When you hear the word BRAND – what comes to mind? You might immediately think about a logo, or a website, or maybe popular brand names like Nike or Apple pop into your head. While these are all elements of what make up a brand, there is so much more to it than that. In fact, one of the most common misconceptions we see in the digital marketing space is how much confusion there is around brand terminology and all of the things that contribute to developing a brand. On top of that, many business owners don’t understand the value or necessity for brand development.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “you built a house of sand on a foundation of straw”? It means everything you build on an unstable foundation will fall through and amount to nothing after your hard work. Even more likely, the thing you create won’t get far in the first place. There is often confusion when it comes to brand terminology and all of the things that contribute to developing a brand. Even today, many people in business don’t understand the value or necessity for brand development.
Brand development is the effort of building a foundation. Brand strategy is the foundation itself. When businesses don’t dedicate time and resources to building a brand foundation, it all comes crashing down. Your brand is not your logo, your fonts, your website, or your business name. Your brand is so much more than that –– it’s the essence of what you are here to do. It’s the intangible, hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates average businesses from memorable brands.
A brand strategy incorporates:
- Your brand values and what you stand for
- The promises you make to customers every step of the way
- The personality your brand embodies through its marketing
It’s crucial to get clear on what your brand’s purpose is – why does your brand exist? What do you stand for, and want to help solve?
The core is a brand’s essence: who you are, what you care about, and what you’re trying to accomplish. It establishes:
- Purpose: Why does your brand exist?
- Vision: What do you want to help create for the future?
- Mission: How are you going to create that future?
- Values: Who are you? What do you stand for?
This is the process of distinguishing your brand from your competitors in meaningful ways. It brings clarity to:
- What do you offer?
- What value do you deliver?
- What place do you hold in your target audience’s mind?
A brand persona is a collection of traits used to create a realistic representation of someone or something your customer would like to interact with in real life. This includes:
- Brand Personality
- Tone & Voice
A brand identity is powerful since it functions as the face of the brand. It is the visual identity, made up of elements that bring consistency. With a deeper understanding of your brand’s core, positioning and persona, you can create a stronger, more cohesive brand experience across every touch point – such as your website, podcasts, & social media posts.
Why Storytelling Matters
One way to understand if your brand is on the right track is to think of your brand strategy as a story you are telling. A good story is not just something to read on a page — it’s an experience. And for something to be an experience, it needs to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Ideally, there is some form of change that occurs by the end.
Tension is what causes any change in a story. So there must be some form of tension identified between your customer’s pain point (the antithesis) and your solution to that problem (the thesis). The tension is the customer’s problem or pain point itself. Without identifying or understanding any pain points, you will have difficulty marketing and selling your product or service, period.
Brand strategy, at its core, is storytelling. Developing your brand strategy brings light to your brand’s story, its vision, its heart, and soul. Every aspect of your brand experience and marketing should help tell your authentic story, broken into pieces, shared over time, across various touchpoints.
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