Why do people buy anything? What makes them choose your company’s product over others? What motivated them to buy your book instead of any of the thousand other books being released? Why do they choose your service?
It’s not necessarily because they think what you’re offering is the best. They might make that discovery down the road and decide to keep coming back for more, but it’s rarely the reason they decide to patronize you in the first place.
Customers and audiences are motivated to buy because something about the way you positioned your brand and marketed it appealed to them. That’s what a brand strategy is: the way you make people feel about your brand.
It’s the experience they associate with you or your business. A strong brand strategy doesn’t come from doing one thing right; it’s a combination of philosophy, audience awareness, targeted advertising, quality of offering, uniqueness, personality, values, clear message, and more.
But what exactly can a defined branding strategy do for you? In this post, we’re going to discuss some of the benefits that strong branding can offer you and how you can use it to set yourself apart from the competition.
1. Showcase your commitment to customers
Your branding strategy is the promise that you make to your audience, customers, or clients. It’s what they can expect every time they interact with your products or services, and it also helps to keep you consistent.
When you know the kind of experience that you’re selling to your customers, it’d be easy for you to stay in line and keep giving them what they want.
Deciding on marketing strategies, ad copies, typography, colors, website design, and more would become more simplified. This is because you already have a strong brand identity in place that you can model your efforts and choices after.
Let’s say you’ve built a brand around sustainability, nature friendliness, and ethical sourcing and manufacturing processes. Then you wake up one morning and decide to provide a non-eco-friendly experience that doesn’t align with the ethics of your customers. Your bottom line is going to take a huge nose dive because you’ve broken the promise that got people invested in your brand in the first place.
But when you consistently stand by your brand promise and positioning, your customers will not only keep coming back; they’ll also spread the word about you so others can share in the experience.
Look at Apple, for example. The brand promises creativity, innovation, uniqueness, and high-quality products that help its customers realize their dreams. Whenever you see the Apple logo, you imagine something sleek and sophisticated, and everything from their product launches to the atmosphere of their physical stores reinforces that.
This promise and experience have made Apple more than just a company. It’s a status symbol, a movement, a religion of sorts. It doesn’t matter what the price point is or how many better features other brands are packing into their devices, Apple fans are die-hard and will never stop patronizing the brand.
If you want to guarantee such levels of brand awareness and customer loyalty, you need to refine your branding strategy from the inside out. Be unequivocally clear about what your brand stands for and keep delivering on that.
Bear in mind that your branding strategy shouldn’t just focus on digital channels like social media and emails; it can extend to SMS marketing and other mediums as well. Whether you’re running an online store or a traditional brick-and-mortar, leave no channel uncovered on the road to creating a unified brand experience for your customers. The goal is to meet and satisfy your customers wherever they are.
2. Work on the right business activities
A brand isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a mix of different things that are perfectly combined together to create a specific image or conjure up certain feelings when people interact with you or your business.
Everything has to feel cohesive. If you’re a B2B company, this begins with your sales cycle. From the outset, you want to establish credibility so that your customers can feel confident that they’re getting exactly what they pay for.
You want them to see you as a reliable business that’s genuinely invested in helping their companies grow, solve their problems, and achieve their goals.
If you’re selling consumer products, everything from your online presence to packaging, and shopping/checkout process should communicate the experience your brand identity is built around.
You cannot afford to only engage with your new customers at the point of purchase or when they sign the final contract, then forget about them forever, and hope they’ll return when they need your product or service again.
A solid branding strategy helps you go beyond just selling. It enables you to look at your whole brand and identify areas where you can deepen and improve your customer experience and relationships.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to achieve this is by building a strong content marketing strategy that goes hand-in-hand with your overall marketing activities. 70% of marketers actively invest in content marketing and this content marketing trend is set to continue. Create culture-driven content that shares your values and explains who you are.
You can also produce valuable content that enriches the lives of your audience, either by educating them on a subject matter, answering questions they have, entertaining them, or showing them how to solve specific problems.
For example, Brian Dean of Backlinko was able to build a strong brand from scratch and establish himself as a digital marketing maestro by publishing long-form, how-to posts. Entrepreneurs and marketers from all walks of life could visit his site and learn something about how to grow their influence or scale their business.
3. Drive emotional reactions from customers
Whether you’re selling complex products or seemingly trivial services, the most powerful branding strategy you can use to get people to buy is appealing to their emotions. This is because humans are very emotional creatures that rely on instincts and feelings to reach decisions or navigate a plethora of situations.
Customers might do their own research, read reviews, talk to other people who’ve used a product or service, and even create a pros and cons list. But in the end, their decision to go with your company or one of your competitors will boil down to how they feel about either brand.
Contrary to popular beliefs, triggering people’s emotions is not as difficult as it seems. The trick is having a solid brand positioning and knowing how you want people to feel about your brand.
For instance, instead of trying to convince consumers that their line of shoes were the best, Nike decided to sell something bigger instead—the freedom to dream. This is how it differentiated itself from the hundreds of shoe brands out there.
When you buy Nike shoes, you’re not really paying for the materials. What you’re paying for is the swoosh on the side, the feeling that is evoked every time you watch a Nike ad. That promise that you can be anything you want if you set your mind to it, that you can go far no matter the obstacles in your way.
