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The Branding Blog

What Do I Need for a Brilliant Brand Strategy?


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“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Old Ben was a pretty savvy businessman, starting the most popular newspaper of his day at the ripe old age of 23. 

And in a day when many business owners worked right up to the bitter end, Franklin was wealthy enough to retire at 43 – precisely 20 years after he started. All before that famous kite thing came along (Ben’s kite thing, not our company).

It’s a good bet he never failed to plan.

And it’s also a good bet that if you don’t have a brilliant brand strategy behind your business, you’re planning to fail. 

Your brand strategy is a plan for reaching your business’s long term goals — the big picture, if you will — for where you want your brand to go and how you want it to grow. It’s how you’ll get from Point A today to a future Point B. 

Every successful brand, whether shiny new or trusty veteran, needs a solid brand strategy to make sure they’re moving in the right direction, toward the right outcomes. 

We’re going to look at the five elements of a strong brand strategy and how they all fit together to guide and grow your business, including:

Ready? Let’s make old Ben proud.

Guidelines for Creating a Brand Strategy

While we’re not very fond of rules here at Red Kite, when it comes to creating your brand strategy, there are a few guidelines to follow. These will make sure you build a strong and unique brand.

Consider the Competition – But Not Too Much

  1. Stand out, be unique, and don’t play in someone else’s back garden. No one likes a copycat.
  2. Be careful of comparisons. Don’t unwittingly tie your brand to a competitor in the customer’s mind.

Consider the Customer – a Lot

  1. Answer their why. Your product or service, your entire business — it has to serve a purpose. Your customer needs to know why they should care enough to choose you.
  2. Give them a story, not a product or service. Build an emotional attachment to your brand through your marketing messages (we’ll cover more on this later). 
  3. Listen to what they’re really saying. Is it, “I love to garden, but don’t have the time” or is it really, “I feel guilty that I don’t care enough to make my garden a priority”? The distinction makes all the difference when it comes to marketing.
  4. It’s always all about them. It’s never about you, your products or your services. 

Go Forth With Confidence and Guts

  1. Be bold. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to step outside the box. Go against the grain. Go a little nuts, even. 
  2. Look to the future. It’s great that your product or services solve today’s problem. What about in 2 years? 5? 10?
  3. Be specific. Vagueness has no place in planning or executing a brand strategy. 

Now that we have those guidelines out of the way, let’s look at the moving parts of a brand strategy and what they do. 

Internal Brand Definition

Beginning Graphic Design
Image courtesy

The four elements of your brand’s definition characterise who you are, what you want, why you do it, and how. And since it’s internal, it’s for you and your people (all your people, not just marketing). 

Your Purpose

Yes, we know; you want to make money. Other than that, though, why do you do what you do? What’s the justification for your company? 

Your Vision

What do you see when you look ahead 2, 5, or 10 years? How much do you want to grow? Does it include adding a new product line or service offering? Think long term. Think someday. And remember, be bold and risky. Fly your kite in that storm. 

Your Mission

No, this is not your mission statement, although having one of those greatly helps in the overall scheme of things. This mission, should you choose to accept it, is the steps you will take daily, weekly, monthly, to reach that vision you just defined. 

Your Values

What really matters? What values, ethics, and principles matter most to you as a brand?

As you can imagine, figuring all of this out brings clarity to your brand strategy. It inspires everyone on your team and gives them the strong foundation they need to see your brand strategy succeed.

Your Brand Position

Knowing who you serve and who you’re up against for their business is vital to your brand strategy

Remember: branding strategy depends on knowing who is out there just as much as knowing who you are inside. 

Your Audience

There are three questions you should ask yourself:

  1. What is your market share? 
  2. Who are your people? 
  3. Who do your products and services serve?  

Specifically defining both your customers and potential customers guides nearly all of your marketing efforts. 

Your Competitors

You not only need to know who they are but how they are doing. What do they excel at? What do they fail at

You can often defeat them by merely doing well at whatever it is they don’t. 

Again, knowing your competitors helps with your marketing strategy and your overall brand strategy. 

Your Market

Lastly, you need to know your market. What gaps are there? What can you do differently or additionally to help fill them? Meeting an unfilled need is often the secret to success.

If creating an internal brand definition clarifies everything for everyone inside, determining these elements gives you some vital specific information about what’s going on outside your business. 

Your Brand Persona

This portion of creating a brand strategy can be fun. Here’s how:

Think of your brand as a person

New brand on the block, or old and wise? What kind of clothes do you wear? What sort of things do you like to do? Are you a morning person or a night owl? 

Cat person or dog lover? City or country? Thai takeaway or pizza?

Who’s your favourite band or singer? What do you sing in the shower? 

Your brand persona is the human face you put on your brand. 

Who do you want to be? What voice is singing your song?

Brand Messaging and Communications

brand illustration with pen

Speaking of voice, what are you saying to your crowd? 

Your brand’s messages, your story and how you tell it, are almost as important to your customers and potential customers as your marketing visuals. Messaging is a vital part of any strategy. Brand stories and brand voices encourage engagement and conversation with your customer. 

They can also create customer loyalty. Your people make those emotional attachments through your story. Those attachments become bonds that they are loath to break, creating a crowd of loyal, raving fans. 

Everything from your keywords for search engines to your tagline and motto to your brand name sends a marketing message about your brand.

Brand Visuals

woman graphic designer

Even more critical than the messages you send are the signals you use to send them. Your branding strategy would be a colourless, nearly lifeless form without them. Messaging engages. Visuals attract. 

You have to catch their eye before you can strike up a conversation. 

And there are so many ways to catch their eye that you can use in your strategy. Brand strategic visuals include:

  • Website
  • Brand logo and choice of colours
  • Social media profiles
  • Print materials
  • TV adverts
  • Signs
  • Brand identity system

These are the elements that make you instantly recognisable and stand out from the crowd. Your marketing and your brand strategy would be nearly pointless without them.

And that’s where we come in. 

Red Kite, Your Brand Strategy, and Your Future

Brand Strategy

Here at Red Kite, we flourish on brand identity and brand design. We hold a workshop with every new client at the beginning of their project just to gather all this vital information. We use it internally to guide our design team’s decisions.

We then create a brand style guide, which you can use to keep all current and future branding consistent. It’s your roadmap to your brand’s future. Your plan to keep failure away.

Contact us today to set up your first project. Ben would be thrilled.

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Chris

Chris Harris

FOUNDER | BRANDING & LOGO DESIGNER

Chris brings over a decade of industry experience to Red Kite working at design agencies in both the UK and Australia. Over the years he has accumulated a wealth of graphic design, strategic identity design and marketing experience. Chris is a hugely passionate identity designer endeavouring to offer the highest quality branding and logo design Brisbane and Australia wide. Chat to Chris about your branding.

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Chris Harris is a branding designer who helps businesses and brands grow by creating distinctive logos and brand identities, backed by strategy. Talk to Chris about your brand. 
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