The definition of brand building is to generate awareness about your business using strategies and campaigns with the goal of creating a unique and lasting image in the marketplace.
It is the process of generating awareness and promotion of the services of the company through direct advertising campaigns or through sponsorship. Brand building strategies bring consumers closer to the brand and provide value for them so that they can know, feel and experience the brand.
Positive image + standing out = brand success.
Branding can be broken down into three phases:

  1. Brand Strategy
  2. Brand Identity
  3. Brand Marketing

Now we focus on Brand Strategy. What is Brand Strategy and how does it affect the brand success?

What is Brand Strategy?
Brand strategy, by definition, is a long term inter-departmental plan for a brand to achieve specific, pre-defined goals. A successful brand strategy must be well-designed and executed across all business functions, with the capacity to improve consumer experience, competitive advantage and financial performance. While this may seem easy in theory, creating a winning brand strategy can be more challenging than it seems on first impressions especially in a highly competitive marketplace.

Below are step processes to approaching Brand Strategy :

  1. Defining Your Purpose

  2. The first step to crafting a successful brand strategy is to understand the purpose of your organisation. This is a deceptively difficult task. Though financial performance should factor into this analysis, your focus should be on what value you want to provide to your customers. At this stage, asking probing questions such as ‘How do we help our customers solve problems?’ and ‘What is it about our products that customers will love?’ is vital.

    In essence, this first step is a soul-searching exercise. What you discover should underpin your strategy and become central to company culture. Make no mistake: truly understanding the purpose of an organisation is as rare as it is valuable. But once you’ve found it, it becomes crucial to building a long-standing, recognisable and personable brand.

  3. Understanding the Environment

  4. As important as understanding your organisation’s purpose is understanding the context in which your business operates. No business exists in a vacuum. Whether your competitors are obvious and offer a directly comparable product, or compete indirectly for consumer attention, you most definitely have competitors. More importantly, their performance impacts yours (and vice versa). Knowing how these competitors act, perform and brand their products will help you create a brand strategy that is grounded in the real world.
    There are a number of ways in which you can approach this step. One common way to understand market position is by conducting a competitor analysis. Other popular tools include perceptual maps of industry position and analysis of the 5 competitive industry forces. But one thing is for sure, the more time you spend on this step, the greater your understanding of the marketplace will be.

  5. Setting SMART Objectives

  6. SMART objectives have become a popular start up cliché. Standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely – these are taught in every business 101 class nationwide. But this is for good reason. The SMART objective guidelines grounds your objectives in the research which you have previously conducted. It ensures that the goals you set for your organisation (which will form the bread and butter of your brand strategy) are relevant both to your business and marketplace.
    Goals should cover key strategic areas, not just financial performance. While it is good practice to outline your ideals for growth, also ensure that goals touch on brand perceptions, reach, product development and daily operations. The following examples highlight the difference between well-set and poorly defined goals:

    Examples of Well Defined Goals:

    • To achieve an average 8/10 or higher NPS score from all customers by 2022.
    • To be perceived as friendly and wholesome by 60% of our customer base by 2022.
    • To have a monthly reach of 250,000 consumers through all earned digital media channels by 2024.
    • To grow our market share of the financial services industry to 2.5% by 2024.
    • Examples of Poorly Defined Goals:

    • To have more customers than our closest competitor within 6 months of launch.
    • To become known as a friendly brand which looks after customers.
    • To create a shopping experience that encourages regular, repeat purchases.
  7. Creating a Strategic Plan

  8. Once you have your goals in place, it’s time to start planning how you will meet them. This will make up the bulk of your brand strategy. The strategic plan will outline your plans for investment and action to achieve the SMART goals outlined in the previous step. Strategic actions should be broad enough to allow for flexibility as the business expands, but detailed enough to form a strong brand identity. Aspects which should be included in your brand strategy include:

    • Mission, values and principles which influence company culture.
    • Brand language and visual guidelines to ensure consistency.
    • Departmental processes and policies that enable brand values.
    • Investment plans for future expansion and acquisitions.

    Every strategy is unique. But one important distinction that should be made is the difference between strategy and tactics. Strategy is the guiding principle upon which decisions are made. Tactics, on the other hand, are the exact ways in which strategy is realised.

    For example: a strategy may dictate that customer service should be delivered via social media for a more integrated experience (based on consumer/channel analysis). Tactics, meanwhile, include the decisions made in regards to: scripts, processes, actions and degree of flexibility. It is these tactics that customer service employees should follow to realise an integrated customer experience and contribute to SMART goals.

  9. Testing, Refining and Developing

Finally, it is important to remember that a brand strategy should never be stationary. There are two key questions that should be asked and tested on a regular basis:

  1. Are the tactics we are using the best fit for our brand strategy and SMART objectives?
  2. Is our brand strategy still relevant and effective in the competitive landscape?

If the answer to these questions is ever ‘no’ then it’s time to refine and develop your strategy. To do this, you’ll need to identify which aspects of the strategy (or which tactics) are not up to standards and explore the reasons for this. When exploring the reasons and alternatives, you’ll need to gather information from the key stakeholders involved: your customers, employees, decision makers and competitors. Once you’ve gathered the data, the next step is to find alternatives, assess the merits of each and finally (hardest of all) decide on changes to your strategy.