The average person is surrounded by thousands of brands daily, all fighting for top of mind awareness. Only the brands that have really thought about their core strategy will achieve their intended goal. The ones who haven’t simply get lost in the clutter.
The steps below will help kick-start your journey into strategic thinking and planning, and hopefully assist in understanding the fundamentals of brand strategy.
Know your mission
Once you have a solid brand idea and you know what you want to achieve with your brand, you need to establish what your purpose is. From a marketing perspective, we call this our mission. Essentially, defining the reason for your brand’s existence.
For example, Google’s goal or mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
Nike’s mission statement is to “bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”.
Everything Nike and Google do is driven by their mission. In using this approach, they ensure they are always true to their customers and audience, by delivering on their promise.
Similarly, everything that comes from your brand should directly link back to your mission. So, make sure yours is meaningful, aspirational and something you can also strive to deliver on. Ask yourself what problem you are solving. This will differentiate your brand and set you apart from the clutter.
Your brand’s purpose or mission is the driver and the reason why your brand exists. The easiest way to understand and formulate your brand’s purpose is to look at it through Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. Your purpose allows you to go back when times are tough and reminds you why you are here.
Know your audience
It’s never about attracting everybody, but rather about attracting those who truly believe in what you do – your purpose. Remember, it’s always quality over quantity.
Don’t assume you know people and know their thoughts. You must go out and do your research. Ask questions, research your competitors, do interviews and conduct focus groups sessions.
It’s also about the people who want to buy and be associated with your product or service.
Ask questions, get to know people, find out who they are and what they do. Understand them and then build your target profile.
When doing your research, it is important to think about the following:
- Who: The demographic.
- What: What do they do, what do they enjoy doing, and what do they need?
- Where: Where will you find them? (online, on weekends, at work, etc.)
- How: How they speak, how they like to be spoken to, and how they react?
- Why: What are their underlying motivations?
Building your target profile can be challenging, so I have included six extra steps to help you along your journey.
Know your platforms
It’s important to know and understand the platforms that are relevant to your brand and your audience.
When it comes to the digital space, it is vital to know what tools and platforms to use and when to use them. It’s not unknown that the digital landscape is constantly evolving and adapting, so it is up to you to ensure you stay up to date with all the latest trends and understand what works and what doesn’t.
If this idea seems daunting to you, that’s okay. Look for help – there are many digital consultants waiting to assist and guide you through the chaos and straight into getting results!
A few digital marketing platforms and channels to consider would be Google Adwords, Facebook Marketing, Instagram Marketing, LinkedIn Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and GoDaddy Email Marketing and having a modern, up-to-date website and online store.
There are several good examples and guides of how to identify the secrets of a successful digital marketing strategy for your brand.
Build an online presence
Once you have established what platforms your audience uses and what communication channels are available to you, it’s time to build your online presence.
You want to be seen and heard. Most importantly, you want to break through the clutter.
Remember to go back to your purpose and your audience – start from there. You want to create awareness and engage. Don’t just follow the crowd and do what everybody else does. Do what works for you, your brand and your audience.
When building an online presence, you need to find out what online channels your audience uses. Do they own a smartphone or a computer? Are they active on social media? How do they search for something they need?
Then you need to set up your relevant profiles, accounts and pages and start pushing messaging and brand-related content through the channels you know your audience uses.
A few examples of possible accounts, pages and profiles a brand could need to set up include a fully-functional website, a Google Adwords account, a Facebook Business page, a business LinkedIn account, and a business Instagram account.
In today’s day and age, you need to make sure all of these accounts work to help your brand be found. The best way to do this is by creating a website as the anchor of your online presence. Focus on building a website that is easy for your audience to use, conveys what you do and what sets you apart, and makes it easy for them to contact you.
Remember, your online presence needs to be consistent across all platforms. Make sure you use the same colours, fonts, imagery and language throughout. To ensure consistency, you need to create a corporate identity.
The next step is to drive your audience to your website. But how do you get relevant people to visit you online? Well, you already know who you are looking for and where to find them. Now you now just need to make some noise and use the right channels so they can find you.
Pro Tip: If you feel confident with data, it is important to track your performance and implement changes based on your results. Google Analytics is a great way to keep tabs on your website data, and understand what channels are driving quality traffic to your site.
Have a plan
Not only should you have a clear plan in place, but you should also set goals for those plans. The digital space can be overwhelming. Your plan will guide you throughout your journey and help you stay on track.
Understand what you want to do and what you hope to get out of it. Plan each step, understand what each step entails, and plan what to do next. It’s important to also plan a few steps in advance.
After establishing your accounts, it may help to plan calendars and monthly data checks, as well as updating your plan once you’ve gained insights from completing an evaluation. Having a plan also allows you to go back and see where you went wrong and what you did right.
As mentioned before, you need to constantly evaluate and check in with what you are doing and what you’re planning to do next. However, don’t let this hinder your movements. Set dates in which you can monitor your progress.
Having relevant analytical programs and monthly reports in place is a great way to track your progress and assess whether you are achieving the goals you set for yourself.
Almost every platform mentioned above has its own report-generating system. It’s up to you to use them.