Why question (and a few others.) So to help you out, we’re giving you a free download — our branding workbook. Go through the questions in the book, and you’ll be able to create your brand’s most essential concepts and make your marketing smarter. But remember, it’s hard to be objective about your own company, so it’s better not to do it all alone!
Let me know in the comments how can we help you further with your branding challenges! Or just email me at email@example.com. I’m always here to help!