How To Develop A Brand Strategy For Small Businesses
Whatever type of business you have competition is at bay, and your competition may not be who think it is. Having a brand strategy will prepare you for this unlikely competitor.
So what is a brand strategy?
A brand strategy involves the extensive examination of the organisations brand meaning.
What does your brand stand for?
- What is the promise that your brand makes?
- What is the message you deliver on your website?
- How do your employees interact with its customers?
- What are the customers perception of your business
You may have noticed that i haven’t bullet pointed, your logo and colour palette, whilst these things are important, these are the visual and creative aspects of your brand which i cover in another post.
Lets takes a closer look at the meaning of the word strategy. Wikipedia defines strategy as ‘the art, troop leader, office or general, command, generalship and a strategy as being a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. This is a military definition, which can also be applied to business where is it used to set goals, mobilise resources and execute actions. Therefore strategy is about leadership, when times get tough as they do in business, its the strategy that keeps the direction of the business in-line.
The brand strategy keeps your brand on track, steers it in the right direction. This is the reason why small businesses need a brand strategy , to keep them in them in the right direction.The strategy is where you want to go, a complete description of your desired outcome it can be as detailed or general as you want it.
But i want you to get clear on one thing,
A CLEAR BRAND STRATEGY IS NOT ABOUT EXPLAINING HOW THE DESIRED GOAL OR OUTCOME IS TO BE REACHED.
That is a tactic or implementation strategy, it can be quite a challenge to separate the two.
To implement the brand strategy requires taking actionable steps, which involves, action taking, planning and accountability.
Lets stick to strategy here: Which is about where do you want your brand to go
Why Do Small Businesses Need A Brand Strategy?
A brand makes ups 3 elements
- Visual: What people see
- Verbal: What people say
- Product: What people Buy
Branding is directly related to sales and ‘brand equity’ in the marketplace. Brand Equity is the perceived value of a product, a well known brand, tends to generate more income from consumers because of its brand positioning. Branding helps you to stand out from your competitors and positions you in the hearts and minds of your target audience, which is what all small businesses must strive for.
Lets think about some well known brands, i was in a new shopping centre, in Birmingham recently with a friend and she loves Costa,she was vehemently looking around for a Costa coffee she said Costa has the best coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker myself, i’m a true Brit and only drink Earl Grey, but it did make me think why wasn’t she on the look out for Starbucks?
Costa a Starbucks are long time rivals, yes they both sell coffee, but they have completely different brands
COSTA BRAND POSITIONING :
Costa are position for convenience – railways, service stations have Costa machines where busy customers can quickly grab a cup of coffee. They also have branded themselves as ‘Costa Express’ because they are at self-service points. This is where they have positioned their brand as high-volume, low-margin sales: They are differentiating themselves based on speed.
STARBUCKS BRAND POSITIONING
Starbucks, on the other hand, are aiming to differentiate based on quality. Starbucks uses rare, luxurious coffee beans, unlike Costa Coffee, they are aiming to compete using a low-volume, high-margin sales approach.
We can’t really fault either brand strategy more successful than the other. Costa Coffee aim to maximise their profits; Starbucks focus is on quality.
My friend an I found Costa and her eyes lit up, I asked her what is it about Costa that she loves she said
Costa staff always smile and understands coffee, they embody the little things, like Costa embossed glass mugs and tasty cakes its home from home and its not Starbucks lol
Remember this her opinion.
This is what brand positioning is, as small business owners, and brand champions, your ultimate goal is to create a brand strategy that will position your brand in the hearts and minds of your target audience.
You may think that only big companies needs a brand strategy, but when your business is sitting side by side with another, the one that represents something of value, will stand out, engage customers and make more sales.
As i mentioned earlier branding creates ‘brand equity’ the amount of money that a consumer will pay for your product or service, so its inevitable, that your brand strategy will make your business valuable long term.
Here’s what’s involved in creating a Brand Strategy.
- Create a brand summary
- Primary value proposition
- Secondary value proposition
- Emotional benefits conveyed to a customer
- What should your brand mean to your customers
- What are the human personality traits of your brand
- How do you want the market to view your brand
- What is your brand promise
- What is your brand positioning statement.
- What is your brand story
Your brand is the entire experience you deliver to your consumers, not only once but repeatedly delivering the same service. We work with clients to develop a complete brand strategy for their businesses, whether it is to launch a new product, explore new markets, joint venture partnerships or business mergers.
Tell me below how branding has improved your customer relationships and engagement.
Schedule a chat to create your small business brand strategy