Before embarking on building a brand strategy, we need to distinguish between what brand strategy is and what brand identity is.
A brand strategy is a document that contains all the essential information about your brand. It is a detailed plan of what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.
Brand identity, on the other hand, is a sublimation of what your brand looks like, how it addresses your potential customers, and how they feel about them. This is how your business interacts with customers and is different from other businesses in your industry. Your brand identity along with your content strategy is one of the things you will accomplish with your planned goals.
The first part of building a brand strategy is research: the more you go into this part, the later it will be easier for you to define your brand.
It is very important that you have a good understanding of the industry and the target group in order to create a compelling brand.
The goal is to gather as much information as possible about who your target group is, who your competition is and where your brand is currently.
I will go through with you step by step how to effectively conduct this research and what are the things you need to pay attention to.
Step 1: Analyze Existing Values
It is essential that you objectively analyze your brand's existing values and whether your business values are relevant.
Vision: Why do you exist?
Mission: What are you doing?
Values: How do you do what you do?
These things are not just mere sentences that stand on your site, but they really have to resonate throughout your company culture.
Values are what you bring to your industry and what your customers get from you.
Step 2: Researching Competition
One of the main goals of brand building is to differentiate to keep your brand visible, relevant and unique. And that is why it is very important that you research the competition.
- What do they do, how do they work, what values do they represent and how do they communicate with them?
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What sets you apart from the competition?
- Pay attention to analyzing how your competition presents itself in terms of vision and mission, tons of communication, how they describe their service or product.
- What visual elements are defined and what do they look like?
- Do they follow trends, do they update their brand in line with trends?
- Who is their target group, who they are communicating with and how?
- Identify the visual elements of the brand: logo, colors, typography, photography, video, web design.
- Try at the end of the analysis to draw a conclusion on the results of your competition's communication.
Step 3: Define
Your Audience Your brand needs to communicate the values and needs of your target group, so it is important that you have a clear idea of who these people are. What you should keep in mind is that it is really rare and almost impossible to have only one person as a target group. So feel free to define at least 3 different ones.
Think of personas as the person you want to get to know as much as possible, which is why you build it answer by answer. The better defined your target persona is, the later you will become more aware of who you are communicating with through your marketing channels and how you are communicating.
Do your best to answer the following questions when defining a person:
- Internal fears
- Hidden ambitions
Step 4: Perceiving your brand
Finally, quite frankly, analyze how your target audience perceives you and how you want them to perceive you.
Past: How they perceived you so far.
This is easy to examine through reviews and forums.
Make sure the way you are perceived is in line with your vision of how you want to be experienced. This is the moment when you should decide what are the things in your branding that need to be redefined (values, visual identity, communication strategy…)