August 18, 2022 | Samuel Chapman
Table of Contents
When it comes to effectively marketing your brand, the best marketing strategy communicates a feeling as much as a message.
Big brands like Apple and Coca-Cola don’t sell billions of dollars in products by advertising a features list. The features are important, but the emotional connection is what usually makes the sale.
Marketers evoke emotion in potential customers through a creative mix of visual, textual, and audial interactions. Even a particular color can evoke brand recognition and connection. The multi-faceted effort of getting your customers to feel something that motivates them into action is called brand strategy. Your brand strategy is essential to marketing your products and to the success of your business.
Let’s look at the components of a successful brand strategy and the best practices for implementing a marketing strategy that correctly aligns customer experience with the desired outcome.
Brand strategy is the combining of your print, digital, and physical marketing efforts to drive desired consumer behavior for a specific product or service. Several different marketing practices are united under a unique and compelling brand experience that goes beyond communicating value or fulfilling a simple desire.
Brand strategy is highly individual to the product and the organization implementing it. What works for one product and group of buyers may have little effect on another. Therefore, your brand management relies on a deep understanding of whom you’re trying to sell to, what they want, and where they spend time. Brand strategy is an art as well as a science, relying on a technical framework to deliver a creative and emotional experience.
Brand strategy is one of the primary drivers of success for new and existing products. By delivering the right message in the right way, you can capture the imaginations of those most likely to invest in your product. A strong brand strategy can promote organizational success in several ways:
Driving growth and long-term goals: Customer acquisition is one of the most challenging and expensive aspects of the customer journey. Investing in a well-crafted brand strategy will bring new and return customers to your door, perpetuating growth and helping your organization achieve its long-term goals.
Building customer connections: Building customer lifetime value (CLV) can only occur when consumers feel a connection to your brand. Enthusiasts of a brand demonstrate loyalty to a product even when that product is more expensive than competitors in the field. Brand strategy is the chief driver of this connection.
Expanding market share: Brand evangelists don’t just love buying from their favorite brands—they love promoting them. Building an enduring brand experience can help you expand your market share even in saturated markets. When you invest in brand marketing, your ROI is increased by brand ambassadors who extend the reach of your messaging and provide social proof for customers with low or no brand awareness. This can make the customer acquisition cycle faster and less expensive.
Differentiating to define market position: Brand strategy isn’t just communicating features, but setting yourself apart from the pack. This is especially important for products or services in large or competitive fields. Differentiation incentivizes customers to choose your product over a similar one and stick with that product for the long haul.
Effective brand management is the result of a well-crafted, consistent, and differentiated message delivered to customers and prospects at the right time. Here are a few technical components that form the foundation of your brand strategy:
Brand purpose and promise: Brand purpose and promise are the reasons the business exists beyond just earning money. Successful brands convey their business purpose within each aspect of their marketing. Customers’ decisions, even for practical purchases, are heavily based on emotional responses. A well-demonstrated brand purpose and promise will help them make the leap from practical considerations to deal-closing emotional responses.
Audience targeting: To be successful, your brand must always speak to the correct people. Your target audience creates both exclusion and inclusion in your marketing. A well-positioned product quietly demonstrates whom it is intended to serve. Niching down into a specific target or demographic is part of both differentiation and connection.
Brand personality: Customers gravitate toward the personality of a brand as much as its products and features. For instance, with hundreds of automobile models available in the US, competition for customers who only buy one item every few years or more would seem like an uphill battle. However, the personality of an automobile brand is its chief differentiator from otherwise very similar products.
For instance, Kia differentiates itself by offering mid-priced, reliable vehicles with a youthful, sometimes irreverent brand approach that attracts a younger demographic of professionals who are interested in both fun and function.
Positioning: Brands with a keen awareness of their market segment can focus on their relevant strengths and drive adoption. Positioning is putting yourself at the intersection of your target buyer’s financial ability, life stage, interests, and other demographic qualities. Marketers must carefully position products within financial reach of, and in social alignment with, prospective customers.
Marketing strategy: All the above components come together in a bespoke strategy for driving the adoption of your specific product. This strategy involves knowing whom you are speaking to, where best to speak to them, and how. Your marketing and brand strategy is the framework that presents your creative marketing efforts to the marketplace to reach the right people.
A successful brand strategy only emerges from a deep understanding of the above components. Building your brand identity requires you to invest in research into your offering and your market.
Use the following steps to develop and refine your brand strategy to attract the right audience at the right time:
A high-level understanding of your brand objectives is the foundation of brand strategy. Are you bringing a new product to market from an unknown brand, pivoting an existing product to reach a new demographic, or expanding your reach into new and emerging consumer markets or segments? Your answer will form the framework for building the rest of your strategy.
Establish a long-term plan with distinct goals. Be as detailed as possible about your intended audience and your desired outcomes.
After you understand your brand’s objectives, invest in research to discover who is most likely to benefit from your product or service. Developing a deep understanding of your ideal customer, what they need, and how they interact with each other and the world is the second key component of a successful brand strategy.
Marketers build buyer personas—sometimes known as ideal customer avatars (ICAs)—that provide a valuable reference for crafting communication. When building your buyer persona, pay careful attention to the intimate details of your likely buyer to fine-tune your messaging. Include details like these:
By developing personas as close to an actual individual as possible, you will be more likely to capture their attention at the moment of intent.
