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Brand Strategy: Everything You Need To Know (With Examples)

Written by: Kaine Levy

 

If you’ve ever looked at brands like Apple, McDonald’s, or Nike and thought, “How the hell did they build such amazing brands?” Well, the answer is brand strategy, and you can do it too. In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about brand strategy, what it is and how it works so you too can build a brand worth talking about.

Image of a text: "Brand Strategy 101"

What is Brand Strategy?


Brand strategy is a step-by-step roadmap that shows companies to position their brand and product in the marketplace.


The purpose of brand strategy is to:


• Create a consistent customer experience across all touchpoints of the business

• Appeal to specific consumer groups to accelerate business growth

• Identify gaps in the market in order to beat competitors


Contrary to popular belief, brand strategy is not brand design.


As the name suggests, brand strategy is more about discovering, researching, and planning. This ensures that everything that follows is on-brand and appeals to the intended target market. Brand design, on the other hand, is about creating deliverables that accurately reflect the intended strategy.


Therefore, brand strategy should always be the first stage in the process of building a brand before any logos, colours, typefaces, websites, or marketing are created.


Fear not, though. If you’ve jumped ahead and designed your brand already, it’s never too late to rebrand.


Why Brand Strategy is Important


If you were planning a trip across the country, would you drive there without a sat nav or planning your route? I doubt it. You’d get VERY lost and that would cost you a lot in fuel.


What about starting a new business? Would you do that without a business plan? I sure hope not! No investor would back you without a business plan so you’d just end up wasting your own money.

The same is true for branding. You can’t go to market with a brand that hasn’t been set up to succeed and generate profit.


If a business is the operational machine that exchanges a product or service for money, then a brand is how you package it in a way that is different to existing options and appeals to a certain target market.

This is why brand strategy is so important. Customers have dozens if not hundreds of similar options to choose from. Brand strategy helps you communicate why they should buy from you over a competitor.


What Does a Brand Strategy Include?


What’s included in a brand strategy will vary depending on who you go to. Some solopreneurs will give you deliverables in one day, other bigger agencies can take as long as six months. As you can imagine, the result of each of these will differ massively.


Surprise, surprise, you get what you pay for.


Unfortunately, there is no official regulatory body for brand strategists, so make sure you work with someone that has a proven framework and a solid track record.


At our firm, Ventur Agency, the process takes 8-10 weeks on average. Here’s what a complete brand strategy framework should include:


Vision, mission, purpose, and values: this is what we call the brand substance or internal brand which helps align the leadership team and breeds strong company culture.


Brand personality: defining how the brand will show up in the market, how it looks, how it acts, and what tone of voice it uses to create an engaging customer experience.


Consumer research: an in-depth look at the ideal target market to understand their needs and pain points.


Competitive analysis: a thorough understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of competitors in order to uncover gaps in the market.


Positioning strategy: deciding how the brand will occupy a unique position in the market that will achieve buy-in from customers, employees, and investors.


Brand name and tagline: if required, developing a new brand name and tagline that supports the positioning strategy and appeals to the intended target market.


Roadmap: a step-by-step package of everything listed above, making it easy to implement and execute the new brand strategy.


Of course, some agencies may include more or fewer items than those listed above, but this is what we believe are the core and essential elements of brand strategy.


What is an Example of Good Brand Strategy?


As you may have realised, there is a lot that goes into brand strategy so it can be difficult to identify good examples at a high level. Anyone can look at Apple and say “That’s a great brand!” but it helps to be more specific in order to understand why.


Here are some specific examples of effective brand strategy:


1. Nespresso [Positioning]

Nespresso has taken the coffee market by storm, carving out a large gap in a highly saturated industry.

Nespresso positions themselves for affordable luxury, using George Clooney as their brand ambassador to depict elegance and charm whilst keeping prices affordable. This enables them to successfully target both the average coffee enthusiast and the aspiring coffee connoisseur.


2. Webflow [Brand Personality]

Webflow is a website-building platform like Wix, Wordpress, or Squarespace, but their brand personality is the best in their niche.


Webflow knows that web design hasn't got the best reputation for being particularly exciting". So, to combat this, they use a hilarious yet informative tone of voice, making web design much more fun and accessible to the average Joe.


3. 344 Audio [Visual Identity]

We had to include one of our own clients on this list, 344 Audio, who specialise in creating soundscapes for movies, shows, and games.


Hailing from Manchester, the home of the Industrial Revolution, 344 Audio proudly wears their heritage on their sleeve across their entire visual identity. From gritty textures and vintage colours to structured typefaces and more, this is a brilliant example of strong visuals that tell a story.


Visual identity isn’t technically included in brand strategy. However, it’s a really good example of how great strategy can turn into great execution.


Brand Strategy Vs Marketing Strategy


The most common mistake people make is they confuse brand strategy with marketing strategy. They are not the same thing.


Brand strategy is about setting the long-term vision for the business. Marketing strategy, on the other hand, is the tactics you implement in the short term to achieve that vision.


Therefore, marketing strategy comes after brand strategy. Once you know where you’re going and why, you can then work out how to get there.


Some examples of marketing strategy would be:


• Emailing marketing

• Social media marketing

• Content marketing

• SEO

• PR

• Advertisements


And so on. More specifically, it’s how each of these individual elements work together to create the overall marketing strategy.


What is Business Strategy?


I wanted to give a quick shoutout to business strategy because it does share some similarities with brand strategy.


Business strategy and brand strategy are not the same thing.


Earlier we said that “if a business is the operational machine that exchanges a product or service for money, then a brand is how you package it in a way that is different to existing options and appeals to a certain target market.”


Therefore, business strategy focuses more on the operational machine. It is primarily concerned with setting revenue targets, KPIs (or key performance indicators), winning over investors, and considering the best interests of the key stakeholders and board members.


Brand strategy, on the other hand, focuses more on how the business can maintain a positive reputation by creating memorable experiences for anyone who comes into contact with it.


Both brand strategy and business strategy are concerned with maximising profits for the company. However, they both achieve that goal in very different ways. To achieve maximum growth, you need both working together.


How To Develop Your Own Brand Strategy


So, the cat’s out of the bag. Brand strategy is the secret behind the world’s biggest and most successful brands.


Now you know what it is, why it’s important, and what it should include, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I create a brand strategy for my business?”


The answer is you need help.


The truth is that brand strategy is an investment. The reason for this is not only because it’s hugely influential to business growth but also because it’s very difficult to do internally. You need a fresh, outside perspective.


If you’re the jam inside the jam jar, it’s almost impossible to read your own label from the inside. But, armed with your newfound knowledge of the importance of brand strategy, you’re already ahead of 95% of other businesses.


The key is to use that knowledge and take action. The sooner you start building your brand using strategy, the quicker you will start hitting targets, gaining market share, and making a real difference in the world of business.


Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

 

About the author:

Kaine Levy is a certified brand strategist and the founder of Ventur Agency. With over a decade of experience in the branding and marketing space, Kaine has helped companies internationally grow successful brands using his proprietary NewVenturᵀᴹ framework. His expertise has been recognised in industry publications, and he regularly speaks at events around the UK, sharing his insights and inspiring others to build human brands that do good for the world. Kaine resides in London, UK, is an avid musician, and loves being a dad to his pet cockatiel.



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