Having a well-defined brand helps businesses connect with customers and gain their trust. It is more than a product, service, logo, tagline or social media presence; the brand is what leaves a lasting impression. Marketing thought-leader Seth Godin may have said it best:
A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one service (or product) over another.”Seth Godin
As a Distributor, you’re well-versed in how promotional products can boost a brand, but promos are just one (very important!) piece of a winning plan. Developing a comprehensive brand strategy can pay off by providing a competitive advantage, gaining more customers, establishing your expertise and focusing your goals. All things that will help keep a company around for a long time. (1)
Whether you are creating your own brand strategy or offering more client services as a promo powerhouse, these 8 components of a brand strategy will help define a unique identity. Plus, when you’re ready to get to work there is a printable template below to help get you started.
1 – Your Mission (the backbone of a brand strategy)
What makes you excited to go to work every day? Being able to put words to why a company exists carries more weight with consumers that brand promises alone. To develop your purpose, the marketing pros at HubSpot suggest two approaches:
- Functional: This concept focuses on the evaluations of success in terms of immediate and commercial reasons — i.e. the purpose of the business is to make money.
- Intentional: This concept focuses on success as it relates to the ability to make money and do good in the world.
Just remember – Making money is a priority for any business but operating with that purpose alone won’t do much to set a brand apart from competitors.
Need some inspiration? Think of your favorite brands whose missions go beyond just the sale. (2) For example:
- JetBlue: To inspire humanity – both in the air and on the ground.
- TED: Spread ideas.
- Nordstrom: To give customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.
- LinkedIn: To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.
2 – Brand Position Statement
How do you want people to feel, think and talk about you? A brand positioning statement explains what your brand does, and the benefits in a concise statement. Start thinking about the past, present and future of your business – and then figure out how to reach that awesome future. (3)
3 – Unique Selling Proposition
Defining what sets a business apart is more than just listing features and benefits of a product or service. To really drill down and find your USP, approach it from your customer’s perspective to see how you are meeting an emotional need. Then identify the parts of your brand that cannot be imitated. Look at your list and find words that jump out at you, then use those words to create clear and concise USP’s that answer – What’s in it for your customer? (4)
4 – Proof of Value
You can’t just tell your customers how awesome your business is, you must prove it! Outlining a summary of proof points that support USP’s is essential to substantiate the claims for a brand. Always stay factual and accurate but be sure to highlight the features that make your products and services one-of-a-kind – and that only you can claim. Be creative, elaborate on processes and remember to appeal to the emotional side of your audience. (5)
5 – Company Promise
A company needs a brand promise to shine a light on customer expectations so everyone in the business creates a consistent experience for those customers. While meant to be internal-facing only, a meaningful promise can align employee’s efforts and sets realistic expectations for what is within the brand’s scope. Write out one or two sentences which internally communicate what customers expect from all the products and services offered by the brand. (6)
6 – Tone of Voice
According to the context experts at SEMrush, “Tone of voice reflects your brand personality, helps you connect with your audience, and makes you different from the rest.” Therefore, it’s not surprising that messaging tone is crucial to your brand strategy. Really understanding your audience and how they talk is a great place to start. Use that research to determine what your brand sounds like and how you want your brand to sound to your customers.
7 – What do you do?
Your elevator pitch is what you say when someone asks: “So, what do you do and why should I care?” This is an important and effective way to demonstrate a brand’s expertise, strengths and USP’s. Start by writing down everything you want to say about the brand. Then, write each point concisely enough to fit on a single Sticky Note™ square and arrange them into a message. Say your elevator pitch out loud to be sure it is a quick, verbal snapshot that leaves a lasting impression. (7)
8 – Tagline Time
Wrapping your strategy up with a tagline, a phrase about the founding idea or concept of a business, gives your industry something to think about. Be sure your tagline implies or promises a brand benefit while being short, sweet and to the point. A good tagline presents the most important truth about your company that people need to now. (8)
Now that you’re armed with the basics of building a successful brand strategy, your creative ideas are probably coming in fast! Use this template to organize your thoughts and visually outline all the elements of your plan:
Once your brand strategy is ready to go, visit bicgraphic.com to shop for the perfect promotional products to connect your message to your audience and get brand impressions that last!
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