You might think you understand the core of strategic branding, but before diving into explanations, we want to make sure we are on the same page about what a strategy is.
Strategy is a plan you follow to achieve a certain goal. The main thing about following that plan is not how to do it, but what you want to win in the end. The main star in every strategy is the outcome.
Making-up strategies are what we do our whole lives. As children, we were making plans on how to eat chocolate before dinner without being caught. When we became teenagers, our most desired goal was to go to that party with our friends without our parents finding out. As adults, the goal got bigger and the strategies more complicated.
With branding, it is the same. We need to make strategies because otherwise there is a huge chance (if not even the only option) to kill our business before it starts.
Every strategy requires a lot of thinking, effort, ideas and when it comes to branding strategies. Help from other people, because alone it is quite hard to create a plan that would have a huge success among all types of people.
Branding means so much for a business!
Managing a brand includes in itself so many things to do. Have a strong brand voice, deliver a powerful message, maintain customer loyalty, narrate a catching story, and be consistent across various channels.
Things could go all over the place and everything might fall apart. Your logo does not correspond with your brand name, the storytelling has nothing to do with the different brand assets, the company’s values and activities are dissimilar. So many options for what might go wrong.
However, if you have a good branding strategy and keep on track with it, you won’t need to worry. When it comes to the strategic branding part of brand management, this is the perfect option to look at the long-term aspect of managing every process in your company.
But what does strategic branding mean?
Maybe we took things too straight away, too quickly. Let us take our time to see what a brand is, what branding is, and why it is so important to follow a strategy.
First of all – brand and branding are two different things. Branding is the process of shaping your brand and building a strong brand personality that includes name, logo design, website, brand assets, etc.
The brand is the result of the process. That special feeling and perception people have towards your business. Branding is the actions you take to create that brand and cultivate it.
Thanks to the influence of strategic branding, you stand out among other competitors in your industry. Take people’s attention, win their loyalty and trust, and derive special emotions to engage them long-term.
Branding is beyond all practical things because its main goal is to get emotional attention. To provoke feelings with every component of brand identity.
You sell perfumes. You must look at the practical things too, of course – is it a strong masculine smell, or a delightful rose scent for example? Nonetheless, mostly you need to sell emotions with fragrances – femininity and tenderness, lust and passion, strength and confidence.
When your branding strategy is nicely done, when a woman purchases your new light summer perfume, she must receive not only the exquisite bottle (this is part of the branding elements too) but a feeling. A few even. When she wears it, she should feel delicate, beautiful, astonishing, and blooming like the flowers captured inside.
Do you get the point? The heavy tobacco smell is the same, but the feelings you are buying are luxurious, serious, captivating, redoubtable, attractive, etc. With fragrances, you always buy emotions, because it’s so appealing to change personalities with just one scent.
This is the power and the influence of branding – making your audience experience things. People tend to get attached to experiences and if they like the way, you make them feel they’ll become loyal and even transform into brand ambassadors.
Most of the brands out there rely only on visuals, forgetting about strategic branding. We are referring to the visual elements customers see – logo design, website, etc. and they forget that they need a direction too.
If there is no goal at the end you are aiming for, where are you going?
With visual branding only, you attract but you don’t engage. People engage in stories, coherence, and emotions. Not for visuals only. They should be paired with a strategy.
What are branding strategies?
We have already said that a branding strategy is a long-term plan considering the development of your brand to achieve specific goals. The more well-defined the plan, the easier would be the execution of the strategy.
This means – what is the goal of your strategy, what are you aiming for? More sales, new customers, brand awareness or if you are launching a new product – when you decide what you want to win in the end, you start thinking about the plan.
But before talking about the different types of strategic branding, we must clarify what the elements of branding strategies are.
- Internal Branding – this is the branding personality that gives your brand a soul. Every core component like values, promises, beliefs is a part of the internal branding.
- Audience Persona – those are the customers you are targeting in your strategy. The profile of the audience persona is pretty detailed. The information starts from demographics (such as gender, age, etc.) and physical data and goes to emotional connections.
- Human Brand Persona – this is the image of your brand. When a business gets humanized it is easier for the audience to resonate, because there are real human connections. It is one of the basics of branding.
- Competitive Analysis – This is an analysis of the competitors in your industry and what options they provide for the customers. How do they reach people, what are their weaknesses and strengths, is there something the customers are missing?
