Everyday we're having conversations with each other and with our clients about brand building, brand strategy, and marketing strategy; about creating businesses that have lasting impact, and that are profitable at the same time. We want to clear up some of the misconceptions and miseducation that's out there in this industry, and tell you our perspective on what truly makes a great brand.
Let's first plant the seed of understanding what a brand strategy is. Ultimately, your brand strategy is your business strategy through the lens of a brand. This is work that needs to happen at the executive or leadership level, and is not something to be passed off to a marketing team or to an external agency.
Your brand strategy should inform your business strategy. It should inform your HR, your communications, your marketing, your sales, the culture of your business. Ultimately, every facet of your business should be informed by your brand strategy – your brand needs to be lived from the inside out. There needs to be that level of consistency, cohesiveness, and intention when it comes to building your business and your brand.
A brand strategy should answer some crucial questions like who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and why. It should tell the story of why people should choose you over the competition. It should tell the story of why employees should want to work for you and with you, building the culture, results, and vision for your business.
We see a lot of mistakes being made in the brand strategy world – oftentimes, the work is done as just a series of questionnaires or quick interviews so that the designer can get to work on building the visual assets of the brand. But it takes a lot more strategic and consultative work at this level, before you dive into any of the design work.
It's like building a house. You don't just buy a plot of land, and then buy the couch and the paint. You first want to build the foundation. Then you can start to build the house. Then you can decorate. Then you can start to invite people over.
This the work of a good brand strategy. It is the foundation for your business. Make sure it's solid, that there are no cracks, that it's cohesive and complete. Then you can start building your home on top of that foundation (that home being your website, your business model, your social platforms, etc).
Now for the decor – that's your logo, the visual representation of your brand. Don't buy the paint until you have the foundation, and until you have your home. After your home is decorated and beautiful, you can start inviting people into your home: this is your marketing and your sales strategy.
You likely wouldn't invite people over to your home if you don't have a couch... or if you don't even have a home... or if that home is not on a solid foundation! Brand strategy is the work of building the foundation of your business – making it strong and beautiful and thorough and impactful – so that everything that is built on top of that has a lasting impact.