Take a page out of the Nike playbook and abandon rational marketing that focuses on benefits and features in favor of a branding strategy that pulls people in and speaks to them where the words matter most—their hearts.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to spend money on elaborate ads to spark an emotional response from your audience. You can start by incorporating the emotional angle you want to reinforce into your brand voice, tone, copy, and even social media memes.
4. Align your employees and foster productivity
Employees are like customers. They don’t just want to pitch their tent with any business. They want a company that has a story or a vision that they can buy into. They want to work for businesses that know what they are about and why they exist so that they too can understand their jobs and the purpose they serve.
Good branding may not solve all the issues you’re having with attracting and retaining personnel, but it will go a long way in improving morale and enhancing teamwork. If you can get your employees to feel good about your company and what they’re working towards, they’ll be more eager to help make those goals a reality.
When you have an aligned team and a well-defined brand, you’ll be able to communicate, distribute resources, and assign responsibilities better whenever you’re working on a project. This will, in turn, maximize productivity and efficiency and reduce the amount of energy, time, money, and other resources that get wasted.
It’ll also create an environment that nurtures innovation. Members of your team won’t wait around for the managers and leaders to come up with solutions. Since they understand the company’s vision and are committed to it, they can generate and share their own unique perspectives on how to accelerate growth and build a stronger brand.
5. Cultivate a stronger company culture
You don’t want to be one of those companies that are always hiring because they have high employee turnover and receive little to no applications for their advertised roles. Job seekers do their research too, and they’d rather join companies with a strong working culture and are known for doing great work.
To attract employees and prevent them from jumping ship quickly, you need to build a strong and good brand with a healthy and positive working culture. You can foster a happier work environment simply by knowing what your purpose is and why it matters.
There should be shared values that motivate everyone and influence how you review people’s work, and reward those who perform great. If your purpose or values are just words on the wall with no follow through, you’ll only succeed in wasting everyone’s time.
As more and more companies continue to shift to remote cultures, it’s more important than ever to get your branding strategies aligned. Otherwise, it’d be much harder for your team members to work together, provide an excellent customer experience, and achieve set goals.
Take time to reflect on the impact your business has on the world; this will make your employees five times more likely to be excited about working with you. Engage in dialogue with personnel at all levels and encourage them to share ideas on how you can help them fulfill their purpose.
Perform regular wellness checks via surveys to see what your workers think about your employer brand, monitor progress, and ensure you’ve not deviated from your branding and the culture that gives you an edge. Don’t just take it and forget it.
Implement their suggestions and strive to eliminate potential issues that could hurt your culture or negatively impact employee engagement and satisfaction. When you find a way to tell interesting stories about your company and the work you do, you’ll become one of the coveted brands that people dream of working with.
6. Build financial value for your company
The reason Samsung and Apple or Chipotle and Taco Bell keep dominating their respective markets is because they’ve established strong, consistent brands. They are already the names at the top of people’s minds when they think about smartphones or Mexican fast food.
They have successfully built strong connections with consumers, which has resulted in better financial performance compared to other brands in the same industry. When you have a good brand strategy and story driving you, you’ll enjoy customer recognition and loyalty.
Ultimately, this will mean increased sales, the potential to scale, create new markets, or break into different markets. But this won’t happen unless you know exactly who you are, what you do, why you do it, what people stand to gain from patronizing you, and how employees will benefit from working with you.
Your story and the way you tell it will shape your sales numbers, market opportunities, and the talent pool you entice. Similarly, it’ll better equip you to attract shareholders and investors who can give you the resources and backing you need to expand your company’s brand and avoid financial distress while gaining a competitive advantage.
Essentially, everyone from consumers to employees and investors will want to associate and do business with you when your brand resonates with them. Or when you give them a reason to believe in what you’re selling.
7. Promote growth in your marketing and sales
Marketing doesn’t work in a vacuum. When you throw money at advertising without having a well-defined brand strategy or story to guide you’ll often end up wasting a ton of time and thousands of dollars with very little to show for it.
On the other hand, when you have a clear brand strategy, you’ll be able to approach your marketing with purpose and intention geared towards accomplishing your core brand objectives. Your strategy will also help you understand the promise you’re making to your customers or audience and how best to deliver on that promise.
For example, suppose you really want to make your brand stand out by breaking the status quo or doing something unconventional. This can be a brand attribute you want to showcase about your own product. A great way to do this is by employing a guerilla marketing strategy. This strategy will be even more effective if you have a strong brand to keep it a memorable experience in the minds of your target audience.
Naturally, your brand strategy should inform how you market your products or services to your intended audience. This will help you better target potential buyers with relevant and contextual content depending on the buyer journey stage they’re in and lead to an eventual increase in your conversion rates.
Build a compelling brand
Your brand strategy can push you towards success or keep you from reaching your full potential. Although creating a strong brand isn’t completed overnight and can be quite the challenge, it’s crucial to the survival of any enterprise.
It’s what will help you stand out from the hordes of competitors, what will make people come to trust you and choose you over others time and again. The advantages of strengthening your brand are too numerous to ignore. The question is no longer whether branding matters, but whether you’re ready to optimize your business by fine-tuning your brand.
Begin that journey today.
This article was written by Mark Quadros, a SaaS content marketer that helps brands create and distribute rad content. On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Foundr, etc. Connect with him via LinkedIN or twitter.