Hey There! You made it to this blog post, so that means you are serious about figuring this Brand Strategy thing once and for all! Great job taking the first (or second or third!) step and pressing in to get your business going in the right direction. And honestly, this really is the right direction for your business! I just want to let you in on a little secret… your business is currently appearing like it has a strategy to the people who are interacting with you, because they expect that you are being intentional about what you are sharing, posting, and developing for them. Now, whether or not your audience thinks you are an organized or disorganized brand, a hobby brand, or a professional brand is all up to the effort you put into creating a clear and cohesive brand strategy. If you aren’t sure what a Brand is, read here to find out. And if you are familiar with what a brand is, then let’s really dig deep into Brand Strategy, what it is, why you need it, and how to create one for your business.
What is a Brand Strategy? So many people have different ideas! This is one of those things that would be helpful if all of the designers, business owners, and strategists in the world could sit together for a nice cup of coffee and just come up with one clear definition, man, it would make our lives so much easier! But there are some basic concepts that most people agree upon and I am going to start by listing these off and then we will look at each one individually:
A well developed Brand Strategy should have a thought-through, repeatable statement for each of these components: Why, Vision, Values, and Mission Statement. You will also want to identify your Ideal Client and Brand Voice. If you want to go even deeper within your brand strategy, you can include determining your brand’s emotional benefits, functional benefits, positioning statements, and brand promise.
Those are a lot of different pieces that are necessary to really give your brand a clear direction to move in and insight that guides your interactions with your clients and customers.
So, let’s break these down and you can see what is really necessary for having a clear strategy to communicate with your audience.
Why Statement: This is the heart behind why your brand does what it does. Is there a story for how you got started? Is there a passion for something that drives you? This statement would be repeatable for when someone asks how you started your business, or why you do what you do.
Vision Statement: Your vision statement is you set of goals that will guide the next several steps your business takes. You will set long-term goals and short-term goals. If you have a team, these will set the overarching goals that everyone is working towards and should be referred back to over and over in team meetings, and communications. You should be able to measure these goals so everyone knows if you have met them, and you should most certainly celebrate when you do meet them. Your vision statements will also give hope and fuel your drive forward in all of your mundane tasks.
Values Statement: Your values statements are shared values between you and your audience. You want to make sure that you are including values that your audience has because these are the fundamentals that will connect you to them as you move in your messaging. Your audience will instantaneously connect with you through your values and you can clearly communicate your values to your audience. These are not hidden items.
Mission Statement: Your mission statement is an explicit declaration of how your brand will meet all of its goals using your why, vision, and values. It’s a combination of all of the above into a declaration of what you stand for and how your brand will do things. You could simply start off saying: I’m on a mission to… and fill in the blank, but it is highly recommended that you integrate your values, vision, and why into your mission statement!
Ideal Client: Oh, the dreaded “niche audience” clarification… How do you even figure out who your ideal client is if you want to reach everyone? Or how do you figure out your ideal client if you have a variety of current customers and you don’t want to exclude people from your current customer base? You are technically allowed to create one to three ideal client profiles that you are marketing to, however you need to be extremely organized when it comes to segmenting and tagging in emails, blog posts, imagery, etc. so you don’t confuse your audience.
Brand Voice: This is one of my favorite parts of the Brand Strategy Process! Remember that exercise you had to do in elementary school where you got a crossword puzzle but there was a big word bank at the bottom? You weren’t left high and dry, never knowing you found all of the words, but you could cross them off one by one as you found them! To me, this is a similar process. You are creating a word bank of phrases for both you and your ideal clients that you can re-use over and over – one of my lovely friends has what we like to call a “Jess-ism” where she says “yes, yes, yes!” when she gets excited. It is totally endearing and totally her! Your general approach to speaking to your audience is important (will you be friendly? Professional? An expert? A peer? etc.), but so are specific phrases and words that your audience can come to expect to know you by. A facebook group for business women I am in has this phrase people use when they take the leap and launch their business – you post and say “I am doing it scared!”. And everyone celebrates because it is a phrase that everyone knows has so much emotion and risk behind it. What tribe-building phrases, words, or emotionally charged declarations do you have associated with your brand?
Emotional Benefits: This part of the process includes identifying what your ideal clients or customers will feel after they have interacted with your brand. Every. Single. Time. Whether they have made a purchase from you or not. How should your clients and customers feel after they have read a post of yours, looked at one of your pictures, opened an email first thing in the morning, etc?
Functional Benefits: These benefits are found after an ideal client or customer has purchased from you. What actual benefits should they get from your products or services? How is your product or service giving them a solution to a real-life problem they have been experiencing?
Positioning Statement: Your positioning statement does just that – it positions you in respect to your competitors. So you have all of these components to your brand identity, but do you have anything that directly speaks to how you are different from other businesses in your industry? This statement takes several of your other statements and combines them with a direct contrast to how others in your industry are doing it. This is not to put any other brand down, but to show how you are doing it differently. How are you gracefully distinguishing your brand from others in the industry? Can your audience accurately describe what sets you apart?
Brand Promise: Your brand promise is a culmination of your brand values, mission, communications, vision, and your business systems. These things combined enables a customer or client to see a tangible outworking of your brand promise in every interaction they have with you. If you send an email, are you living up to your brand promise? If you respond to a DM on Instagram, is it in line with your brand promise? I have been thinking about Wendy’s and their Twitter roasting with this one, because part of their brand values are family, community and joy – and the roasting is so silly and wholesome, it totally is a surprising twist with them delivering on their brand promise – I mean, who can roast celebrities and keep it wholesome? You have to love that commitment to keep it clean and wholesome when there is just so much opportunity to take advantage of roasting people!
Well, that is quite a lot of information and definitely more than several components that go into a clear and serious brand strategy to propel your business forward! So how do you actually create your own brand strategy? I have created a Brand Checklist to help you walk through the process of creating your own Brand Strategy! Now, just so we are clear, these are really some basic questions that you can begin to ask yourself, and this is not a means of creating a comprehensive Brand Strategy, but it will give you some questions that you can use as a platform to dive off of into the deep end!
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If you are looking at this list of necessary components and you are thinking you’d love to have someone help you walk through this process, that is exactly what I do! Shoot me an email at Alia@TheLegacyBrandingCo.com if you are interested in working together through your brand strategy, design and website to get your business or organization to the place you know it can go! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!