Brand strategy is the first and most significant step in the process of brand building. This process lays out the framework and blueprints for all marketing and communication efforts that will follow.
In it’s most comprehensive form, this process dives deep into the founding idea of an entire organisation. Sometimes even questioning it’s very existents, and direction.
Marketing, including; corporate identities, websites, social media, advertisements, public relations, and more, is highly expensive and time-consuming. Yet at the end of the day, these activities are nothing more than communication vessels. And they aimed at conveying a message to your customers and potential customers.
Somewhat obvious the question that needs to be asked before embarking on any form of marketing is, “what are we trying to say”.
The “what” is far more important than how.
Using a corporate logo as an example, the actual logo is a visual communication device. On its own, it is mean-less and worthless, as it is nothing more than a drawing or collection of words. The value and meaning of a logo is based on who or what it represents.
Brand Strategy is the process of solving that “What”. What are we saying, why are we saying it, who are we saying it to, and most of all, why should they care. Without a solid and decisive Brand Strategy, all marketing efforts are a shot in the dark. As each will be trying to communicate a conflicting message. Therefore this is what leads to a branding failure.
As branding is the sum of how the world perceives you. The process of building a strong and healthy brand is to develop a high level of constancy throughout all of a brands touch points. A brand touch point being anything a customer sees, feels, experiences or engaged with at any point in their interaction with your organisation.
When ensuring constancy the most imported questions is whether the message is correct.
An example of this is, to ensure that a brands website is providing the same information as their Instagram, even though the output is a different type of media. It can be tough sometimes, especially when your business gets bigger, but you have to make sure everything is aligned.
This is where brand strategy comes in as there is no way to ensure true constant messaging access dozens and sometimes even hundreds of touch points unless that core message is crystal clear and set in stone.
Although each and every project is unique and requires different approaches, this is the typical process that we at Stand Out follow when embarking on crafting or refining a brands strategy.
No matter how big or small the brand in question is, a comprehensive brand strategy project will always start with us fully understanding the brief. By brief, we mean truly understand who your brand is, what your objectives are, and why you need our help.
Step two is for us to research, we conduct two types of research, primary and secondary. Primary research refers to all new research (i.e. the data does not already exist), that answers a particular question for your brand/product/organisation, and is directly related to your question/field of inquiry.
Types of primary research:
Secondary research is collecting information that already exists from other sources. While this information does not specifically relate to your query it can add dimension to your research.
Types of secondary research:
Situational analysis is our final type of research that explores the environment in which you operate and also consider any outside factors that affect your brand.
Types of situational analysis:
Consolidating all our research and information together, and analysing it in relation to your brand’s objectives.
This is where we make sense of all the data and research to help us factually identify relevant and helpful insights relating to your brand, and business.
Taking the new insights and research into account we have to profile your exact target market.
In simple terms we need to learn:
Taking everything into considerations, we need to identify what challenges or barriers we have to overcome in order to, achieve victory in a market, and helps your brand reach the correct target market. It is impossible to solve a challenge unless we fully understand what that problem is.
Now that we know what the brand has to achieve in order to succeed, we need a logical action plan on how we are going to get there. That is to say, developing an action plan of objectives that are prioritised from most urgent to less urgent. As a result, it helps both you the client and us the agency schedule and plans out our long term project of making your brand stand out.
In summary, brand positioning is a simple, clear summary of all your brand.
All a good brand positioning needs to communicate is:
Everything leading up to this point has been to answer the question of “what are we saying”. Now it’s time to learn “how to say it”.
The process of design is nothing more than a means of visually communicating a message. Now that we know what that message is, and who we are talking to, we can begin the creative process. This brings us to the first phase of design, concept development.
Concept development or conceptual design is the process of generating a creative idea about who we will communicate a message through design. A strong creative concept not only forms the foundations of the brand identity but it also guides and governors all visual and marketing means that follow.
All of the above-mentioned points are known as brand contact points. They are elements that your customers and potential customers see, hear, feel and experience when engaging with your brand. Above all the key to strong branding is to have consistency across all of these points. Thus implementing changes and managing all of these points can be a big challenge.
A contact strategy is effectively an action plan, that prioritises what points need what works, and how we will roll out all of the changes.
As the name suggests, execution is the process of actually implementing our design concept into final work. This is phase two of the design process. And the beginning of your brands bright future.
Do you think you need help with your Brand Strategy? Get in touch.