The Secrets Behind a Successful Brand Strategy
Do you feel like you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall when it comes to your business? Like, you’re always trying some new and shiny marketing tactic, re-doing your Instagram graphics in Canva, or constantly running into writer’s block when it’s time to write a newsletter? You’re getting a bit of traction, but you keep waiting for that elusive moment where your brand really “takes off”.
As fun as it can be to get your feet wet in the “next best thing” that’s going to launch your business into success, there’s one thing that is completely underrated when it comes to actually building a brand that has ongoing, healthy growth: consistency.
Your ideal audience NEEDS consistency in order to build trust and recognition that in turn leads to more sales and customer loyalty. There’s the classic “marketing rule of 7” that states it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before your audience will buy. Therefore, your brand needs to show up in the same way with its visuals, voice, and content for all seven of those interactions in order to make an impact. On top of that, being consistent is exponentially more effective when you’re constantly differentiated from your competition—meaning you’re brave enough to stand out from the crowd with the way your brand presents itself to the world.
That being said, it can be tricky to build consistency and momentum in your brand when you’ve never sat down to actually form a plan in the first place. How can you get this done, and get it done right the first time? The answer is: a thorough, well-thought-out brand strategy (no super basic, surface-level brand values and audience profiles here).
So, what makes a successful brand strategy? What even is brand strategy? Check out the below to learn all about how a strong brand strategy can breathe life, growth, and purpose into your business:
1. Getting to know your audience for real
Brands are more human than ever—that’s why it’s important that we speak to our audience in a manner that’s not all dry, salesy, and features-focused. In order to do so, it’s crucial that we understand our ideal audience as deeply as we would a best friend or spouse.
Demographics vs. Psychographics
It’s common in the branding world today to overemphasize the importance of your audience’s demographics—things like age, occupation, location, and income. It’s great to define these, but they’re not going to tell you why someone will buy from you.
In creating your ideal audience persona(s), it’s crucial to take a look at things such as their:
- Habits, goals, and their decision-making process
- Relationships and who they look up to
- Content they consume and where they hang out (both digitally and in-person)
- Things that are important to them both in their daily life and long-term
By diving deep into the inner psyche of your audience, you can get a clear idea of how exactly to speak to them in order to demonstrate the value you’re bringing and how it can make their lives better/happier/more shiny overall.
Your audience has 99 problems and you can help them solve one
The core of any business is that it solves a problem for an audience. Yes, even nice-to-have luxury goods solve a “problem” for their customers. By getting a clear understanding of the problems that you solve for your audience, you’re able to help them bridge that gap between their existing self and their future, better self. How to bridge that gap? Purchase your products/services/offerings!
When defining the problems that you’re solving for your audience, it’s important to focus on not only the super obvious external problems you’re aiming to fix, but the internal struggles that your audience is battling. People buy with their emotions, and their purchases are nearly always more than skin deep—what is the future aspirational vision of themselves that you’re helping them achieve? Focusing in on this is absolutely key when it comes to getting people to click the “Buy” button.
Digging into your audience’s buying process
By taking a close look at how your audience makes decisions and how this influences their typical buying process, we can get ahead of any potential objections that they may have to buying from you. When we anticipate their needs and get ahead of their questions this builds a sense of trust and authority within the brand (which leads to loyal and happy customers!).
It’s always a great idea to map out each stage of the buying process from the first time they come across your brand until they’re a raving fan who tells everyone and their grandma about your amazing brand. How are they feeling at each stage in the process, and what specifically nudges them onto the next step? By doing this, you’re able to meet your audience where they’re at across all interactions with your brand, leading to a seamless and delightful customer experience.
2. Understanding and positioning yourself within your niche’s landscape
Here is where you want to find a fine balance. You want to be aware of what your competition is doing, but you don’t want to fall into the rut of imitating them—that’s not going to help you stand out and attract loyal clients! Mapping out who your closest competitors are, how they’re similar and different to you, and each of their differentiating factors will help you understand where your brand lies within the industry’s landscape (and what makes it so special).
Trends and gaps in the industry
It’s also a good idea to get a good sense of what trends are currently common in your industry. By taking a close look at your competition with a critical eye you can also identify an important thing for your brand’s success—what is nobody doing right now that you can capitalize and stake a claim on? What’s the “next frontier” that you and your brand explore in order to bring your audience products or services packaged in a way that they didn’t even know existed?
3. Crafting the essence of your brand
Now that we understand who you are serving and where your zone of genius is within your industry, it’s time to distill this all into a personality-filled, human-sounding brand.
