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Why You Need a Brand Strategy
Your brand is the essence of your business. It’s the personality, spirit, and outlook, all rolled into one. It’s how your customers distinguish you from your competitors, and it allows them to connect with your business emotionally.
Branding gives your business the spark of life that it needs to succeed. However, without a proper brand strategy, you may find that your branding efforts fall short.
How important is branding and why do you need a brand strategy? Let’s have a look.
What is a Brand Strategy?
In the same way that you would draw up a business plan before you start a company, you need to develop a brand strategy before you approach branding.
A brand strategy is a layout of how you plan to have your business connect with your target audience. It should include important information about your brand, such as: your mission and purpose; details about your target audience; your core values; and your competitor advantage.
Ultimately, you need to establish what your brand stands for, the promises you will make to your customers, and the personality your brand will portray through your marketing efforts.
By defining your brand strategy before you make any other moves gives you a solid foundation upon which you can build your brand. When you have a strategy, understanding what is the importance of branding becomes easier. Your strategy is also a great reference point when you look at your brand performance later down the line.
How Important is Branding?
Now that we know what a brand strategy is, we need to look at what is the importance of branding before we build our strategy. To understand the importance, we need to look at that previous question of “how does branding add value?”
Branding can add value to your business in the following ways:
1. Distinguishing you from the competition
Thanks to the internet, competition between similar businesses is fiercer than ever. Because the answer to your audience’s problems is just a click away, you need to make sure that they click on your business instead of your competitors. Your brand will more than likely be the reason they choose you, so you have to make sure that it sets you apart from the rest. The more recognisable and trustworthy your brand, the greater the chance that they will pay attention.
2. Branding breathes life into your product or service
No matter what you sell, you want your offering to be more than just a commodity. It should be a solution to a problem - what your audience turns to in their time of need. Otherwise, it becomes just a ‘thing’ that is either replaceable or can be discarded. Branding adds emotion and connection to your ‘thing’ to give it a life force of its own.
3. Branding touches the hearts and minds of your audience
Understanding “what is the importance of branding” can be summed up by the feelings of your audience. If your brand makes them feel something, they are more likely to sit up and pay attention. The entire brand experience comes into play here. If you leave your audience feeling “warm and fuzzy”, they’ll crave that again and again. That’s how you build a loyal customer base.
4. Branding builds trust and loyalty
If you can build a solid connection with your audience, they’ll want to stick by you. Much like any relationship, you need to feed this emotional connection in order to maintain it. Branding can help you do this because it’s an easy way to make your customers feel special and wanted. Your brand is the ‘face’ of your business, and humans are much more likely to trust something with a face and a personality than an indistinguishable entity. So, make that ‘face’ a good one and you’ll keep your customers hooked.
5. Branding builds market share
If you think of some of the biggest brands in the world, remember that they didn’t start on the top. They meticulously built their brand from the ground up, expanding their market share as they went. Now, multi-million dollar businesses exist from their efforts. And it all boils down to branding.
6. Branding is more than just a product
Often, brands live longer than the product originally offered. That’s the beauty of a brand. If you create a strong, recognizable, and trustworthy brand, your audience will be interested in your offering, no matter what it is. So, if you find that you want to change what your business produces, your brand will help carry the transformation and make your new offering successful. This flexibility alone answers the question of how important is branding.
7. Branding increases product value
No matter what you charge, if your brand is highly sought after, your customers will be happy to pay for it. Obviously, this is within reason, but brands like Tom Ford can charge what they charge because their customers love them. Even if similar, cheaper products exist.
Ultimately, your brand is what makes the sale.
What Should Your Brand Strategy Look Like?
Now that we understand the answer to the questions, “what is the importance of branding” and “how does branding add value”, we can move on to building a strategy.
In order to do this, you need to take a look at why you started your business in the first place. What problem are you trying to solve?
