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 are part of your brand strategy, too.
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.
What makes a good brand? Where do you start when branding yourself or your company? We have summarised the essentials for you.
Your USP: Your Unique Selling Proposition (or sometimes Unique Selling Point)
– What makes you stand out from your competitors?
– Your USP is a summary of what you do and how you do it better or differently than others. Often, a USP can be summed up in just a few words that become a catch-phrase or strapline.
Whether long or short, your USP should focus on how it benefits the customer. Here are a few well-known examples of USP straplines:
- the best a man can get. Gillette – USP focusing on quality
- the world’s favourite airline. British Airways – USP focusing on popularity
- never knowingly undersold. John Lewis – USP focusing on price
- have it your way. Burger King – USP focusing on choice
- every little helps. Tesco – USP focusing on price
- just do it. Nike – USP focusing on a can-do attitude
- the ultimate driving machine. BMW – USP focusing on performance
- the crumbliest, flakiest chocolate. Flake – USP focusing on being unique
- the mint with the hole. Polo – USP focusing on being unique
If you’re able to sum up your brand values and your advantage over competitors into a strapline, why not put it on your literature and advertising and make sure everyone gets the message!
OK, so we’ve talked about the 3 key ingredients of a strong brand:
- your brand values
- your USP
- and a cohesive visual style
Lets elaborate on this visual element – it can be made up of:
A device or icon – maybe a picture forms part of your logo? if so, it’s style and subject need to comply with your brand values.
Your brand colours – People have emotional responses to particular colours, shades and tints. Your brand colours need to reflect your brand values – you don’t want to send mixed messages such as using fiery pillarbox red for a relaxing massage!
Your brand Typefaces – the styles of lettering that form your logo and any correspondence with your target audience. Some typefaces look friendly, some look elegant, some are modern and some look casual. Once again, choosing the right style typeface can add to the tone and personality of your brand.
Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:
- Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
- Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
- Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
- Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
- Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
- Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
- Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
- Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.