Building a bulletproof brand strategy for your business can feel like trying to harness a tornado.
Yet, when done right, it’s your secret sauce for standing out in today’s cluttered digital landscape.
We’re talking more than just logos and taglines here. Think purpose, persona and the kind of brand story that has your audience hooked, line and sinker.
Ready to sculpt a brand strategy that not only resonates but also puts your brand on the map?
Let’s jump right into the first tip.
1. Define Your Brand’s Purpose
Remember that golden ticket in Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?
The one that offered more than just a factory tour — it opened a world of wonders, of Willy Wonka’s unimaginable delights.
Now, that golden ticket is your brand’s purpose. It’s more than just a reason for existence. It’s an invitation to a unique experience, a promise of value that only your brand can offer.
Defining your brand’s purpose isn’t about making a sales pitch or weaving marketing jargon. It’s about discovering your brand’s soul, its raison d’être.
It’s the why behind what you do — the commitment to your customers that transcends the transactional and moves into the realm of the transformational. It’s not about products or services but about the value you bring, the change you create and the lives you impact.
Consider Patagonia, the outdoor apparel brand.
They sell clothes, yes, but their purpose goes beyond mere transactions. They’re here “to save our home planet.” Every jacket they sell, every marketing campaign they run and every corporate decision they make aligns with this purpose. It’s a clarion call that resonates with their customers, connects on a deeper level and creates a community of outdoor enthusiasts.
Or take a glance at TED, a global community that’s all about spreading ideas.
Their purpose? “Spread ideas that matter.”
Simple, direct and incredibly impactful. This purpose guides their strategy, whether it’s hosting global conferences, sharing free TED Talks videos or fostering local TEDx events. The focus is always on sharing ideas that can change perspectives, spark conversations and inspire action.
So, how do you define your brand’s purpose? Start by asking questions that dive deep:
- Why does your brand exist? What’s the core reason behind your business’s existence beyond making a profit?
- What change does your brand aim to create? How do you want to improve your customers’ lives or make the world a better place?
- What unique value does your brand offer? What sets you apart from competitors in delivering value to your customers?
- How does your brand connect on a deeper level? What emotional and psychological needs of your customers does your brand fulfill?
Defining your brand’s purpose may feel like uncharted territory. It may even feel intimidating.
But remember, it’s not about crafting a catchy slogan or a marketing tagline. It’s about honesty, authenticity and a commitment to create value. It’s about being the brand that doesn’t just sell but also serves.
2. Research Your Target Audience
Can you imagine stepping into an arena blindfolded?
A sea of cheers, boos, hushed whispers, all bombarding you from every direction.
You’re in the dark, unaware of who’s applauding, who’s shaking their head and who’s sitting on the edge of their seats.
That’s what crafting a brand strategy without understanding your target audience feels like. It’s like swinging in the dark, hoping to hit the mark.
Who are you creating value for? Who would care about the change you aim to create? Who’s going to resonate with your brand’s purpose?
It’s more than a demographic profile or an exercise in statistics. It’s about peeling back the layers to uncover the real, living, breathing humans your brand seeks to serve.
So, let’s break it down:
This is just the tip of the iceberg — the age, gender, income level, location, education and occupation of your audience.
It’s crucial, yes, but it’s just the starting point.
Now, we’re diving deeper.
What are their interests, hobbies and lifestyles? What do they value, what are their opinions, attitudes and beliefs?
You’re not just selling to a 30-something female professional living in Seattle. You’re reaching out to an environmentally-conscious, fitness enthusiast, a lover of the outdoors who values quality and sustainability.
Needs and Pain Points:
This is where you strike gold…
What challenges do they face that your brand can solve? What needs and desires can your brand fulfill?
Is our Seattle professional struggling to find eco-friendly outdoor wear that doesn’t compromise style or quality?
Behaviors and Habits:
Where do they spend time online? What social media platforms do they use? What content do they consume, and what triggers them to purchase?
It’s about being where they are, speaking their language and creating a brand experience that seamlessly fits into their world.
One final note:
Understanding your target audience isn’t a one-and-done exercise.
It’s an ongoing process, a continuous conversation. You have to listen, observe and adapt. Over and over, again and again.
3. Conduct a Competitive Analysis
Picture yourself standing at the edge of a chessboard.
On one side, it’s you – your brand. On the other side, your competitors. The squares between? That’s the market, teeming with customers.
Winning in this strategic game of branding isn’t about annihilating your opponents. It’s about carving your own niche, your unique space in this grid. And that’s where competitive analysis comes in.
Competitive analysis is like being handed a pair of X-ray glasses that lets you peek into your competitors’ playbook. You’re able to see their moves, discern their strategies, understand their strengths and also spot their weaknesses.
It’s like uncovering hidden treasure maps that lead you to unique selling propositions, areas your competitors have overlooked or opportunities they’ve left untapped.
For a vivid illustration, let’s saunter down memory lane to the era of search engines before Google.
