Establishing your brand identity is a critical step in connecting with your target audience and positioning your business effectively in the market. The word “brand” to a lot of people means, logo. It goes much further than that. In my post, I highlight 6 components of a brand strategy. But what is a brand? I love Forbes’ definition:
“Put simply, your “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name. It’s everything the public thinks it knows about your name brand offering—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s romantic). Your brand name exists objectively; people can see it. It’s fixed. But your brand exists only in someone’s mind.” -Jerry McLaughlin, Forbes.com, 2011
Now that we have an idea of what branding means, here are 6 components of a brand strategy that your business needs to think about:
Brand positioning means the place a brand occupies or wants to occupy, relative to the competition, in the mind of a customer. Brand positioning takes into account the target audience, competition, and any outside market factors. There are some classic brand battles competing via brand position. One of the most memorable in my mind was Apple trying to differentiate itself from PC in the mind of consumers:
In these Apple commercials, Apple attempts to show their “cool factor” and also the ease of use for every day life. They also portrayed PC as a middle-aged man and Apple as a cool, hip, young adult.
A brand promise is what your customers can expect from purchasing your product(s) or the process of purchasing your products. Some great examples include:
Geico’s, Walmart’s, and Ritz-Carlton’s “promises” clearly demonstrate what consumers can expect if they experience their products and services.
Brand beliefs define how your business makes its decisions. These are your business’ core values and what you stand on. Here’s a great example from Chick-fil-a of a brand’s beliefs, or values, on display:
Whether you agree or not with this viewpoint, Chick-fil-a is not shy in expressing their beliefs. It’s important your brand stands up for what it believes in. But I’d also advise to display wisdom in your approach.
Brand personality are the characteristics associated with a brand. It’s something that the consumer can relate to. It includes characteristics such as humor, conservative, innovative, inspirational, and many more.
Under Armour often uses motivation to inspire in its marketing:
Under Armour knows exactly who their target market is and what they like to hear, see, feel, and experience.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” In the marketing world we live in, consumers do just that for companies’ brands. A Brand’s Book Cover are all of the visual characteristics derived from the above 6 components. Things like color scheme, logo, typography, tagline, and brand guidelines are important in visually representing a brand’s purpose, positioning, promise, identity, beliefs, and personality.
Establishing these components in your brand strategy is an essential first step in the digital marketing process. It forces you to think about components that spill over into all of your marketing efforts.
How’s your brand strategy? Have you clearly defined the above components? Comment below!
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This is such a superb article, thanks for this.
Thank you for the kind words Jerome!