Values and Voice
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Why does your brand exist in the first place? By clarifying this, your messaging will come across much more powerfully and allow your audience to deeply connect with your brand and its shared values.
Carving out a few key values that your brand holds near and dear will allow you to ensure that you’re consistently attracting the exact type of people that you’d like to do business with—the ones that light you up from the inside and make you so happy that you get to serve people in the way that you love the most.
The voice that your brand speaks in is the glue of all of this. It needs some SPICE—nothing turns a customer off faster than boring, dry, sales-y business speak. Don’t be afraid to invest in a copywriter for your website (at the very least) to make sure that your brand sounds human.
Your voice needs to appear consistent across all platforms, not including only your Instagram captions and email marketing—how much thought have you given to your order confirmation emails, customer service DMs, and packaging insert cards? The most powerful brand impressions can be made with the perfect little quote or phrase inserted in unexpected moments across your brand’s touchpoints.
You’ve definitely heard of a classic mission statement, but did you know that you should have (at least) 3 variations of it? Here’s an example from a recent project we’ve worked on:
Long Mission Statement: We provide honest, eco-conscious CBD skincare tailored with quality formulas and sustainable packaging to help you influence positive change for the planet’s future.
Medium Mission Statement: Influence positive change for the planet’s future with our honest and eco-conscious CBD skincare.
Short Mission Statement: Honest, eco-conscious CBD skincare
Do you see how by creating multiple versions of your mission statement, it becomes more flexible for different uses? For example, an Instagram caption vs. your website’s hero text. When your mission statement is flexible in this way, you use it more without sounding repetitive or stiff (again, leading to our main goal of more consistency!).
Here, we define the actual substance of your brand—what is it that you’re putting out into the world each day in order to give value to your audience and help foster a meaningful community that surrounds your brand? A content pillar is a main topic that your brand focuses on in its copy (most brands have about 3-5 main content pillars). For example, if you’re a natural skincare brand, your content pillars may include beauty tips, education surrounding the use of different skincare ingredients, and makeup and beauty trends.
It’s important when deciding upon these content pillars to consider what will resonate with your specific target audience. You may have one pillar that targets your main audience segment and another pillar that targets your secondary audience segments. Always keep in mind—what kind of content will my audience get value from and keep them coming back for more? What kind of content will build credibility and trust in the eyes of my audience? A quick way for your brand to flop is to always be in selling mode and forgetting to deliver content and insights that will benefit who you’re trying to reach.
4. Translating allllll of that into a visual strategy
Phew, we’ve made it through the key points of setting a solid brand strategy to act as a foundation for all of our future business activities! Who knew how much there is to consider?
Now comes the fun part—using all of these findings to craft a visual identity that will stand the test of time and bring a steady flow of ideal customers to your business.
Before diving into the look and feel of your brand, it’s important to outline specific solutions that you plan on incorporating into your design in order for it to align with your brand’s goals and audience. Some examples of what these may be:
- Using neutral, earthy colors to signal your brand’s commitment to clean ingredients and sustainability
- Using vintage-inspired type and local influence to demonstrate your brands heritage or provenance
- Use of pattern to convey playfulness and vibrance
When thinking of design solutions, I’s really important to steer clear from cliches while still planning something that will easily signal to your audience what type of brand you are. You also want to steer clear of trends that will be dead in two years while still appearing forward-thinking and desirable. Finding these balances is where a designer/brand strategist’s experience comes in handy!
In deciding on the look and feel that your brand will give off, it’s important to explore a couple of different options so that you know for sure you’re heading in the right direction. There is more than one way to crack the code of building a brand identity that achieves your goals, which is why coming up with a visual plan for your brand is so much fun.
It’s important for you and your designer to be on the same page before moving onto things such as the logos, color palette, and typography design, so it’s a good idea to dive deeper than simply creating a moodboard to base your designs off of. At Bungalow, we create a visual plan, typography direction, and basic website mockup before moving onto the actual designs. This helps you get a vivid idea of how the brand will look and function in real life before jumping into the identity design head-first.
There is a lot to brand strategy. It’s so much more than a visual plan or list of adjectives that describe your brand—it’s digging into the business and marketing principles that lay the foundation for your brand’s growth well into the future.
Building a business without thoroughly understanding your brand strategy first is like building a family home on a foundation of toothpicks. You have high hopes for the good times and comfort it’s going to bring you in the future, but unless you set that foundation right, it’s bound to come crashing down sooner or later.
Looking to chat more about how brand strategy can bring you the business you’ve always wanted to own? Get in touch now to schedule a free 30-minute chat about your brand’s future.