Brand Strategy Processes behind big brands
- Consumer engagement – People want to be involved with the brand. They want to feel like they belong. To make this happen, businesses have to work to customize the products to fit consumer needs. How can this be done? You have to get creative and figure out what people want.
Brand Strategy Processes
Brand is more than a logo, name or slogan — it’s the entire experience your prospects and customers have with your company, product or service.
Brand strategy defines what a company stands for, a promise that is made, and the personality it conveys. And while it includes the logo, color palette and slogan, those are only creative elements that convey the brand. Instead, the brand lives in every day-to-day interaction you have with the market:
- The images you convey
- The messages you deliver on your website, proposals and campaigns
- The way your employees interact with customers
- A customer’s opinion of you versus your competition
Brand strategy brings competitive positioning to life, and works to position you as a certain “something” in the mind of your prospects and customers.
Successful branding also creates “brand equity” – the amount of money that customers are willing to pay just because it’s that brand. In addition to generating revenue, brand equity makes a company itself more valuable over the long term.
If you have a brand strategy, make sure it’s as effective as possible
- Pull your customers, employees and vendors. Are their impressions consistent with your strategy? If not, work on the elements you can improve.
Develop your brand around emotional benefits
- List the features and benefits of your product / service. A feature is an attribute – a color, a configuration; a benefit is what that feature does for the customer.
- Determine which benefits are most important to each of your customer segments.
- Identify which benefits are emotional – the most powerful brand strategies tap into emotions, even among business buyers.
- Look at the emotional benefits and boil them down to one thing that your customers should think of when they think of you. That’s what your brand should represent.
Define your brand personality, story and positioning statements
- Think of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. Describe him or her, then convey these traits in everything you do and create.
- Write positioning statements and a story about your brand; use them throughout your company materials.
- Choose colors, fonts and other visual elements that match your personality.
- Determine how your employees will interact with prospects and customers to convey the personality and make sure your brand “lives” within your company.
Together with your competitive positioning strategy, your brand strategy is the essence of what you represent. A great brand strategy helps you communicate more effectively with your market, so follow it in every interaction you have with your prospects and customers. (Source)
6 Components to a good Brand Strategy
“Every brand makes a promise. But in a marketplace in which consumer confidence is low and budgetary vigilance is high, it’s not just making a promise that separates one brand from another, but having a defining purpose,”explains Allen Adamson, chairman of the North America region of brand consulting and design firm Landor Associates.
How can you define your business’ purpose? According to Business Strategy Insider, purpose can be viewed in two ways:
- Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons — i.e. the purpose of the business isto make money
- Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.
IKEA’s vision isn’t just to sell furniture, but rather, to “create a better everyday life.” This approach is appealing to potential customers, as it demonstrates their commitment to providing value beyond the point of sale.
The key to consistency is to avoid talking about things that don’t relate to or enhance your brand. Added a new photo to your business’Facebook Page? What does it mean for your company? Does it align with your message, or was it just something funny that would, quite frankly, confuse your audience?
In an effort to give your brand a platform to stand on, you need to be sure that all of your messaging is cohesive. Ultimately, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty.
To see a great example of consistency, let’s look at Coca Cola. As a result of their commitment to consistency, every element of their marketing works harmoniously together. This has helped them become one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Customers aren’t always rational.
How else do you explain the person who paid thousands of dollars more for a Harley rather than buying another cheaper, equally well-made bike? There was an emotional voice in there somewhere, whispering: “Buy a Harley.”
Not to mention, belongingness — the need for love, affection, and being part of groups — falls directly in the middle of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which aims to categorize different human needs.
The lesson to be learned? Find a way to connect to your customers on a deeper, more emotional level. Do you give them peace of mind? Make them feel like part of the family? Do you make life easier? Use emotional triggers like these to strengthen your relationship and foster loyalty.
4) Employee Involvement
If your brand is playful and bubbly through Twitter engagements, then it wouldn’t make sense if a customer called in and was connected with a grumpy, monotone representative, right?
If you already have people that love you, your company, and your brand, don’t just sit there. Reward them for that love.
6) Competitive Awareness
Take the competition as a challenge to improve your own strategy and create greater value in your overall brand. You are in the same business and going after the same customers, right? So watch what they do.
