What Is Strategic Branding?
Before we can dive into everything that strategic branding encompasses it is first important to fully understand what a strategy is. In its most simple definition, a strategy is a plan that is created in order to achieve a specific outcome. For example, if you were planning a surprise party for your dad’s birthday you would need to devise a plan to get your dad to the party without suspecting anything is going on. The steps that you define to get your dad to the party’s location all while keeping the secret, is the strategy.
So what does all of that have to do with strategic branding? Well, successful branding doesn’t just happen on a whim or overnight, it happens with a carefully thought out strategy.
A Deeper Look at Strategic Branding
When it comes to branding there are quite a few aspects that are involved. From managing digital assets to maintaining brand consistency across multiple platforms, it can be a lot to tackle. And when it comes to strategic branding that means long-term management of your company’s unique brand.
By establishing a strategic branding plan you are working to uphold your company’s overall goals while making sure your business can also grow and evolve as time goes on. Your brand strategy is aimed at putting the unique qualities that set your business apart into words, thus creating a narrative for your customers to follow along with and be interested in.
Why is Strategic Branding Important?
Strategic branding is important for your business for many reasons. Let’s look at McDonald’s. Every piece of marketing that you see has those “Golden Arches” right? Well if we were to ask you what else comes to mind when you think of McDonald’s what would you think of? Maybe the signature red and yellow colors? Their theme song? Each of these components is a part of their strategic branding.
- Sets you apart: The most important reason for a strategic branding plan is that it will help distinguish your company from the competition, thus making you more recognizable to customers
- Creates consistency: Having a strategically thought out plan for branding also helps to not only provide consistency for your customers but for your employees as well. Having a clear brand helps to ensure that all of your employees are working towards the same objectives.
- Allows streamlined communication: A strategic branding plan will help you communicate with your customers much more effectively and clearly. When your messaging is consistent you are more likely to attract and create loyal customers.
- Helps dictate your marketing strategy: Your branding strategy will also dictate your marketing strategy. It will help to provide a clear purpose for why you are engaging with customers as well as how you will engage with them.
- Can help attract talent: A good strategic branding plan can also help attract potential employees who can bring their unique skills to your company!
Creating the Perfect Strategic Branding Plan
When it comes to creating a successful branding strategy there are quite a few moving parts involved.
1. Making sure your brand position and your brand values are aligned
One of the most important parts of a successful strategic branding plan is to determine what your company wants to achieve through its branding along with determining how to position your brand. In order to create a strong brand position, you’ll have to research your competitors. The last thing you want is to brand yourself similarly to your biggest competition, so finding a way to set your brand apart from them is key.
Creating a brand that resonates with your audience and that is uniquely you will help consumers have a sense of recognition when it comes to your company. It can be difficult to determine where your business fits and how you can stand out from the competition. However, getting your companies core values down on paper will help create a dynamic brand that is perfect for your business.
2. Monitor what people are saying about your brand
When you are working to build your brand, media monitoring and social listening are extremely important. If someone is mentioning your business on a blog or on social media, or any other platform you’ll want to know! Your brand’s reputation is based upon the image that it communicates. And this image can be communicated by customers, investors, an extremely picky person, or a former employee. Because of this, it is important to know what people are saying, both good and bad.
3. Centralizing your branding and materials
An important part of successful strategic branding is making sure that all of your marketing assets are consistent. Regardless of whether or not your business is a huge enterprise or a mom and pop shop, making sure to centralize your brand’s definitions, various assets, and other essential branding pieces is crucial.
You’ll want to keep all of these assets together in one place making it easy for employees and people who are using your marketing materials to find. Doing this will help ensure that your brand’s messaging is streamlined and consistent for anyone who sees it.
4. Measuring your brand’s performance
Once you have already defined and have begun implementing your strategic branding plan you’ll have to then begin to analyze and optimize the plan for the best results. The best plans cover three areas:
- Internal Branding- Internal branding works to define and determine the brand’s values, positioning, along with company culture
- External Branding: This consists of any print and online advertising, marketing materials, public relations, social media management, website upkeep, newsletters, and content marketing
- Customer Experience: This defines the sales process and the customer support process both online and offline
When you begin to analyze these aspects of your strategic branding plan you will want to look at them from every angle. Is the branding consistent? Does everything look and feel the same? These elements are key for successful strategic branding.
If you are looking for help creating and implementing a strategic branding plan contact our team at Focused Image for more information about our services and how we can help!