If you’re unsure why you are doing a brand and marketing strategy, we’ve written an article here that may be helpful.
Whatever the reason behind your brand refresh, it’s good to remember that a re-brand or a refresh is easy to get wrong. We’ve seen brands get stuck on this for more than a year and still not have brand assets to show for it.
So to help, we’ve developed and refined a brand strategy process that is practical and just works. It unfolds week by week over 1.5-hour workshops (momentum is key!). And the process is dynamic and non-linear – we often return to elements we have already covered and revisit and refine ideas along the way. A brand strategy exercise is an iterative journey of self-discovery.
Here are the 13 essential elements that all brands need in the brand and marketing strategy, arranged in 4 broad categories.
1. Brand Fundamentals
This is often viewed as the “fluffiest” stage of the brand strategy process. While it is important to start here, it is also the part of a brand strategy that gets revisited the most. It is normal to jump back to the brand fundamentals when exploring your avatars, when refining brand messages or when creating a brand story.
Here are the components of brand fundamentals:
a. Brand Identity
Brand identity is the essence of a company’s character, reflecting its core values and beliefs. It’s not just about logos or colour schemes; it’s about embodying the ethos of the business. The brand identity should resonate with the target audience, creating a strong emotional connection. It’s the foundation upon which customer loyalty is built. This involves deep introspection to understand what truly drives the business beyond profit – its purpose, its mission, and its vision for the future. In establishing a brand identity, it’s crucial to communicate the brand’s story in a way that is relatable and inspiring. This includes developing a unique voice and personality that can be consistently applied across all marketing materials, ensuring a coherent and recognisable brand presence.
b. Value Proposition
A value proposition is the unique value a company promises to deliver to its customers. It’s more than a product or service; it’s the solution to a problem or the fulfilment of a need. This requires a deep understanding of the target audience – their pains, desires, and behaviours. The value proposition should articulate how the brand’s offerings are different and better than the competition. It’s about clarity, specificity, and relevance. A compelling value proposition is concise, easy to understand, and focuses on the benefits that matter most to the customers. It’s a critical tool in the brand’s arsenal, serving as the foundation for all marketing and sales messaging.
c. Business and Marketing Goals
Setting clear and measurable goals is essential for the success of any business and marketing strategy. These goals should be specific, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Business goals focus on the overall direction and growth of the company, such as revenue targets or market expansion. Marketing goals, on the other hand, are about creating pathways to achieve these business objectives. This could involve generating a certain number of leads, increasing website traffic, or boosting engagement on social media. The key is to align marketing goals with business objectives to ensure that every marketing effort contributes to the overall success of the brand.
2. Customers and Competitors
Understanding your customers and competitors is an essential step in creating a brand strategy. Without this, it is impossible to distil brand messages.
Here are the contextual components that a serious brand strategy explores:
a. Avatars / Buyer Personas
Understanding the target audience is pivotal in creating effective marketing strategies. Creating buyer personas involves researching and defining the ideal customer’s demographics, behaviours, motivations, and challenges. This process helps in tailoring the marketing message to resonate with the specific needs and wants of different segments of the audience. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach; different products or services may appeal to different personas. Having detailed buyer personas aids in developing targeted marketing campaigns that speak directly to the interests and pain points of each segment, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of the marketing efforts.
b. Mapping Buyer Journeys
The buyer’s journey is the process customers go through to become aware of, consider, and decide to purchase a product or service. Mapping this journey helps in understanding the various stages a customer goes through before making a purchase decision. This involves identifying the touchpoints where customers interact with the brand and the types of information they seek at each stage. By mapping out these journeys, a brand can strategically place the right content at the right time in the right place to guide the customer towards a purchase. It’s about creating a seamless and engaging experience that nurtures prospects into loyal customers.
c. Asset Audit
An asset audit involves reviewing all the brand’s existing marketing materials and channels to assess their effectiveness. This includes analysing the website, social media pages, email campaigns, and any other customer touchpoints. The goal is to ensure that each asset aligns with the brand’s identity and messaging, and effectively contributes to the marketing goals. It’s about consistency and cohesion across all platforms. An asset audit helps identify areas of strength, as well as gaps where improvements are needed. This process is crucial for maintaining a strong and unified brand presence across all channels.
d. Quantitative and Qualitative Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is about understanding your competition’s strategies, strengths, and weaknesses. Quantitative analysis involves looking at measurable data such as market share, pricing, and financial performance. Qualitative analysis, on the other hand, focuses on subjective factors like brand reputation, customer loyalty, and product quality. This dual approach provides a comprehensive view of the competitive landscape. It allows a brand to identify opportunities to differentiate itself and to learn from the successes and failures of competitors. An effective competitor analysis informs strategic decisions, helping a brand to position itself effectively in the market.
