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Brand Strategy: What it is, and how it can make or break your business!

We all know that branding can be a make-or-break aspect of your business, but I’ve noticed that quite a few businesses still fail to consider brand strategy when defining their brand. 

Unfortunately, this often leads to a brand that’s confused, or not really committed, or a string of constant re-brands – because it’s just not really rooted in anything aside from “this seems like a good idea”. 

But your brand isn’t just the way things look, it’s the way that others perceive you, and it comes from how your business shows up in the world. 

A busy night-time city street scene, with signs and billboards of various brands competing for attention

Sure, the visuals are important – they help people to recognise you amongst a sea of other businesses – but they’re only part of the picture. Your brand strategy is the foundation underneath this, and it forms the basis of everything you put out into the world. It’s the overlap of business, marketing, and design. 

As a brand strategist and designer, I’m here to shed light on what brand strategy is all about and why it’s so important for small businesses like yours.

So what is brand strategy?

We’ve established that it’s more than just your visual identity (the pretty part: your logo, colours, fonts, etc), but what is it? It’s the blueprint that guides every aspect of your brand’s presence. From your visual identity to your messaging and core values, brand strategy is the backbone that keeps everything aligned.

Setting Clear Brand Values

In a world of choices, brand values are your guiding lights. They shape how you do business, and customers appreciate brands that share their values. When you communicate your values authentically, you’re not just selling a product or service; you’re inviting people to be a part of something bigger. Your brand values are also likely to be the basis of your brand’s overall mission & vision. Remember that your values should set you apart from your competitors, and serve as a guiding light behind your business decisions. 

White board with company values written on sticky notes

Connecting with Your Target Audience

You know that feeling when you meet someone who just “gets” you? That’s the magic of effective branding. Your brand strategy helps you understand your target audience’s challenges, dreams, and desires. By crafting messages that resonate with them, you build a genuine connection that goes beyond transactions. 

When you really get to know your audience, you’ll also answer most of your marketing questions: What do they want? Where do they spend their time? Where are they looking for the products/services you offer?

Differentiating from Competitors

Competition is fierce out there! Your brand strategy gives you the edge to cut through the noise. It helps you uncover what makes your business unique and how you can use that distinctiveness to your advantage. By showing customers what sets you apart, you’re offering them a reason to choose you over the others.

Establishing a Strong Brand Identity

Imagine your brand as a person. A strong brand identity is like their distinct personality and appearance. It’s what sets you apart and makes you instantly recognisable. Knowing who your brand is helps you to effectively communicate that through your visuals and messaging. Creating a consistent visual identity, including a well-designed logo and colour scheme, helps you make a memorable first impression. 

Paradise Bar visual identity, showing off the gold and royal blue colours, bird-of-paradise-inspired logo, and tiki-inspired typography

Building Brand Consistency

Consistency is key in branding – it helps people identify you and remember who you are. From your website to your social media posts, maintaining a consistent look and message helps build trust. It’s like creating a familiar path that customers can follow, and it’s so much easier to do when you know why you’re presenting yourself the way you are! 

Evolving with Your Business

Businesses and markets evolve, and your brand strategy should too. It’s not set in stone; it’s a flexible guide that grows with your business. As you expand, introduce new products, or target new audiences, your brand strategy keeps your essence intact while adapting to your changing needs.

Why is brand strategy important?

Running a small business isn’t a walk in the park. You’re up against big players and trying to make your mark in a crowded arena. This is where brand strategy swoops in to save the day. Knowing the strategy behind your brand choices is like having a secret weapon that helps you stand out, connect with your audience, and build lasting relationships. 

Admittedly, it’s a bit more work than just picking a cute-looking Canva template, but it’s also an investment in your business’s long-term success.

A page on a clipboard titled 'What is Brand Strategy?', showing a Venn diagram with overlapping circles titled Brand, Goals, and User.

Getting Started with Your Brand Strategy

Excited to embark on your brand strategy journey? Start by defining your business’s mission, vision, and values. Get clear on who your target audience is and what they care about. Craft a unique selling proposition that speaks to your strengths.

So there you have it, friends! Brand strategy isn’t just for the big shots – it’s your secret weapon for growth and success. By creating a strong brand identity, connecting with your audience, and staying true to your values, you’re building a foundation that can withstand the tests of time. So go ahead; invest in your brand strategy and watch your business thrive like never before!

And remember, it’s okay to seek help from professionals if needed – it’s what we’re here for! You can get started with my Breakthrough Branding Worksheet, or professional branding services.

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