Decoding Brand Strategy: The Definitive Handbook 2024

Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a successful brand? If so, you'll want to look at the concept of brand strategy.

Brand Strategy Guide - Clay

What Is a Brand Strategy?

Comprehensive branding services encompass logo design, brand identity development, brand strategy, market analysis, and strategic brand positioning to ensure a cohesive and impactful brand image. Brand strategy is an intricate and systematic plan designed to help businesses create a unique identity and increase their profit. It is a fundamental component of brand marketing, allowing companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and make a lasting impression on their target audiences.

A strong brand strategy involves researching the company's core values and mission statement, setting goals for the brand, creating a messaging platform, understanding target audiences, building brand recognition, maintaining brand consistency across all platforms, identifying customer needs, and creating customer experiences. It also involves setting pricing points in line with the brand value proposition and determining suitable distribution channels.

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A man pointing at a sticker board

Why Is Branding Strategy Important?

Brand strategy is essential to brand marketing and critical to any successful business. A well-crafted brand strategy enables businesses to build recognition and admiration among customers while positioning them for long-term success. By carefully choosing a comprehensive brand strategy, companies can ensure that they effectively communicate the right message to the right audience at the right time. Branding strategy is essential for increasing profits and building consumer relationships that will last into the future. Let's take a look at some figures:

  • Developing an emotional connection with customers can yield a staggering 306% higher lifetime value for your brand.
  • To ensure your brand is consistent across all platforms, you must carry the same branding to every channel and media platform where you have a presence. After all, customers expect 90% of their experience with your brand to be seamless regardless of the platform they use.
  • According to a survey of expert marketers, brand awareness is deemed the most important goal, with an impressive 84% endorsement.
  • Branded content can captivate and engage with your audience more than 22 times better than a standard display ad.
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Open laptop

What Makes a Strong Brand Strategy?

Several key components must be present to be considered a successful brand strategy.

  1. 1.

    One crucial element is establishing an emotional bond with customers based on shared values between the company and its audience.
  2. 2.

    It should differentiate itself from competitors through unique products or services.
  3. 3.

    A well-designed brand strategy also revolves around effectively communicating the company's core message to ensure easy accessibility for customers seeking information.
  4. 4.

    A strong brand strategy must be adaptable and evolve to meet consumers' constantly changing needs and preferences.

Elements of Brand Strategy

A successful brand strategy comprises several key elements. These include creating a unique brand identity, developing a unified message, and conveying your business's values, tone of voice, storytelling ability, and overall feeling.

Source: Medium
brand design elements diagram

Verbal Brand Identity

Verbal identity encompasses how a brand expresses its beliefs, purpose, and character through language. This includes elements such as the brand name, tagline, slogans, tone, writing style, and vocabulary used in marketing communications. The verbal identity of a brand must be distinctive and consistent with the brand's persona and values. It must resonate with the intended audience and set the brand apart from its competitors. A well-crafted verbal identity can establish a strong connection with customers, shaping their perception of the brand, influencing their purchasing decisions, and fostering loyalty.

Brand Values

Brand values are an integral part of brand management, as they reflect what you hold dear and should be evident in every aspect of your business. By establishing a clear set of brand values, you can effectively communicate your company's identity to potential customers. These values are a compass for all decisions related to customer service, product development, marketing strategies, and beyond. They provide a guiding light for employees as they work towards delivering a memorable and unparalleled customer experience in every interaction. These values should be deeply ingrained within the company culture, consistently upheld, and constantly reinforced to ensure a solid and impactful brand image.

Brand Identity

Brand identity is the visual representation of a brand that sets it apart from others in the minds of consumers. It encompasses all aspects, such as color, design, and logo, to effectively communicate the brand's core values, personality, and essence. A company can tell its unique story and establish itself as distinctive in the market through a compelling brand identity. A consistent brand identity across all platforms is essential to ensure recognition and provide a seamless experience for consumers.

Logos

Logos come in various forms, each with its unique appeal and purpose. There are wordmarks, which consist of the brand's name in a stylized font. Letterforms and monograms are logos created from one or more letters, generally the brand's initials. Pictorial marks or brand marks are icon-based logos representing the brand through an image or shape. Abstract logo marks are geometric forms that don't establish an immediate connection to an existing image but are unique to the brand.

One intriguing advancement in logo design is the animated logo. These bring traditional logos to life, adding motion to capture attention and offer a more dynamic, engaging interaction with the audience. Animated logos are particularly effective in the digital space, where movement can make a brand stand out in a sea of static images.

Brand Design

Brand design is an essential aspect of developing a solid brand strategy. It entails creating visual brand identity elements that represent your business and differentiate it from others in the market. These elements, including logos, color schemes, typography, and imagery, are compiled into a brand style guide. Consistent use of these elements across all channels is crucial, allowing customers to quickly identify and associate your brand with its unique identity.