The first half of a brand strategy exercise above is really an exploration. Research and reflection. Once armed with all the necessary information and facts, you are ready to get into the strategising. How can we turn these knowledge and insights into an action plan for your brand? Read on…
3. Funnel & Messages
This is the part of the strategy that most brands wanted to start with – the distillation of the genius and experience of the business owners. In these sections of a brand strategy, a fine tooth comb is critical.
a. Funnel Design
Designing a marketing funnel involves creating a pathway that guides potential customers from initial awareness to eventual purchase and advocacy. Each stage of the funnel represents a different level of customer engagement, from learning about the brand to becoming a loyal advocate. The funnel design should consider the various channels and platforms where the target audience is most active, and how to effectively capture and retain their attention. This might involve using lead magnets, social media engagement, email marketing, and personalised content. The key is to create a funnel that is tailored to the brand’s specific buyer personas, ensuring that the right message reaches the right audience at the right time.
b. Brand Stories and Messages
Brand storytelling is about creating a narrative that connects the brand with its audience on an emotional level. It’s about framing the customer as the hero and the brand as the guide that helps them overcome challenges. This involves understanding the values, aspirations, and struggles of the target audience and reflecting these in the brand’s messaging. The stories should be authentic, relatable, and inspiring, creating a strong emotional bond with the audience. From these stories, key brand messages are distilled – consistent themes that are woven into all marketing materials, reinforcing the brand’s identity and value proposition.
c. Content Ideation
Content ideation is the process of brainstorming and developing ideas for marketing content that resonates with the target audience. This involves understanding the audience’s needs, interests, and pain points, and creating content that addresses these. The ideation process should be creative and collaborative, encouraging the generation of a wide range of ideas. This might include blog posts, social media content, videos, case studies, and more. The goal is to create content that is informative, engaging, and aligned with the brand’s overall marketing strategy.
4. Execution Plan
This is the part of your strategy where the rubber hits the road. Without it, the plan is lofty and can’t be translated into action. Here’s what’s important at this stage of the brand strategy:
a. Tactic Prioritisation
In implementing a marketing strategy, it’s crucial to prioritise the tactics that will be most effective in achieving the brand’s goals. This involves evaluating the different marketing channels and tools available and choosing those that best align with the target audience and marketing objectives. It’s about focusing resources on the tactics that will have the greatest impact, whether that’s content marketing, social media advertising, search engine optimization, or others. Prioritisation helps ensure that efforts are concentrated on the most impactful activities, maximising the return on investment.
b. Rollout Timeline
Developing a realistic rollout timeline is essential for the successful implementation of a marketing strategy. This involves planning when and how different elements of the strategy will be executed, taking into account the resources available and the desired timeline for achieving results. A well-structured timeline helps in managing the workload, ensuring that tasks are completed in a logical and efficient sequence. It also aids in setting expectations for stakeholders, providing a clear roadmap of the marketing activities and their expected outcomes.
Effective budgeting is critical in ensuring that the marketing strategy is both affordable and capable of delivering the desired results. This involves allocating resources in a way that maximises impact while staying within financial constraints. Budgeting requires a careful assessment of the costs associated with different marketing activities and a clear understanding of the expected return on investment. It’s about striking the right balance between investing in growth and maintaining financial sustainability. A well-planned budget ensures that every dollar spent contributes to the overall objectives of the marketing strategy.
Create Value For Your Customers
The journey of brand and marketing strategy is a dynamic and continuous evolution that aligns your brand’s identity, values, and goals with the needs and aspirations of your customers. By meticulously crafting and executing a strategy that encompasses brand fundamentals, customer and competitor insights, funnel and message design, and a robust execution plan, you position your brand for sustainable growth and lasting impact.
Remember, your brand is more than just a name or a logo; it’s the cumulative experience of your customers’ interaction with your brand at every touchpoint. It’s about creating stories that resonate, messages that inspire, and strategies that deliver. With this comprehensive guide, you are now equipped with the essential elements to build a brand that not only stands out in the marketplace but also forms deep, lasting connections with your audience.
Now is the time to take action. Whether you’re looking to refresh your brand or build a new one from the ground up, our team is here to guide you through every step of the process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin crafting a brand and marketing strategy that truly reflects the unique essence of your business. Let’s create something remarkable together.