Tell a business owner they need a marketing strategy and they will always agree. They’ll immediately start talking about ad campaigns and email sequences. They’ll start spitting out product offers and more ideas than they can physically execute. It takes very little effort to get a business owner on board with a marketing strategy.
Now tell that same business owner they need a brand strategy and they will say “But we already have a brand” and then point to the home page of their website as if it somehow embodies their entire brand.
Pro tip: it doesn’t.
Having a brand and having a brand strategy are two separate things.
Most people would define “brand” as their logo, colors, fonts, and the “look and feel” of their website. Some will go so far as to identify messaging and customer service touchpoints. And they’re not wrong. Those are all parts of a brand.
Businesses that follow that definition of a brand usually have nice, professional-looking companies and they’re doing ok. They’re nothing special and they usually blend right in with their competition. If you want to be average, then by all means, just stop right there.
Branding your business is NOT about having design guidelines that you “follow” when you create your next campaign. Your brand is not a pretty combination of colors and typography that you try to stick to. By that definition, you could put together any combination of color palettes and typography, and icons and call it a brand.
You can have the thickest, most thorough brand guide ever created, but if your brand doesn’t have a personality or a purpose, the guide is useless. It’s only when you have your brand’s personality dialed in that your brand guide becomes relevant.
But calling your design elements a brand is not the same as defining and naming your brand. When a brand has a name and a personality, it comes alive. Yes, quite literally.
And once you have defined your brand and given it a name, only then can you build a brand strategy.
What is Brand Strategy and why should you care?
Brand strategy begins with a deep look into your brand, defining its purpose, and creating its personality. Once your brand has been uniquely identified, you must look at every aspect of your business through the lens of your brand identity. From the website, all the way down to how your team answers the phone… everything must be “on brand”. Any area you ignore becomes a weakness for your brand.
Want to know how well a business is doing? Show me how strong their brand identity is and you’ll know. Here’s a tip… strong brands are the ones people are always pointing to and using as examples of companies they want to emulate. Apple, Disney, LEGO, and Starbucks… all strong, very recognizable brands. I don’t even need to post images or examples here – you already know what those brands look like and how their personalities play out from their advertising to their customer service. Those brands are alive and thriving!
Pro Tip: You can test the strength of your brand here.
It’s not just for designers
Every team member should have access to your brand strategy. Your brand lives and breathes and your team is the heart of your brand. They need to know how to show up, how to engage with customers, and how to be the best representation of your brand. Brand strategy is for everyone, not just the marketing team. When your entire business follows a brand strategy, you become unstoppable.
We recently rebranded an 8-figure business. While guiding their team through the brand strategy, one of their team members said “I’ve learned more about our company in 4 days of working with Left Right Labs than I have in 9 years as an employee.”
That’s huge. And that’s the kind of breakthrough brand strategy can bring to your business.
If your brand shows up with a split personality or feels lost and unnamed, it’s time for a brand therapy session.
Start building your brand strategy today, and build an unstoppable business.