Whether you’re a start-up itching to be first out of the gate with your new tech or a business that’s already operating but not gaining traction, here’s the deal: You need a brand strategy.
You need a brand strategy even if you’re already selling your product, even if you know there’s demand for your services. Even if you’ve got a name and a logo and a license all lined up.
You could throw money into your marketing like handfuls of confetti. You could have an offering that makes your customer base weep with WANT. You could be priced well and in the market to sell, but none of those things actually mean that anyone’s going to pick up what you’re putting down.
You know what will?
A strategically built brand identity.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that businesses who don’t undertake a strategic branding process before they launch are pretty much doomed to fail. That sounds pretty dramatic, but the effect of a cohesive and calculated brand identity is dramatic. It’s what will entice your customers to engage with your offering. It’s what will allow your business to stand the test of time, and what will make you S T A N D O U T in a crowded market.
The gospel of strategic branding is comprehensive analysis, research and testing. This process forms the blueprint for the house you’re building with your brand. If solid plans aren’t in place before construction begins, that’s when things start to go haywire, like on those Grand Designs episodes that makes you shout at the TV. You know, where the builder just ‘guesstimates’ the size of a window frame when they’re ordering the glass to go inside it.
A product or service without a solid brand has a limited lifespan. The wheels will fall off at some point, and it could have nothing to do with the quality of that product or service. More likely, it will result from something that has been missed, misunderstood or miscalculated about the marketplace it is operating within and/or the customer base it needs to appeal to.
Conversely, a brand that is strategically designed will effectively engineer the response of customers to it. Put simply, a powerful brand will decide what it wants its customer to think, feel and do every single time it comes into contact with that brand. Securing this response will then determine everything the brand does. No action is not calculated, no decision occurs in a vacuum, particularly when it comes to marketing and the external presence of a brand: how they appear, how they speak to their audience, who they choose to sanction or shun them, in what way they develop their offering and flex to fit changing markets.
If it seems calculated, that’s accurate. Of course it is! But, a brand’s identity still has to come from a genuine place to preserve their credibility or people will see right through it and run for the hills (case in point McDonald’s, see also, Pepsi). The ability of a brand to position customers exactly where it wants them (and itself exactly where it wants to be in relation to them) is golden. It’s what success is made of. What brand wouldn’t want its prime consumers to be putty in its hands?
Positioning a business requires due diligence, and that means strategic branding. Strategic branding involves:
identifying and analysing your target demographic
understanding applicable behavioural economics
evaluating your competitors
finding your unique offer
determining if there’s a legitimate gap in the market for that offer
ensuring there is genuine value in your value proposition
building a coherent, consistent and targeted brand identity, aesthetic, voice and position for your customers to connect to;
AND, last but not least, remaining authentic and accessible in how you engage with them.
There’ll be more on that last point in an upcoming blog…
In the meantime, get in touch with Pepebucks and we’ll help do the strategic legwork of building your brand. That way, your business can be part of the landscape forever: a home for all seasons, not just a house of cards.