“A brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” This is how Jeff Bezos, father of Amazon, defines the idea of a brand. And as the founder of one of the most successful brands in the world, this guy knows what he’s talking about.
When you think about a brand holistically, it becomes much more than a name or a logo. It is a combination of perceptions that people gather from their interactions with your company or product. And when you take good care of that brand (like with a good strategy perhaps?), your life as a marketer becomes a whole lot easier. Let’s talk about what we mean by “brand strategy,” and the ways it can help you out.
What is Brand Strategy?
Brand strategy is the ability to understand and influence the conversations about your company or product. A good brand strategy will consider the current state of your brand – what do people think, say and feel about you? – and builds a path toward the thoughts and feelings you want people to have about you.
Brand strategy starts with an internal and external assessment of the brand. Usually, some type of audience research is a great place to start. The goal is to benchmark existing perceptions of the brand, understand the way people make decisions, and to explore the messages that resonate most. In some cases, if you’re not sure who your target market is, some exploratory research can help you hone in on the right audience.
Market research findings are combined with management’s goals for the brand, and leadership’s vision. That fusion of business goals and customer needs is where the best brands are born.
With a clear understanding of the brand, you can then start to explore the way it looks and feels in different mediums:
- What is the key message you need to get across?
- What does that brand vision mean for your logo?
- What kind of photography communicates your values?
- Where, when, and how will your customers be most receptive to your message?
- How can you tell your brand story in a way that will win the hearts and minds of your target audience?
When a Brand Spreads like Fire
Take Flame Broiler. The restaurant chain of about 200 locations was looking to update its image and its reputation beyond the “Rice Bowl King” that it had come to be known as.
Flame Broiler started with a clear vision: simple, clean eating made easy. But with rapid growth across the country, that vision had become muddied down over time. Flame Broiler came to Gigasavvy and asked us to help them update their identity and regain that original purpose of simple, healthy food.
After a quick study that evaluated consumer wants and tastes, Gigasavvy set out on a new campaign to help redefine Flame Broiler with a new concept: Simply Healthy. The strategy concept caught like fire, spreading to the tagline, an updated logo, interior design, and an exciting ad campaign.
The consistent story told across multiple mediums – broadcast TV, signage, menu boards, and social media – creates a carefully curated story around the Flame Broiler brand, which influences the way people interact with the restaurant and think about its food.
Make Your Job Easier
With all that under your belt, a good brand strategy is a preventative measure to building a powerful marketing machine in your organization.
1. You Will Get it Right the First Time.
When your brand has a clearly defined and documented strategy, your entire marketing team is educated and aligned around common goals. With an established brand, your team is fully equipped with the voice you want to embody, your tone, and the audience you’re speaking to.
When everyone has a clear understanding of the brand – from the internal team to external agency partners – the resulting marketing and communications are much more consistent. And why wouldn’t it be? If you have a set strategy acting as an instruction booklet, the communications your team builds are going to be much more on-point.
Whether your marketing is done by an internal team or 3rd party agencies, a clear brand strategy results in better quality work.
2. You Will Be Remembered.
Having a consistent strategy across multiple platforms allows your marketing efforts to go further.
Most marketers have heard of the “Rule of Seven” – the idea that a person needs to hear the same ad message seven times before it’s remembered. In today’s world, where we’re bombarded with marketing messages on multiple screens, that number is much higher.
The ability to stand out is not just about the content of the message, but the consistency of it. A brand strategy that enforces consistent communications across multiple touchpoints makes it more likely that your brand will be remembered – and remembered for the right reasons.
3. You Will Get Leadership On Board.
When done right, the brand strategy should reflect the larger business objectives of the organization, its vision, and its culture. And with leadership’s involvement and buy-in, that strategy gives executive management comfort in the fact that their marketing efforts are aligned with their larger business goals.
The Bottom Line
When your marketing efforts are aligned around a strong brand strategy, you have a greater ability to influence the things people think and say about you.
Without a clear brand in place, marketing can feel like a shot in the dark. But get it right, and your life becomes a whole lot easier.