You need to build your brand around a solution. Because that is the reason your audience will look to you in the first place. Consider the pain-points of your potential customers in the market. What do they want to see? Why should they choose your business over others?
Once you have a better understanding of what you’re offering and why, here’s how you continue:
Start with a Mission Statement
A mission statement is your business’s goal. What do you intend to achieve with your product or service? You should clearly define what industry you are in and how you will impact it.
Defining your industry is important to branding because it signals to your target audience that you are what they are looking for. This will also have a direct impact on your marketing because it will inform all the campaign decisions you make.
Your mission statement is a great reference point if you ever find that your business is losing its way. It’s a good idea to go back to basics.
Develop Your Purpose Statement
Your purpose statement tells everyone why your business is necessary. Are you responding to a gap in the market? Or, are you taking an already fulfilled need but making the method better and easier?
You have to clearly indicate how your brand benefits those who will come to use your product or service. How are you going to fill whatever void may exist in their lives?
Get a Grasp of Your Target Audience
Your target audience is the group of people you intend to market your product or services to. You can also develop a specific buyer persona if you need a more targeted approach. Either way, understanding your buyer is vital to how you approach branding and marketing.
Again, if we look at the question, “what is the importance of branding?”, we need to look at its importance to the people who will see it. How does branding help them? How does branding add value to their lives?
In order to answer these questions, you need to be specific about your audience. Define demographics, interests, and how your audience will find you. Not only will this help to develop a brand direction, but it will also help with your marketing strategy later on.
Your target audience should inform all decisions you make in terms of branding, from the font you use to what your brand voice should be. Everything should always come back to ‘what the people want’. Or, to be more specific, ‘what your people want’.
Set Out Your Brand Values
We are living in a time where societal values have become more important than ever. Because of this, your brand’s values are just as important to customers as the values of those they associate with. Customers will hold your brand to a specific standard, so you need to make sure your values reflect what you want that standard to be.
The best way to do this is to be clear from the get-go. Define your values in a way that will help your audience to see them and align with them. This will also add to strengthening their trust and relationship with your brand. Clear values instantly denote trust. This speaks even further to the question of “what is the importance of branding”.
When you define your values, it helps to know what values you dislike in other brands. Do they focus too much on making a ‘quick buck’? Do they sound sincere or are they being opportunistic? By ruling out the values you want to stay away from, you’ll better understand those that you want to use.
While you do want to have your own voice when it comes to your values, you also want to consider what your customers think of you. If your customers say that you are helpful, that could be a good value to add. If they say that your product or service is empowering, you should look to aligning your values with that concept.
Ultimately, your values will become the ‘soul’ of your brand. So, make sure that you’re happy with what they reflect.
Define Your Competitor Strategy
Before you start marketing your brand, you need to clearly set out what it is that only your business can do. This is called your competitor strategy.
Does your business provide a product or service unlike any other? Or, do you simply do it better than everyone else?
A clear and well-defined competitive strategy will help you to focus your branding and your marketing. By showing your audience why you are unique and the reason they should be buying your product, they will link your brand to a valuable solution in their minds.
Be honest and definite when it comes to your competitor strategy.
What is the Importance of Branding for Your Business?
Understanding how important branding is to your business is fairly simple. If you want to turn your offering from a ‘thing’ into a solution, you need proper branding. In order to make sure your branding is the best it can be, you should focus on creating a clear and workable brand strategy.
Wizard has over 15 years of experience in turning small & medium businesses into successful brands. We take a holistic approach to marketing by starting from the basics and building a workable strategy for our clients. We believe in a targeted approach, focusing on specific key performance indicators, like return on investment, to make sure that what we do works.
We are now offering our Scale Up Service for small to medium enterprises. It is a unique service that combines the effect of a premium advertising agency, a digital marketing agency, and a 360 agency, at the same time. We can bring new potential to your business and help you to feel like a million-dollar brand without expanding your budget.
With Wizard, you won’t have to worry about the question “what is the importance of branding?”. We’ll take care of it for you.