Brand Story

A brand story is essential to brand strategies as it helps bring your company's values and identity to life. It tells why your business exists, what it stands for, and how it makes a difference. A strong brand story should be told through engaging content that resonates with customers emotionally, such as videos, articles, or even customer testimonials. This type of storytelling can be used across all channels to ensure that customers recognize your unique identity wherever they encounter it.

Source: Typewriter.media
brand story process diagram

Brand Architecture

Brand architecture is pivotal in an overall brand strategy, especially for organizations with a portfolio of brands, services, or products. Fundamentally, brand architecture outlines the structure of the brand within an organizational entity. It serves to clarify the brand's portfolio, revealing the relationships between the parent brand, subsidiary brands, products, and services.

A well-planned brand architecture aids in avoiding brand confusion among consumers. It ensures that each brand or sub-brand within an organization’s portfolio has a unique position and its relationship to the parent brand is clear. This helps prevent potential overlap or dilution of brand identities while maximizing brand equity across the entire portfolio.

Brand Style Guide and Brand Strategy

Basically, all these elements will later help you create a brand style guide - a documented set of guidelines that helps to maintain consistency and coherence in a brand's presentation across various platforms.

Connecting this with your brand strategy, the style guide ensures that the brand's identity, as defined by the strategy, is communicated consistently and effectively. The strategy outlines what your brand stands for, its core values, and its unique selling points. The style guide then translates these strategic elements into visual and verbal guidelines.

Quick Brand Strategy Template

  • What is your brand striving to achieve, and how are you expressing those goals?
  • What difficulties will your brand be able to solve, and how can it improve the lives of its target customers?
  • Who would you like to have as your customers [the Buyer Persona]? What traits do they possess, and how can you target them effectively?
  • Who will be positively impacted by the brand? How do these customers feel, and how can we make them feel better?
  • How do you recognize who your competitors are? Who is offering what potential customers need, and how are these services or products provided?
  • What personality and tone of voice will your brand need to adopt to capture the attention of potential customers? How can you create an engaging experience for them?
Source: Smartsheet
brand strategy planning template

7 Types of Branding Strategy

Choosing the right brand strategy can be difficult, so it is essential to understand what type of brand you are trying to create and how to best communicate your brand messaging. There are several main types of brand strategies that businesses can utilize.

Product Branding

Product branding is when a brand focuses on communicating the features and benefits of its products to persuade customers to purchase them. Product brand strategies should highlight why customers should choose your brand over others, what makes it different from competitors, and how it can improve their lives. This brand development strategy relies heavily on effective marketing, such as advertisements, influencer marketing, and content creation. Branding a product is one of the most effective methods for creating name recognition and a strong brand identity. By connecting an image, title, brand colors, and visuals to your product or service, you can construct an exclusive identity that will help customers distinguish it from others in its category.

It's become almost a mundane part of our everyday lives - the iconic logos of businesses like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Starbucks. Such unforgettable products have funneled into society so profoundly that we scarcely take notice anymore.

Photo by Michał Kubalczyk on Unsplash
Apple devices on a white table

Corporate Branding

Corporate branding is when a brand focuses on communicating its values to build customer trust and increase brand awareness. Corporate brand strategies should focus on conveying what makes the brand unique, how it can help improve customers' lives, and how it defines itself through its brand values. By combining the strengths of two different brands, a fused brand is born - otherwise known as a brand partnership. This strategic marketing ploy has allowed businesses to expand their customer bases and increase perceived value by joining forces. The advantages are plentiful, from increased awareness in the marketplace to skyrocketing sales figures!

Through a co-branding alliance, the music streaming app Spotify and ride-hailing service Uber are teaming up to bring customers "a soundtrack for their journey." This illustrates how two distinct companies with similar objectives — increasing user base — can collaborate successfully.

Attitude Branding

Attitude branding is when a brand focuses on creating an emotional connection with its target audience by conveying a specific attitude or message. Attitude branding strategies should focus on expressing the brand's personality and values to draw customers in and make them feel like they are part of something special. This brand strategy uses creative visuals, such as brand story, colors, fonts, and logos, to create its brand identity.

Nike has long been at the forefront of attitude-driven branding, encapsulating it perfectly through their iconic slogan, 'Just Do It'.

Photo by Peter Aroner on Unsplash
motivational picture "Just Do It"

Minimalist Branding

Minimalist branding is when a brand focuses on creating a simple and modern brand identity that can easily be identified. Minimalist brand strategies should use minimalistic visuals, such as white space, clean lines, and muted colors, to convey the brand voice without overwhelming customers. This brand strategy relies heavily on sound design, such as brand guidelines and brand assets.

Apple has become the vanguard of 'extreme minimalism', revolutionizing how we view design.

