How your brand is perceived is not something you decide. Your audience does. However, a clear and consistent strategy helps position your brand and enables you to influence how your brand is being perceived.
A brand strategy is the blueprint for your business as it clearly defines why your brand exists beyond making a profit and what difference it makes to people’s lives. It enables you to connect and communicate effectively with your target audience and highlights how your brand differs from its competitors, and so giving prospects a compelling reason to choose you.
Start with Purpose
Brand building starts on the inside of your business with your company’s core purpose – its authentic reason for being beyond making a profit and the values organically grown from that. By committing to your purpose in everything you do you create a unique personality and culture, and in doing so connecting with your target audience.
For example look at American outdoor apparel company Patagonia who are “in business to save our home planet”. To follow their purpose the company actively asks their customers to buy less of their clothing. A pretty radical move. But as a result, the company’s customer base grew and profits soared as more and more individuals see their personal values, ethics and principles reflected in Patagonia’s strategy and want to be part of that community.
But beware of post-engineered ‘purpose’ that solely aids marketing campaigns. It might achieve short term goals but won’t sustain a healthy long-term growth. An authentic brand purpose helps you align business opportunities with the promise towards your audience by investing in long-term business goals and showing the outside world that you are in for the long run, particularly when the going gets tough.
Know your audience
Successful brands adopt human qualities and personality traits that enable their audience to easily connect. They reach like-minded people, give meaning and make them feel understood. Furthermore, they give prospective clients a compelling reason to choose their brand over another as they clearly understand why and when prospective customers look for their products or services.
Let’s look for example at British sustainable energy provider Bulb. I am a Bulb customer because they help me solve a dilemma. As an environmentally conscious individual, I continuously try to reduce my carbon footprint. By offering green electricity and gas, Bulb is helping me to succeed with my personal goal. And that makes me feel really happy. Bulb is not the only green energy supplier in the marketplace, but their casual style of communication, simplified pricing structures and great customers service gives me a number of reasons to join the Bulb community.
Does your brand make its audience feel understood? Does your brand give meaning to someone’s life or business? Does your brand help solve problems? Does your brand create experiences or help your audience express themselves? And where and when do prospective clients find you? Knowing your target audience and how to effectively communicate with prospective and existing customers is key to growing your brand.
Build the right team
To build a strong authentic brand you need to form the right team internally too, from employees to partners & shareholders, and from suppliers to collaborators. To turn your team into brand ambassadors your brand needs find the right individuals which identify with your strategy and share the vision for the future of the brand.
It’s been scientifically proven that the stronger the purpose of a company, the greater employees will feel meaning and impact in their individual roles. That in turn will positively reflect on customers and ultimately business growth. But to avoid dilution from the top down clear internal communication and training has to be provided throughout the organisation.*
There is a story of JFK and the janitor which highlights my point perfectly: When John F. Kennedy visited NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961 he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA. The janitor replied “I’m helping put a man on the moon!” Although the janitor has low skilled job he too understood the purpose and shared the vision of the work at NASA. He felt a part of it.
We’re here to help.
We know how hard it is to look objectively at your business but we’re here to help. If you are looking to review or redefine your brand strategy, get in touch to discuss our research & discovery and brand strategy process with us.