Do some of their tactics succeed? Do some fail? Tailor your brand positioning based on their experience to better your company. (Source)
My favourite example of a good and strong brand strategy is Toyota, which has been one of the most valuable brands in the world for many years. (More here)
2. Re-positioning Process
There is a constant need to innovate, reinvigorate, update, recalibrate, or just simply fend off the competition in an effort to better explain “why buy me.”
As companies and brands today look to brand repositioning, they first have to ask what the reasons are for repositioning the brand. They can include declining sales, loss of consumer/user base, stagnant product benefits, or the competition, including such issues as increased technology and new features.
Phase I. Determining the Current Status of the Brand
Understanding the brand includes reviewing the complete history of the company and brand, including its current brand positioning, the original positioning, how it has evolved, and most important: what the company and brand stands for today.
As we dive deeper into the current status of the company and brand, we also need to get a clear understanding of the company and brand, including a review of the current brand customer.
Once we better understand the current brand customer, we can then review the company and brand sales history, including revenue, growth, and industry and category market share. It is also important to look at the specific core product and/or service offerings.
Phase II. What Does the Brand Stand for Today?
We now need to understand how consumers feel about your company and brand today. In consumer packaged goods (CPG), this might mean talking to kids and moms, as well as other user groups, to determine what your company and brand stand for.
Obtaining a clear insight to the way consumers feel and relate to your company and brand will provide the starting point of the repositioning work.
The first step on the course of brand repositioning is to hold “brand equity groups,” which will directly ask consumers and users of your brand key questions, including “Why select our brand?” and “What was the key decision making element?” Beyond these general questions, the brand equity groups will also seek to understand their reasons for purchase, determine their hierarchy of needs and what your brand currently delivers, understand usage occasions and patters, and showcase brand equity dimensions. In addition, one of the most important functions of running brand equity groups is to identify similar affinity groups, lifestyle, and behavior patterns among your consumers and loyal customers that can translate into better understanding your customer profiles.
Phase III. Developing the Brand Positioning Platforms
The next step is to find out how far to grow, expand, and stretch the brand.
The purpose of Phase III is to utilize all marketing research, brand, industry, and consumer information to reposition what your brand should and can stand for. The key reasoning is that determining effective and successful brand repositioning will help retain existing customers and acquire new ones. As we look to begin brand repositioning, we need to keep in mind that it needs to capture “How we want consumers to think and feel about your brand.”
- Who do we want our brand to be?
- What benefits will it deliver to the consumer?
- How will we promote the brand product purchase, collection, and user patterns?
Phase IV. Refining the Brand Positioning and Management Presentation
Now we have a great start, a new thinking, and (most important) the beginnings of the new brand positioning for your company, business, and brand. The purpose now is to review and refine the new brand positioning and communicate to all function departments in order to align efforts.
The main reason is that it is important that everyone on the brand team and all function areas understand, buy in, and support the new brand positioning. Essentially, this will become the umbrella strategy for the brand group dictating marketing programs and tactics.
As part of this final and very important phase in brand repositioning, we need to refine the positioning. This includes finalizing the brand by incorporating all feedback from consumers, customers, vendors and agencies, as well as the brand group, to ensure achievable positioning vs. aspirational positioning.
The ultimate final stage results in building a strong team to carry the message to senior management and leaders within your company. This includes developing and presenting to the brand group and senior management the new brand positioning. (Source)
To implement brand re-positioning the company must choose a strategy. Each strategy determines where the main focus of the new campaign will be. The new campaign may focus on the consumer, other businesses or the general public. Let’s review some available strategies.
- Identity – The most important aspect of building a brand is to give the company an identity. The brand is tied together through the logo, slogan, color scheme, marketing materials, employees, etc. Everything about the company should tie together and provide a unified identity that the consumer can understand.
- Spirit of giving – The world is starting to expect businesses to be socially responsible and embrace the spirit of giving. Social responsibility is an organization’s obligation to better the welfare of society. To utilize this strategy the company can include its partnership with charities in its advertising.
In the early days of the Hyundai brand, it owned the word “cheap” in consumers’ minds. In order to reposition the brand, the company redesigned its cars to be more contemporary and launched an unprecedented warranty program that competitors are still trying to copy today. Consumer perceptions were changed as the new car styling attracted their eyes and the warranty appealed to their wallets as well as to their need for a sense of trust and security when making a big ticket purchase. Today, Hyundai’s brand reputation is much better than it was over a decade ago.