- Differentiation Analysis – this is a very important part of the overall branding strategy because it aims to differentiate your brand from others, by providing something new or doing something familiar but in a new way. A differentiation analysis keeps you diverse from the other businesses on the market.
- Voice – usually is important not only what you say, but also how you say it. Both with people and brands. When you decide which is the tone of your brand voice you can continue in one direction – friendly, professional, fun, etc.
- Brand identity – we have talked about what brand identity is so many times. Those are all the visual branding elements surrounding your company. Humans remember very easily with their eyes, so this is a very important point of branding as a whole.
- Slogan – those catchy phrases play a big role. They can explain the core position of your brand very easily and solidify it in the minds of your audience.
- Core Message Framework – the main message your brand wants to deliver, containing in itself all the key elements the targeted and already loyal customers need to understand about your business.
- Storytelling Framework – people tend to remember stories much more than simple facts. Compelling, strong, and realistic branding storytelling is a key to success and winning over the hearts of the customers because it makes them relate and connect on a deeper level.
Branding communicates your brand personality to the world and makes people fall in love not only with your products but with the idea behind them too.
It is something so special to have a strong story behind what you do – it gives everything a sense and it provokes so many feelings and emotions. The influence of branding is enormous and with a good branding strategy that you follow step by step, you can easily achieve your goals.
Different types of branding strategies for different types of businesses
There are a few different types of strategic branding you may rely on, depending on what your business is, your goals, targeted audience, etc. Let’s quickly see four of them in more detail, before saying with a few words how to select a branding strategy at all.
As you might suggest, that type of branding is for when you are branding a single person and not a whole company. Every leader, celebrity, politician, etc. is a brand on his own – he works on his brand personality as if he were a project. He is building a public persona.
People like this must follow a branding strategy and be consistent. Otherwise, when we are talking about a real-life person it is harder because he has a personality on his own. Without a strategy, it would be almost impossible.
One of the most popular strategic branding types focuses on one single product. It could be new about something new you’re launching or you want to make an old one popular again – it doesn’t matter. The goal here is awareness of a product, making it different and recognizable, and reaching an accurate audience.
Here we’re talking about color palettes, fonts, marketing material – all that communicates the right values you want to imprint.
Branding services is harder than products because you have to go beyond the visuals. Strategies like this leverage the needs of the clients. Businesses try to use great customer service and, by that, provide value and engagement.
With a strategy like this, you are communicating your vision, mission, and promises. It includes the core values and the philosophy with which you present your business to the world and your team.
Of course, you can have a few branding strategies going, like one for a new product launch and another to build better brand awareness.
The most important thing is to identify your brand identity. What are your long-term goals, values, and mission? How do you speak to people, how do you want to be known in your industry, what makes you better than the rest, what is the visual appearance you aim for.
After that – define your audience. Which people do you want to reach, what they are interested in, what their demographics are. If there are already customers familiar with your business, what is their opinion, and how to make them loyal?
Research the competitors in your industry. We have mentioned this numerous times, but it is so important – if you don’t know what others are doing, what can you do to stand out? With a good competitive and differentiation analysis, you will be good to go and choose a branding strategy.
When you determine your end goal, you are ready to choose the perfect branding strategy to achieve it. However, you cannot do it on your own. Behind a successful brand, there is always a team of experts.
Why leave your branding strategies to a professional?
Like with everything, an expert knows best how to gain success with a branding strategy. If you decide to do it by yourself, there are too many things that can go wrong – from planning through execution until the end goal and it could ruin the influence of branding at all.
In the end, you might waste more money than you could, not reach the right audience or even lose your loyal customers. So don’t think twice before contacting an agency.
We recommend you to count all marketing-related projects to a team of experts because, no matter whether online or offline, it is a pretty hard job that requires a bunch of skills, knowledge, following trends, etc.
As we have said numerous times – strategic branding is hard because when it’s not something you do for a living, you don’t know how to connect the dots. How to achieve the goals you aim for. A professional knows that – from the beginning till the end.
They know what your competitors are doing and how they do it, so don’t underestimate the power of an expert. If you want to know how we can help you with the branding strategy or any part of your marketing plans, please fill in the form at the end of the article and we will answer you as soon as possible. Make you fall in love with our team and the job each of them does is something we can do with the blink of an eye.