In my last blog, we talked about the importance of defining your brand. If you aren’t the one defining your brand, then someone else is. We looked at the beginning processes of how to define your brand. In this blog, we’ll follow up with a look at branding strategy.
What exactly is your brand strategy? Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally is part of your brand strategy, too. Your brand strategy is the foundation of your communication that builds authentic relationships between you and your audience.
Obviously you’re brand strategy starts with defining your brand as we discussed. But what comes next? Realizing that your brand is your business model. Your brand supports your business model to maximize your potential. Look at people who are themselves personal brands, such as Oprah or Donald Trump. They built their business on top of their personal brand and everything they offer is an extension of that brand.
A major component of brand strategy is consistency. You must stay consistent in your message and tone. Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment.
You should also stay relevant and flexible. We live in a world of always on the go and constant change. Branding is a process, not a race, not an event so expect to constantly tweak your message and refresh your image. Successful brands don’t cling to the old ways just because they worked in the past; instead, they try to re-invent themselves by being flexible which frees them to be more savvy and creative.
Perhaps most important is cultivating your community. Speak with your consumers, keep them abreast of what’s going on with your brand and in short, create raving fans. This community is what will help keep you relevant. This community is how word will spread about your brand.
There are, of course, many ways to maximize your brand strategy but these are part of the most important ones. You are perceived by what you put out into the world, whether it is personally or as a business and you often times only have one chance to be seen in a good light. Brand strategy may just be the most important aspect of business you’ll ever engage in.