Brand strategy is the process of managing how your company is perceived by the public and with what values and messages it is associated. This overall strategy includes traditional brand assets, such as the company name and logo, to more intangible elements, including brand marketing, messaging and tone.
The best brand strategies are based on strong company values and deep knowledge of the target audience while remaining adaptable to company priorities. A strong brand strategy also requires an integrated marketing plan that uses various marketing channels, both owned and earned, to reach customers.
Brand Strategy Elements
- Core values
- Target audience
- Marketing plan
Why Is a Brand Strategy Important?
A strong brand can be a valuable asset for any company to help build customer loyalty, trust and awareness. Creating a brand strategy is an important step for any business that wants to create a strong and lasting impression in its market.
A strong brand strategy is essential to differentiate a business from its competition and build customer loyalty. When done correctly, brand strategy can also help to increase brand awareness, drive sales and build long-term customer relationships.
How to Develop a Brand Strategy
The first step to developing a brand strategy is identifying your company’s core values and business objectives. Once you’ve clearly defined those elements, create messaging and visuals that reflect your values. These visuals will ultimately represent your brand.
Your target audience should be top of mind when creating a brand strategy.
- What are your target audience’s needs and interests?
- How can your brand meet those needs?
Answering these prompts will help you develop a brand strategy that is effective and appealing to your target customers.
Elements of a Brand Strategy
Your Brand’s Core Values
These are the principles that guide everything your brand does. These values should be reflected in your brand’s messaging, visuals and overall identity. Once you know what your brand stands for, you can develop a brand positioning statement. This articulates how your brand differs from its competitors and what makes it unique.
Alaska Airlines is a great example of a brand strategy that clearly states their values. Their exact statement is, “We are creating an airline people love. Each day, we are guided by our core values to own safety, do the right thing, be kind-hearted, deliver performance, and be remarkable at work and in our communities.” These values are not only clear and easy to understand, but also easily reflected in the decisions that Alaska Airlines makes, like making flying greener and safer. The company's website copy boasts, “the most care in the air starts here.”
You need to define your target audience. Who are you trying to reach with your business? What are their needs and wants? Once you know who you’re talking to, you can develop messaging that resonates with them.
Apple is an iconic brand that positioned itself as “for individuals who want the best personal computer or mobile device.” This differentiates them from competitors who may be going after business or enterprise customers instead of individual consumers. Apple’s marketing strategy and copy is entirely different from its competitors because they focus on the individual experience.
You must create visual assets that reflect your brand’s identity. This can include a logo, a color palette and an overall style guide. Brand visuals will be the most closely associated elements of a company to the brand they are building.
One brand that has done this well is Evernote, with its well-known elephant logo. In 2018, Evernote did a brand refresh and documented their exact process for refreshing the logo, the brand colors, the design, and the typography. Theirs is an excellent example of brand visuals reflecting overall brand strategy.
For your brand strategy to be successful, it must be an intentional part of your overall marketing plan and approach. Let your brand strategy be reflected in social media posts, key messaging for campaigns, website launches and redesigns, and other high-visibility areas.
At Buffer, we’ve done this seamlessly. Our mission is to provide essential tools to help small businesses get off the ground and grow. So, in our messaging, we highlight small business owners and their journey in social media posts and feature posts about how these small businesses have grown on our blog.