Individual Branding

Individual brand strategies should focus on creating a brand identity for each brand, using visuals to help customers distinguish between products. This brand strategy promotes consistency and allows the company to appeal to multiple target markets. It also gives customers more options in product selection and provides greater visibility in the marketplace.

Procter & Gamble is an iconic company that boasts a massive collection of individual brands, such as Pantene, Olay, Vicks, and Pampers - just to name a few.

Source: Procter&Gamble
clients` logos of Procter & Gamble

Brand Extension Branding

Brand extension branding is when a brand focuses on expanding its product offering or diversifying its brand to meet the needs of different customers. Brand extension strategies should focus on creating unique brand experiences tailored to each customer's needs. This brand strategy uses digital platforms like websites, apps, and blogs to promote brand experiences.

Gillette's innovative decision to produce shaving cream, foam, and gel, in addition to its renowned safety razor blades, was brilliant. After all, it can be challenging to envision someone shaving without any of these items. Thus, Gillette made a wise move by creating an essential accessory for its primary product.

Service Branding

With service branding, companies can take their services and turn them into products that are uniquely marketed to expand reach and sales. This strategy is crucial in contributing to the creation of brand identity as well as promoting economic growth within businesses. Unlike tangible objects, services cannot be seen or touched. However, service branding enables providers to effectively promote such offerings successfully.

For instance, IKEA offers an exceptional service to design the interiors of any room in your house in 3D using the items from its collections.

Photo by Zheka Kapusta on Unsplash
IKEA logo

Branding Methods

Effective brand strategies involve a variety of creative branding methods. These include:

  • Advertising campaigns
  • Content marketing
  • Social media campaigns
  • Influencer marketing
  • SEO optimization
  • Strategic partnerships

Each of these techniques can be used to create an attractive image for your business and reach out to potential customers. It's essential to research which methods will work best for you and find innovative ways to communicate your message.

Advertising Campaigns

Advertising campaigns are a powerful tool that can be used to reach potential customers and create an attractive image for your brand. This branding strategy captures customers' attention and draws them in with engaging content.

Source: Tânia Mousinho / Unsplash
advertising screens on the square

Advertising campaigns are a vital part of any powerful brand strategy. They provide an effective avenue to showcase your company's brand positioning and reach new customers. Through creative visuals, copywriting, storytelling, and strategic placement, advertising campaigns can draw out emotion from potential customers and create an unforgettable experience for them. These campaigns can be implemented on various platforms, from TV and radio to print, digital media, and beyond.

Content Marketing

Content marketing plays a crucial role in developing any powerful brand strategy. It encompasses creating captivating content that captures the attention of potential customers and effectively communicates your business's message.

Through content marketing, you can elevate brand awareness and highlight your company's distinctive principles. This can be achieved through diverse mediums, including but not limited to blogs, videos, podcasts, eBooks, and social media content.

Social Media Campaigns

Social media campaigns are a great way to reach your target audience and introduce them to your existing or new brand. These campaigns can involve running ads on social media platforms or creating content tailored to each platform. The key is to find out which platforms your target customers use and create engaging content for them.

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Instagram, Twitter, Facebook logos

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a great way to reach potential customers and build a connection with them. Influencers have built an audience of followers on social media who trust their opinion, so if an influencer promotes your brand, it can have a powerful effect on potential customers.

SEO Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) improves your website's visibility in search engine results to attract more customers. It includes optimizing your content, keywords, and page structure so that popular search engines like Google can easily crawl and rank your website. SEO plays a crucial role in any effective brand strategy, ensuring the target audience can discover your website when searching for relevant keywords.

Source: Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk / Unsplash
SEO chart

Strategic Partnerships

Strategic partnerships are a great way to reach out to potential customers and build relationships with them. By partnering with other businesses or organizations, you can create a robust network of customers, promote your brand’s mission, and extend your brand's reach.

Final Thoughts

In today's cut-throat market, establishing brand value is crucial for the success of any business. Businesses can build a strong and attractive image that resonates with their target audience by utilizing various impactful techniques such as advertising campaigns, content marketing, social media promotions, influencer collaborations, SEO optimization, and strategic partnerships. These tactics increase brand awareness and establish a deeper connection between customers and the company's core values. With careful planning and execution, businesses can cultivate a loyal following of consumers who trust their brand message.

About Clay

Clay is a UI/UX design & branding agency in San Francisco. We team up with startups and leading brands to create transformative digital experience. Clients: Facebook, Slack, Google, Amazon, Credit Karma, Zenefits, etc.

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About Clay

Clay is a UI/UX design & branding agency in San Francisco. We team up with startups and leading brands to create transformative digital experience. Clients: Facebook, Slack, Google, Amazon, Credit Karma, Zenefits, etc.

Learn more

Share this article

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