One of the most important first steps for any business is forging its own identity. This starts with a brand strategy. According to The Balance SMB, a brand strategy covers the purpose, consistency, and emotional impact of a company’s brand. Developing a brand strategy relies on performing a few critical steps to ensure that the company forges its own identity. In this article, we’ll look at the actionable steps a business can take in its brand identity design.
Step 1: Define Purpose
Why does your business exist? It may seem a simple question on the surface, but it carries some deep connotations. This step should be focused on pinpointing your value proposition for your customers. It would help if you were asking how the business aims to help its consumers solve their problems. The company should also try to figure out what aspects of their business their core audience will enjoy. The purpose of a business isn’t just about what it offers to the consumer, but what problems does it seek to solve. This mindset helps to align the business towards goal fulfillment, and helps with its marketing strategy.
Step 2: Environmental Assessment
We’re not talking about the air and water here. This step helps a company come to grips with the context in which it operates. No business is an island working in isolation from others. They all form part of an ecosystem called “the market.” One of the best ways to determine the environment the business exists in is to perform a competitor analysis. It helps you to realize what the competition is up to. Competing against established businesses may require creative thinking. Seeing what the competition is doing outlines the things you should avoid, but also helps to define where they’re lacking. Filling in the gaps is a valid strategy for sidestepping competitors.
Step 3: SMART Objective Setting
Freshbooks explains that SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely, and it’s an acronym that most business students will recognize immediately. SMART objectives help a business develop goals that are relevant to itself and the market as a whole. They shouldn’t be limited to strategic areas or financial goals only but should cover both of these types of achievements. Objective-oriented businesses tend to have a more holistic view of how they want their companies to develop. These goals are defined as a means to direct the company towards something it can achieve, both in the short and long term. Consider them as stepping stones to an overarching triumph.
Step 4: Develop a Strategic Plan
This stage will be the meat of your brand strategy. This plan will encompass the company’s mission, its marketing language, the brand’s values, and investment plans for the future. The brand strategy outlines how businesses will develop their individual marketing tactics for their advertising. The strategic plan sets the stage for how the company will achieve the goals it set in the previous step. Consider the strategic plan of the vehicle that gets the company to its destination – the objective.
Step 5: Refining
Once a business gets to the point of implementing their brand strategy, you may think it’s all over. However, brands, like the consumers they serve, evolve over time. Only by paying attention to these changes and how it affects the market can companies hope to remain relevant in an ever-evolving marketplace. Refining means looking at what the business is doing and considering if it could be done better in keeping with the brand’s core values and mission. With each step through the brand strategy, the company becomes more aware of what it could be doing better. Refining helps to get the business to a point where it can implement the lessons it learned.
A Never-Ending Development Cycle
Brands tend to stay around for a long time, especially if they provide excellent services or products and have a strong brand message. However, if a brand doesn’t have a powerful message or can’t be distinguished from its competitors, then it’s failing at its charge to develop a brand strategy. Companies that already establish their brands always need to be aware of the industry’s changes so that their brand can adapt. This continuous development ensures that brands can move with the times and don’t stagnate and lose their dominance to competitors.