Why Brand Strategy is Important
Branding is not just about becoming recognizable, it is about becoming and staying knowable, likeably and trustworthy to the people you are trying to reach. In a noisy world—please, for the sake of humanity … but also for the sake of saving ad dollars—don’t try to reach everyone, just try to reach the people you can best serve with whatever it is you do.
Note that, a marketing strategy is different than a brand strategy. Your brand strategy is fairly futile if you do not follow it with a marketing strategy to get all that good stuff out into the world. However, so many organizations focus on marketing strategies, but have no clear brand strategy. We are here to argue that your brand strategy needs to come first, or else, your marketing strategy has no real foundation on which to build. With a really good marketing strategy, you may float by and see growth for a while even without a brand strategy behind it, but eventually, it will crumble because your brand will be lost in the noise.
The following elements should go into a brand strategy.
The Visual Identity (aka logo—you can learn more about that here) is the most obvious part of your brand, so let’s start there!
It’s fairly easy to create a logo that is cool, aesthetic and trendy. It is not easy to create a visual identity that displays your core identity accurately and in a likeable way to reach the people you are called to serve.
When you embark on visual identity development (whether a new brand, a rebrand or a brand maturation), start with the hard work of identifying who your brand is and why you are here. Who are you reaching? What are your values? Distill your work down into a few root concepts (this should be written concepts—don’t let yourself think about symbols or designs yet). When you start with a root concept, your visual identity design and development will have a firm foundation on which you can build.
Brand Narrative & Messaging
Your Brand Narrative is the internal story of your brand, which you and your core team on the branding front will develop. Starting with the narrative is an important step. Just as the best authors create a character profile before writing their novel, so does the best brand messaging (external) start with a brand narrative (internal).
There are many ways and templates to approach brand narrative development. We have developed a system that works best for the purpose-driven clients we serve—that’s part of our Clarity process. If you’re interested in how we do that, contact us here!
The Brand Messaging is then the external language used to present your brand DNA and story to your team as a whole and to your audience. And yes, there is strategy to brand messaging. Start with defining your high level objectives for the written communications that people will see from your brand. What do you want them to know about why you’re here and what you do? What action do you want them to take in response? These are some foundational questions we start with on a brand messaging project.
Brand stewardship is about maintaining all of the above things with consistency. Stewardship is a lovely word because it implies that the foundations were solidly laid. That’s our goal when we do Clarity and Strategy work for you—it’s to lay excellent foundations so your ongoing task becomes stewardship. However, what if you find your brand in a position where your foundations were not strong, and your brand needs to change?
Determining when to make brand changes to an existing brand is a strategic decision. You can learn more about change stewardship here to help navigate questions of when to change.
But for the purposes of this article, here’s an overview. First, know the difference between brand maturation (like some new furniture and fresh paint) and a rebrand (a deeper architectural excavation).
We recently matured our brand with some minor visual identity refinements and more focused goals. There is always room for your brand to mature with time. It should happen every few years, ideally. Think about the brand maturation process similar to a person’s maturation process. A person is fundamentally the same person—their voice is the same though it may deepen, their mind is the same though they may have a wider perspective, and their heart is the same though they may have wisely learned to focus more on the important things.
So don’t fear change for your brand, but carefully assess changes to make sure you aren’t tossed in the waves of the ocean but losing yourself.
A rebrand is a different process. At face value, a rebrand is changing the creative look. But often, organizations think that changing their creative look will make them relevant again, when perhaps what they really need is a DNA evaluation, perhaps they need to grow and stretch and change in their larger brand strategy.
If you are looking for help developing a strategy roadmap for your purpose-driven business or Christ-centered ministry, we’d love for you to fill out this form so we can start a conversation. Our holistic approach to Clarity, Strategy and Creative leaves you with a custom strategy that aligns with your core DNA rather than templatized formulas that fail to regard your organization as a whole.
How to Protect Your People and Your Brand from Quiet Quitting
At Resonate, we believe that Brand stewardship extends to all areas of your organization. Brand should be more than your logo or even your external reputation, but it should also be something meaningful and motivating for each person on your team. Team alignment is critical to organizational advancement.
Sales and Brand: the Dance
What is the most popular space at a middle school dance? The snack area! That’s where young boys are free to congregate and talk about baseball while ignoring the core problem facing them: they don’t know how or whether to ask a girl to dance. The gulf between the snack bar and the dance floor may only consist of a few feet, but on a deeper level, it spans galaxies.
What’s in a Logo?
Internally, we actually use the language “Visual Identity” to describe the logo and brand color palette. Eventually, your visual identity will also become other key aspects of your brand design, certain elements or strokes to supplement your logo and add robustness to your brand. We just said logo in the title because we thought you’d be more likely to click it. ;-) Were we right?
What’s In a Brand?
“Branding is the art of becoming knowable, likable and trustable.” That John Jantsch pearl of marketing wisdom is the kind of statement that gets our wheels turning, because it speaks volumes in just a few short words. It’s not wrong, but we also think there’s more to branding. It’s an art, for sure; but it’s also a science.