Brand strategy

What is brand strategy? 

  • Brand strategy is a long-term plan for the development of a successful brand in order to achieve specific goals. (Hubspot)
  • Brand strategy is an essential tool to develop your brand components (logo, packaging, brand equity, voice..), so that they work together in the minds of purchasers to give them confidence when considering making a purchase. (Handshake blog)

(Source: Techmodish blog)

What are brand strategy goals? 

According to Harvard Business Review, building a solid brand benefits b2b companies in three ways:

  1. It is an economical means of addressing customer concerns at scale
  2. It prevents ad hoc marketing efforts that result in unclear messaging
  3. It allows B2B marketers to increase margins and build loyalty with their own cusotomer base and protects them from competition

na%cc%88ytto%cc%88kuva-2017-2-11-kello-11-38-47

(HBR, Handshake blog)

What are the elements of good brand strategy?

6 Key elements:

  1. Target audience
  2. Brand promise
  3. Brand perception
  4. Brand values
  5. Brand voice
  6. Brand positioning

Components for a comprehensive branding strategy:

  1. Purpose
    • Understanding what your business promises is necessary when defining your brand positioning, but knowing why you wake up everyday and go to work carries more weight. In other words, your purpose is more specific, in that it serves as a differentiator between you and your competitors.
    • Functional  vs. Intentional purpose:
      • Evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons, such as making money
      • Focus on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world
    • IKEA is a great example of providing value beyond the point of sale

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2. Consistency

  • All messaging cohesive.
  • Consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty.
  • Consider using a style guide- everything from tone of voice to the color scheme
  • Coca-Cola is a great example of harmonizing every element of your marketing

na%cc%88ytto%cc%88kuva-2017-2-10-kello-15-52-25

3. Emotion

  • People have an innate desire to build relationships
  • –> find a way to connect to your customers on a deeper, more emotional level

4. Flexibility

  • In fast changing world, marketers must be flexible to stay relevant
  • Consistency sets standards for your brand, flexibility enables you to make adjustments that build interest and distinguish your approach from that of your competition.
  • Don’t be afraid to change if your old tactics aren’t working anymore
  • Old Spice rebranding is a great example of flexibility

5. Employee involvement

  • Employees need to be well versed in the how they should be communicating with customers and representing the brand

6. Loyalty

  • Reward loyal customers

7. Competitive awareness

  • Take competition as a change to improve your own strategy and create greater value to your overall brand
  • Watch what they do, however do not let them dictate every move you make

(Hubspot, Carly Stec, 2015)

What is the process of a brand strategy?

10 step brand development strategy:

  1. Consider your overall business strategy
  2. Identify your target clients
  3. Research your target client group
  4. Develop your brand positioning
  5. Develop your messaging strategy
  6. Develop your name, logo and tagline
  7. Develop your content marketing strategy
  8. Develop your website
  9. Build your marketing toolkit
  10. Implement, track and adjust

(Hinge Marketing 2016, Lee Fredriksen)

Different aspects to consider:

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Source: Quora

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(Source: Build, Bridge, Bond)

What are the tools and models used when creating a brand strategy?

Brand pyramid by Millward Brown. The pyramid illustrates the five stages that customers go through with a brand, starting with basic awareness and finishing with complete loyalty. (Mindtools)

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Centrality-distinctiveness (C-D) map. Allows companies to directly connect a brand’s position on a perceptual map with business outcomes such as sales and price. Using the tool, managers can determine a desired market positions, make resource allocation and brand strategy decisions, track performance against competitors and evaluate strategy on the basis of results (HBR).

The video below explains C-D map.

https://hbr.org/video/embed/4290317755001

Distility brand strategy model

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(Source: Smartinsights)

Examples of good/bad brand strategies

6 brand strategies that all CMO’s (chief marketing officers) must not ignore:

  • See consumer engagement that others don’t
    • Be creative about how your brand engages with consumers
    • People like surprises. Don’t be predictable. Mix it up. Stretch your thinking. Don’t take your audience for granted.
    • Give your brand a refresh every year.
  • Establish an identity that is easily relatable
    • Too often companies complicate their unique value proposition
    • People don’t have time to figure out what your brand is offering
  • Lifestyle platform that inspires people and communicates hope
    • Stimulating a new or existing consumer relationship requires the ability to educate, communicate and inspire your audience about the totality of your brand
  • Continuous innovation with flawless timing and execution
    • Not only about new products etc. but perfect timing and execution
    • Timing in perfect sync with audience demands
  • Promote the genuine spirit of giving
    • Brands that “share the harvest” of their success with their audience are the ones to sustain the best momentum
    • à show your respect and gratitude to the people and communities your brand is serving
  • Serve others to leave a legacy
    • Brand should be led legacy-driven.

(Forbes 2014, Glenn Llopis)

Airbnb

When Airbnb was first launched, the brand faced a big challenge: convincing people around the globe that staying in a stranger’s home isn’t weird or scary. Key to Airbnb’s global strategy is localization, with a dedicated local department responsible for making the site accessible around the globe, as well as local storytelling – essential for developing trust and a sense of community between hosts and travellers.

The brand has also introduced a universal symbol as its logo – the Belo – which symbolises ‘belonging’ no matter where you are in the world.

Ikea

In part, Ikea’s success can be credited to the company’s universally appealing brand attributes of low price, sustainability, form, function and quality. However, as with all successful global brands, Ikea takes the time to understand its international audiences. In the video below, Ikea’s Head of Research Mikael Ydholm explains how the company examines societal shifts around the world, as well as people’s perceptions of Ikea, to inform product choices.

Although they often retain the same elements, room sets will also vary from store to store to suit local customs. For example, in Japan, they will often feature tatami mats, a traditional Japanese floor covering.

IKEA’s video

(k-international blog, Johnny Henchman 2015)

Here are another 61 daring brand strategies that paid off. My favourites are Pedigree and Virgin airlines,which I wrote about in the previous PBL session.

When and why a company needs rebranding? + Examples

5 reasons for rebranding: (Entrepreneur, Andre Bourque)

  1. When you want to shake off an old image
  • Burberry brand was the standard issue dress as a status symbol of thugs and gangs all across England, and drove away many potential customers due to negative association. Thus, Burberry aggressively rebranded themselves as a high-end luxury clothing brand, collaborating with noteworthy celebrities such as Emma Watson. They didn’t change looks or prices. It may be that your company attracts different customer base than originally intended.
  1. When you want to tap into a new demographic
  • Sometimes it might be an absolute necessity to reach out into new audience that might be interested in your product
  1. When you outgrow your original mission
  • For example, newly-rebranded Altify. It was one of the first companies to build sales expertise into a software solutions, but over time the market changed. Altify found its customers using the solution at every stage of the revenue process, not just the final sale. Thus, they changed their name to reflect the fact that they now serve the whole revenue team, not just sales team.
  1. When the market it evolving quickly
  • For example, Mac vc. PC. Apple did some brilliant branding, due to which PC’s were once considered by many to be behind the curve.
  1. When all you’ve got is a name
  • For example, Harley-Davidson. It is an American classic, first to come into mind when you think of motorcycles. However, Harley-Davidson was once in serious danger of going out of business. In order to salvage the business, they did a rebranding plan: keep the famous name but give the product a quality facelift. The strategy worked and Harley reclaimed its place among the leaders in motorcycle brands.

How to rebrand?  

  1. Do your research
  2. Invite input (but not too much)
  3. Be clear about what you want to accomplish
  4. Get buy-in from the right constituents
  5. Put a process in place to ensure consistency and longevity

(Forbes 2015, Jessica Kleiman)

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