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What is Brand Strategy and Why Do I Need It?

Image of a black and white target symbolizing strategic targeting in branding.

…the sooner your new business realizes the shift that has happened, the bigger the competitive edge you will have. Cuz we aren’t in Kansas anymore, kids.

Most businesses understand marketing strategy but if you don’t have a Brand Strategy, a marketing strategy is pointless and a lot of work. Want to level up your marketing game and leverage success against your competitors no matter what size your company is? Listen hard.

What is Brand Strategy?

If we look at it from the widest possible lens, Brand Strategy maps out everything your company has to be, do, and represent in order to match itself to its ideal target market(s). At the practical level, Brand Strategy is the roadmap for your marketing plan. It’s the container for your messaging, voice, customer profiles, internal culture, positioning, values, everyday practices, style, look and feel. Once your company has a deep and meaningful grasp on who it is, what it does, and why it does it, you will have unlocked your own unique formula for attracting your best customer.

Sadly 90% of most startups will skip this critical step and jump straight to creating a logo, a website, and a marketing plan. And no wonder. It’s how new business has done it for decades and it works just fine, thank you. Or does it?

Here’s the thing, the sooner your new business realizes the shift that has happened, the bigger the competitive edge you will have. Cuz we aren’t in Kansas anymore, kids.

So what’s changed?

Maybe you haven’t realized (especially for those generations born into the internet) but in the grand scheme of things it’s only been a hot minute since businesses exploded into the digital world. Let’s face it, this huge shift has made it infinitely easier for consumers to connect directly with brands to champion their products, complain about their services or offer their social influence in exchange for swag and credibility. For most of branding’s lifespan this immediate, real-time connection with the consumer has never happened at this scale. EVER. This new style of consumer relationship can launch you into a seemingly overnight success, but it can just as quickly detonate your business dreams into oblivion.

So we have now arrived into this Digital Oz, my friends, and companies are doing business in an environment that is forcing them to rethink their priorities when it comes to building their brands. Rather than rushing to create a logo and securing online real estate in hopes of casting a large marketing net, it would benefit businesses to get really clear on the vision and values they want to project in order to connect with their best audience and find their tribe. It would benefit start-ups to do a deep dive into who their potential customer might be so they can understand what their needs, desires, dreams and ambitions are. In essence, business priorities should be on building lasting and loyal relationships with customers and community first, not on sales and marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, without sales your company wouldn’t exist but as it turns out, consumers don’t want to be sold to anymore. Who knew?

So how do you sell to a customer that doesn’t want to hear your spiel?

The short answer: You’ve got to be real and human. But here’s the hardest part: You can’t sell.

So if you can’t sell, how do you get someone to buy your product or service?

You invite them to trust you by sharing your values, purpose, and beliefs. You get real with them. You show up in a consistent way for them. For example, by listening to their feedback online and responding in a real way, you nurture the space of the relationship between the two of you. Building a brand for a modern business today is a little bit like dating. Being ignored or ghosted deserves a swipe to the left. Genuine substance is intriguing and alluring. It draws us in and creates attraction. Swipe right.

Attraction happens when humans are aligned in their values, their vision, and their purpose. Being real is more important than it ever has been. Consumers are done with being manipulated, cajoled, tricked, and discarded when it comes to sales. They want to feel nurtured, cared for, valued and listened to.

Don’t we all?

So why do you need Brand Strategy?

So your business can find its perfect match. My “dating” advice for companies who are just getting started would be to work with a brand designer who can initiate the Brand Strategy process with a MVB (Minimum Viable Brand). This will allow your business to launch and gather important information that can help your brand evolve in the future. The process of implementing a Brand Strategy is a long game but just like our human relationships, it can be a deeply rewarding journey.

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The Flim Flam
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