AltaVista, Yahoo, and others were dominating the landscape. But they missed something — simplicity. Amidst their crowded interfaces and complex algorithms, they overlooked the power of a clean, simple search page. Enter Google. It took this opportunity, offering a clean and uncluttered interface. And the rest is history. This ability to spot and seize upon a competitive gap is the real art of competitive analysis.
So, how does one conduct a competitive analysis? It’s a four-step dance:
- Identify Your Competitors: Look around. Who are the key players in your industry? Remember to consider both direct competitors (those who offer similar products or services) and indirect competitors (those who offer different products or services but target the same audience).
- Analyze Their Strategies: What branding tactics are they using? What’s their messaging style? How do they engage with their audience? Understanding these elements can help you pinpoint what’s working for them and where they’re falling short.
- Understand Their Unique Selling Propositions: What makes them stand out from the crowd? Is it their product quality, customer service, innovative approach or something else? Identifying these aspects can help you differentiate your brand and offer something unique to your audience.
- Spot Opportunities: Where are the gaps in their strategies? Where have they missed the mark? These areas become your opportunities to shine and offer something your competitors aren’t.
Keep in mind:
Competitive analysis isn’t about copying what your competitors are doing. It’s about learning from them, understanding the market dynamics and finding your unique path.
4. Develop a Brand Persona
Brands are like people. They have their unique vibe, a way they speak and a distinct character that sets them apart.
You remember how you feel when you’re around them. And just like you’re drawn to certain people, you’re attracted to specific brands.
But what is it that makes a brand so unique, so magnetic?
Think about your favorite brands. Picture them as a person.
Do they remind you of the life-of-the-party friend who’s always up for an adventure or the mentor who’s full of wisdom and guidance? Maybe they’re the playful friend who never fails to put a smile on your face.
That’s your brand persona — the character that your brand embodies. It’s not just a logo or a catchy tagline. It’s a personality that resonates with your audience, fostering deeper, more meaningful connections.
So how do you create a brand persona that strikes a chord? Let’s break it down.
Align with Your Audience:
Your brand persona should be a reflection of your target audience’s aspirations and values. They should see a part of themselves in your brand, a version they admire and aspire to be.
If your audience values sustainability and loves the outdoors, your brand persona might be the eco-warrior, strong, passionate and committed to making a difference.
Define the Characteristics:
Give your brand human traits. Is it adventurous or cautious, sophisticated or down-to-earth, playful or serious?
Map out the personality traits, behaviors and attitudes that define your brand.
Create a Visual and Verbal Identity:
Your brand persona dictates the tone of voice you use, the visual elements like colors and typography, and even the kind of content you share.
If your brand persona is the knowledgeable mentor, your content might be educational and informative, your tone authoritative yet approachable and your colors more muted and sophisticated.
Consistency is key.
Your brand persona should be the golden thread that runs through all your brand communications. Whether it’s a social media post, a product packaging or a customer service interaction, your brand persona should shine through, creating a cohesive and consistent brand experience.
Keep in mind:
Building a brand persona isn’t just an exercise in creativity…
It’s an act of empathy, of truly understanding your audience, what they value and how they want to feel when interacting with your brand.
It’s about bringing your brand to life in a way that connects, resonates and builds lasting relationships.
5. Embrace Social Media Engagement
You’re at a party, you strike up a conversation with someone. They talk endlessly about themselves.
That’s exactly how your audience feels when all you do is push out content without creating an avenue for engagement.
Let’s turn this around, shall we?
Welcome to the social media fiesta, where you aren’t just talking to your audience but engaging with them, creating a space for dialogue, connection and community.
It’s where your brand persona comes alive, where you cultivate relationships, where you show your audience that you’re not just a brand, but a brand that listens, understands and responds.
So, how do you dance to the rhythm of social media engagement? Here are a few tips:
Kick things off with thought-provoking questions, interesting polls or captivating stories.
Don’t just ask for a ‘Like’ or a ‘Share’. Aim to spark meaningful conversations that resonate with your audience and embody your brand persona.
Engagement isn’t a monologue, it’s a dialogue. Respond to comments, answer questions, address concerns.
Show your audience that their voice matters, that their opinions are valued. When they talk, you listen. When they share, you respond.
Leave the scripted responses at the door. Your audience craves genuine interactions.
Let your brand persona shine through in your responses. Keep it real, keep it human.
Embrace User-generated Content:
Your audience loves to be seen, heard and appreciated.
Share their content, give credit where it’s due and celebrate their engagement with your brand. This not only fosters a sense of community but also fuels further engagement.
Analyze and Adapt:
Keep an eye on your engagement metrics.
What’s working? What’s not?
Use these insights to refine your strategy, create content that ignites engagement and build a thriving social media community.
Which Brand Strategy Tips Are Your Favorite?
It isn’t easy…
And it takes some time…
But executing a well-planned brand strategy is the key to long-term success in today’s cluttered digital landscape.
And so is taking consistent action on the right things!
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