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Tell me, what comes to mind when you think of some of the biggest brands in the world? What do you envision in your mind’s eye when you think of Coca Cola? Apple? RayBan?

I’m going to hedge a bet and say that you didn’t just picture the product alone. After all, Coca Cola is more than just a soft drink, Apple is more than technology and RayBan are more than just a pair of sunnies.

What is it about these brands that make them so different? Here’s a clue: no, it’s not about their mortgage-sized advertising budgets. You see, when we buy from these brands, we’re buying more than just the product; we’re buying the experience that each brand offers. 

From the language used on social media captions, to colour palettes and the materials used in packaging, the companies who create strong brands know that their brand needs to live everywhere; their name extends far beyond the product label. When executed well, these brands can entice consumers to choose their products amongst a line up of others.

“A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder

For businesses of all sizes, brand is one of – if not the most – important asset. It gives your company an identity, makes it memorable, encourages consumers to purchase from you, supports your marketing and gives your employees something to be proud of.

So how does one create a high-performing brand that both consumers and employees alike will love?

By crafting and effectively mastering your brand strategy. 

By presenting consistent branding, businesses can increase profits by almost 25%. So really, the proof is in the pudding. 

However, before we dive into all things brand strategy, let’s just clear the air up real quick about one of the biggest misconceptions about brand strategy…

YOUR BRAND IS NOT SOLELY YOUR PRODUCT, LOGO, WEBSITE OR NAME.

While all of these details help in making up your brand, your brand is actually all of that and more. It’s the intangible stuff – the emotion that’s tied to all interactions with your brand. That’s what really separates the powerful brands from the forgettable brands.

To help in understanding what is arguably a subjective matter, we’ve broken down some of the most important components of a brand strategy and their associated benefits that will help to keep your company relevant for decades to come.

What is brand strategy?

As I touched on above, ‘brand’ can be best described as the feeling/emotion that comes to mind rather than a specific element (like a logo or colour palette for example). Rather, it’s a combination of reputation and perception.

“Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time” – Elon Musk

This means that ultimately, your brand comes into fruition because of your consumers. It’s what they say it is, it’s what they take away from it; it’s whether or not they believe in it. 

A powerful brand will forge a personal connection with its audience that often transcends the offering itself. The best brands (like those mentioned at the beginning of this article) make us feel something. We become attached to them, because they mirror our values and stand for something that we believe in. Simply by our acts of selection, we intentionally communicate those parts of ourselves with the world. Using Apple as an example, we don’t say “I have a laptop”, we say “I have a Macbook.”

Tying this into brand strategy; the unique and powerful brand positioning of Apple and their products wouldn’t be possible without an overarching brand strategy.

Through the lens of business talk, your brand strategy outlines how your company will build rapport and favorability within the market. The overall goal of a brand strategy is to become memorable in the eyes of the consumer – putting the power in their hands so that they decide to choose you over your competition.

In layman’s terms, your brand strategy clearly explains why your company exists (and no, I don’t mean in terms of making money). It defines what it is that makes your brand what it is, what sets it apart from the competition and how you want your customers to perceive it. It’s all about impact. What impact does your brand make on those who interact with it?

Your brand strategy should never leave anyone wondering ‘so what’? You need to know and be able to articulate what makes your brand different. After all, if you can’t, how can anyone else?

Why is brand strategy important?

Putting a number value to brand strategy is a difficult task, and varies by industry. However, one thing that we can all agree on, is that brand is one of the most valuable intangible assets for any business. While we’ve seen many big-named companies spend millions of dollars advertising their brand yearly, it’s interesting to note that in 2020, intangible assets accounted for 70% of the global economy. Hence why brand contributes such a substantial amount to balance sheets!

However, you might be wondering how brand strategy affects your businesses’ bottom line. Well, brand strategy helps businesses to achieve growth in a variety of direct and indirect ways. Brand strategy isn’t a ‘nice to have’ element that brings consistency and clarity to branding and marketing, it makes a real impact on the levers of business growth.

Here are some ways how:

Brand influences perceived value

There are two ways in which you can achieve business growth without adding to your offering. These are increasing prices or increasing the perceived value of what you already have. 

Thankfully, your brand strategy is all about increasing the perceived value of your product and/or service offering.

How do you do this?

Rather than focusing on particular features, take a more macro approach and understand what the bigger benefit to using/working with your brand solves; identify WHY you exist.

Brand develops trust and loyalty

We’ve all heard the saying “people don’t buy products, they buy brands”, but have you ever stopped to question what exactly that means? In a nutshell, this well-known business saying cuts straight to the crux of what branding is all about; trust.

You might not realise it, but when you combine all of your branding elements and mix them with consistency across all of the touchpoints of your business, you’re building on the relationship that you share with your audience. Like with any relationship, when fostered and nurtured, this develops a really strong foundation of trust.

Your brand strategy is the catalyst for which consumers understand, purchase and eventually come to rely on your brand.

Brand helps you to stand out amongst your competitors

When executed well, your brand strategy will help enable your audience to distinguish you amongst alternatives in the industry. 

Hone in on what you want to be known for and focus on building those associations in your customers minds.

Tip: While it is important that you remain aware of what your competition is doing, don’t become so fixated on their actions that they dictate your every move. Focus on what you offer and what makes you stand out.

Brand improves employee satisfaction and retention

While efforts put into establishing your brand are great for building brand recognition and trust amongst consumers, it also plays a huge role in attracting and retaining top talent.

In the ‘Putting Purpose to Work’ study by PWC, it was found that 83% of employees stated that having a sense of purpose gives them meaning in their day-to-day work.

When a company is crystal clear on what it stands for – what is the vision and mission – it’s only natural that it appeals to an engaged and skilled workforce that shares the same ethos. 

The importance of brand strategy

Managing a brand is no easy feat; it’s hard work. However, by moving your brand strategy from the periphery of your strategy to the core, you are future-proofing your business in a way that differentiates you from the crowd, while also reinforcing your uniqueness, strengthening your selling power and increasing your brand value – what’s not to want there?

If you need help in getting your brand strategy in place, let us do the hard work for you! Our brand workshops help you to discover your ‘why’, align your positioning, differentiate you from your competitors and engage with your target audience. Fill out this form here for more info, or drop us an email at hello@contentcollectiveco.com.au