Guide to Building a Brand Strategy for Your Company

Guide to Building a Brand Strategy for Your Company

The world is embracing digital technology, with more and more people participating online nowadays. Facebook currently has more than 2.6 billion monthly active users. Meanwhile, Google processes over 3.5 billion searches every day. This is good news if you’re a new business owner because you now have an array of channels to choose from when it comes to advertising.

However, although these new avenues, such as social media and search engines, level the playing field for small businesses—because they’re not as expensive as traditional methods like TV and print—they also present branding challenges because it’s more difficult to coordinate a unified brand message across all platforms.

Therefore, it’s more important than ever for current brands to develop a brand strategy to combat the pitfalls of disorganized and ineffective brand-building. Your brand strategy should cover what your brand stands for, the promises you offer the market, and how you plan to grow your reach.

We’ve put together this article to help you understand the nature and benefits of a brand strategy and guide you to develop a cohesive brand strategy for your company.

What is brand strategy?

Your brand strategy is an exhaustive plan that details every step you’re going to take to market and grow your company into a recognizable name. To achieve this, your brand needs more than a product, logo, or slogan. Your brand must aspire to connect emotionally in a positive way with consumers.

Whether you’re a small business or the next billion-dollar company, your brand strategy will consist of your plan to communicate your brand’s identity to consumers. Your name, the colors on the logo, the design, and the slogan are important, but they’re not as far reaching as the customer’s experience with your company, your product, or your service.

Your brand strategy will affect all aspects of your business operations. As you develop it, include how your company will conduct its business to fulfill your promise to your customers. It should also address how you plan to support your contractors so that they can represent your brand confidently. You also need a plan on how to outdo your competitors.

You need to write down your brand strategy. You cannot attempt to achieve growth and longevity as a brand with a poorly detailed course of action. Not having your guidelines on paper could result in ineffective marketing, messaging inconsistencies, and inefficiencies all around. Engage with Upwork’s experienced marketing professionals if you need help creating a comprehensive and effective brand strategy for your business.

Why brand strategy matters

Simply put, your brand strategy encompasses your brand’s personality, its promise, and how customers view you as a company. That’s why a holistic approach to brand strategy will help you connect more effectively with your target market.

Here are the benefits of a comprehensive brand strategy:

  • It defines your company’s personality: A brand strategy will help you integrate your company’s mission, vision, and values to your customer’s experience. A 2020 Consumer Culture Report revealed that 71% of consumers would support a brand that aligns with their values.
  • It improves customer experience: A well-implemented brand strategy will help you consistently provide a positive experience to every customer. You’ll also attract new customers if their experience with your company aligns with how you market yourself.
  • It sets you apart from the competition: A brand strategy will help you identify your unique selling point. This is important because if you don’t know what it is, how will you stand out in the market?
  • It helps you assemble a strong team: A well-defined brand strategy will help you engage and assign the right people to specific roles on your team. It will also save you time and money when every team member embodies your company’s values from the get-go.
  • It promotes consistency: A successful brand strategy will help you with consistent messaging, making it easier for you to grow your reach because your target market will know what you can do. A brand strategy will help you focus your company’s resources on delivering and going above and beyond its promise.

How to build a brand strategy for your business

To build an effective brand strategy for your business, you’ll need to identify the unique selling point that sets you apart from the competition. Designing a plan that conveys your brand identity can be the most challenging part of your marketing approach.

Luckily, you don’t have to go at it alone. Upwork is brimming with independent marketing talent to help you develop and implement your branding strategy.

Consider these tips on building your brand strategy:

Know your purpose

If you’re planning to attract and gain a portion of the market, you should have a clear definition of your company’s purpose. Start by asking questions such as, “What do I represent?” “What do I want to achieve as a brand?” “Why should a customer choose me over a competitor?”

Great service or product, convenience, and a better price option are mostly what convinces consumers. But if you want to retain their loyalty, you have to provide more than that. For inspiration, take a look at Audi’s tagline, “Vorsprung durch technik” (“Advancement through technology”) or Starbucks’ mission statement, “To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”

The first step of your brand strategy is to identify your purpose and find a cohesive and impactful way to communicate that to your target market. If it aligns with your customers’ values, you get their business and loyalty.

Tell your story

Your brand strategy is your company’s story told in every customer interaction and every product you sell. You can even draw it from every mishap or setback you have to resolve. Use the power of storytelling to reach your ideal clients.

However, to tell your story, you need a clear and cohesive brand identity. Your brand identity is an essential part of your overall brand strategy. It will define your company’s personality, what it stands for, and its promise to customers.