Understanding the competitive landscape and your place within it will further guide your messaging and product positioning. Invest time in competitive analysis of your direct and indirect competitors, their unique value propositions, and where your services or products overlap and diverge. Look to competitive maps (for instance, the Forrester Wave or Gartner’s Magic Quadrant,) to understand and visualize your offering as compared to the other entries in the field. This market intelligence can inform every aspect of your marketing, from pricing and promotion, to feature roadmaps and product development.
Communicating across all channels may not be the most effective use of time or marketing budget for your product. Taking the intelligence derived from your market and customer research, you may choose to focus your advertising efforts on the channels or platforms that are most familiar to your intended audience.
Consider how your customer engages with the following marketing channels and develop your marketing framework using the channels that offer the highest chance of success.
Content marketing: Evaluate how your customer chooses to consume information and build a content plan to match. Younger buyers tend to prefer video over text and short-form presentations over longer video content. Older buyers may require more in-depth information and consume it through traditional means such as television or print advertising.
Social media: With much of the world now engaging regularly with social media, this channel will most likely form part of your marketing strategy. Here it pays to be selective about the platforms you use in your marketing efforts, because different social media platforms attract different audiences.
Email: Despite the level of inbox overwhelm most of us experience, email marketing remains one of the most effective methods of reaching your desired audience. More than half of consumers in a recent survey reported buying something through an email marketing channel monthly. Combining a contact marketing approach with an email marketing funnel provides broader access to potential customers. It helps them self-select by demonstrating interest when they provide an email address. Email marketing as one component of an omnichannel marketing campaign can significantly increase your product adoption over time, even if you initially reach customers with low interest.
Whichever channel you choose to include in your marketing campaign, success always comes back to forming genuine emotional connections with potential customers. Over 88% of consumers consider authenticity in messaging an essential part of choosing brands to buy from and support. Unifying your message and brand personality across every channel provides customers with a unique and cohesive experience that builds trust and increases acquisition over time.
A comprehensive brand strategy relies on doing a lot of things well. Using these best practices, you can quickly and efficiently craft and refine your brand strategy to drive growth and increase your audience:
Establishing a brand style guide in a team environment requires everyone to understand the brand’s personality and conventions. A style guide is the source of truth for questions about brand continuity and presentation. Your brand style guide should be clear and detailed enough that new team members can quickly understand and convey the features that define the brand’s personality.
Here are some facets of a brand style guide:
Brand voice (AKA tone of voice): Do you want to be perceived as happy, serious, whimsical, or bold? Brand voice is the difference between Ford’s “Built Ford Tough” and BMW’s “The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
Visual identity: This includes aspects like color palette, typography, iconography, photo presentation, videography style, and product form factor. Visual identity is everything that differentiates your brand without making a sound.
Brand story: The brand story communicates the reason for the brand’s existence and the values under which it operates. A brand story can be as simple as a family man launching a burger joint (Wendy‘s) or a marketing genius whose future vision defined a brand and a generation (Apple). A brand story forms a strong connection when customers can see themselves in the narrative.
Behind the scenes: Brand guides may also cover the technical aspects of your assets, from the way assets are organized and delivered (e.g., pillar pages) to on-page and off-page conventions for metadata, URL slugs, etc. A brand guide helps you craft and deliver your message efficiently, regardless of the medium.
Consistency is a critical component of a successful brand strategy. This refers to both messaging continuity and marketing approach. Brands must communicate consistently and evenly across their chosen channels and platforms, delivering a cohesive customer experience at all customer journey stages.
Consistency in messaging over time is also essential. For instance, Coca-Cola brand products have been around for 130 years, yet the brand’s iconic style and values have remained steady across the decades.
Brand strategy is not about the internal perception of a product but how the customer experiences the brand relationship. The most successful brands over the long term have a relentless dedication to a consistent and high-quality customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle.
Understanding the success of your brand strategy relies on knowing how your customers and larger audience perceive you. Establishing success metrics, such as key performance indicators (KPIs) and objectives and key results (OKRs), is one way to refine your technique and deliver a consistent experience.
There are several standard marketing metrics used to illustrate the success of your brand strategy:
Customer lifetime value (CLV): The average amount the customer spends during their relationship with the brand
Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): The average monthly revenue from recurring services like subscriptions or plans
Net promoter score (NPS): A measurement of customer loyalty to the brand
Share of voice (SOV): The measure of a brand’s influence on social media platforms
Customer churn rate: The percentage of customers who drop your service during a given period
Building an omnichannel brand strategy can be complex, especially in the new world of remote and distributed work. Virtually bringing together a team to drive messaging, advertising, visual assets, and more requires a centralized, collaborative workspace and repository. Technology such as a digital asset management (DAM) platform combines your creative assets and knowledge in one place, makes it easier for teams to collaborate, and helps you quickly deliver and measure your brand experience across all channels.
Building an iconic brand is a team effort. Creating continuity in your messaging, visual style, and creative assets requires coordination and communication. Aprimo helps creative marketers achieve better brand results through a centralized, dynamic digital asset management (DAM) platform that allows teams to work together from anywhere and create immersive customer experiences that engage and inform.
If you’re ready to drive better results in your brand strategy through the power of technology, try Aprimo for free and learn how digital asset management can transform the way you create and deliver a powerful message.