A strong and well-executed brand identity can guide your story to achieve a profitable brand strategy. It can also build up the image of your company’s products or services and strengthen your business’s ability to engage and retain independent professionals or talent. All of this can create connections with your customers, which can then inspire loyalty.

Get to know your target audience

The success of your brand is not to reach every person on the planet. Your goal is to define your target audience and then attract and engage them. Get to know your market by answering these questions:

  • What age group is your product or service for?
  • What can they afford?
  • What do they do?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?

You can leverage your own team, as well. Survey your team members who have direct contact with potential customers and buyers. They’ll have an in-depth knowledge of the needs, wants, and problems of your target audience.

Consistently show up

You should use all the platforms available to you, but show up with a consistent and cohesive message every time. For example, when you look at iconic brands like IBM and McDonald’s, their strategies might have changed a few times to cater to new markets, but their logos and messages have stayed the same. Take a page from their book: Don’t create a distraction with your own unrelated stories across platforms.

It’s a different story if you are undergoing a rebrand; otherwise, stick to your color palette in every photo, logo, or design. And spend some time brainstorming and creating your visual identity, but don’t limit it to a logo or symbol.

Your visual identity is your unique brand of self-expression, so explore and experiment with different personalities and tones. Consider the MGM’s trademarked lion’s roar, the Aflac duck, or Levi’s jeans as prime examples. But most importantly, make sure every element of your marketing tells your story and strengthens your brand’s message.

Aspire for emotional impact

Customers are smart and savvy. They’re not easily swayed by catchy slogans and taglines anymore. So, to achieve brand recognition, you’ll have to form a connection between you and your customers. Make them feel valued and always look for opportunities to strengthen that connection.

Consider this: In a survey measuring consumers’ emotional connections to a particular company, BMW took the top spot out of 50 brands with a 60% emotional connection score. The reason for the vote, according to the 250,000 customers surveyed, is the company’s dedication to providing a consistently positive experience.

Reward loyalty

In addition to creating a community around you and your customers, it’s equally essential to include a loyalty reward plan in your brand strategy. For example, every loyal Target shopper has a RedCard. Loyalty programs are the oldest trick in marketing, but they’re still one of the most successful ways to have repeat sales.

Just like every relationship, your relationship with your customers needs nurturing.

Build a strong team

The strength and success of your company depend on its talents and contractors. To attract and engage the best independent professionals, your brand strategy needs to address the same values and requirements that you use to connect with customers.

Talent engagement is not only important in cultivating a happier and healthier environment. It’s also great for your profits, because companies with highly engaged talent have 18% higher customer retention rates.

Know your competitors

Someone once said, “It’s hard to beat your competition when you’re copying them,” and it could be true. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to what they’re doing, either. Knowing how your competitors are branding and marketing themselves will allow you to use every platform with purpose.

Your competitors can be direct, indirect, big, or small. You need to identify who’s offering the same solutions or products and catering to the same market you want to serve. Completing a competitive analysis will give you insight into where you can create or add value and attract customers.

If you keep track of your competitors, you’ll also learn if they’re active online or more of an offline brand. In a world that’s quickly embracing digital technology, understanding what your competitors are doing online will help you develop a comprehensive brand strategy.

Track and analyze results

Marketing as an industry is ever-changing, and so should your strategies. Your target market’s spending ability and needs are also fluid, and with it is your brand’s position in the market. So, aside from measuring your performance against your competitors, you should include a plan on how and when you’ll measure and analyze the results of strategies you have in place.

You can begin by specifying short- and long-term goals in your brand strategy. Then, write out a plan that includes the classification of data you’ll need, what you’ll be measuring, and when and how often you’ll be tracking and analyzing the results of your marketing strategy.

It should be noted that checking how well your strategy is working, especially in categories where the market moves fast, will give you better results. A clearer picture of where you are in your brand strategy will allow you to shift your focus on attracting a new market, or if it’s working, you can keep going at your current trajectory. Either way, your current brand strategy should always reflect the long-term goals of your company.

Build your brand with independent marketing experts

An effective brand strategy will help you tell your brand’s story consistently across all methods of advertising and on all platforms. It’ll also position your brand to your customers as the only provider of a particular product or service. To achieve that, you will need to define your company’s purpose and story, and know and understand your customers.

Build your brand and grow your business with the top marketing professionals. Use Upwork to find the best brand consultant from a truly global talent pool and get your story in front of the right audience.

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Guide to Building a Brand Strategy for Your Company
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

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