What is Brand Strategy?

There are many different types of Strategies when it comes to business. Business Strategy, Corporate Strategy, Marketing Strategy, Content Strategy but what is Brand Strategy?

TL;DR; Brand Strategy is highlighting the long-term goals of a business and understanding how your brand can help achieve them.

Let’s start by defining what ‘Brand’ is. Brand in itself is very intangible. Often mistaken for a logo or the ‘look’ of something be it a website or marketing materials. Brand is actually the feeling someone gets whenever they interact with your business. A great example and one commonly used is Nike. Their brand could be considered the feeling of a get-up-and-go attitude with regard to sport. No thinking. No second guesses. Give it your all. Their slogan “Just Do It” is a perfect encapsulation of this attitude.

This idea of “Just Do It” is probably printed on a document somewhere in the Nike offices along with other intangible feelings and values that they adhere to. From this “document” every single thing that is written, presented, spoken, recorded or broadcasted will revert back to this document and the idea of “Just Do It”. Before anything is sent out to the masses, it is asked the question “Does this resonate with our values and our ethos?”.

Brand cannot end there. It’s all well and good that a company sits round a table and decides “this is our brand, we must always adhere to this”. It’s not until this idea enters the minds of the consumer before it starts to take shape. The great Marty Neumeier said “Your brand isn’t what you say it is. It’s what they say it is”. Meaning it’s only until the prospect “gets it” and feels it that it becomes your brand.

No that we’ve established what brand is, how does strategy fall into this and what different types of brand strategies are there?

As will all aspects of a business, you must have a purpose and goals. You need a reason to exist and these reasons should dictate everything that you do. Brand strategy is no different so highlighting the long-term goals of a business and understanding how your brand can help achieve them is what brand strategy is. This can be a fairly intangible thing, particularly in the eyes of an accountant. Brand Value or “brand equity” cannot be measured in the short-term as it’s a pretty intagible asset. If goals are met, what percentage can be attributed to your brand?

This makes brand strategy all the more important as recognising a goal and assigning a particular tactic executed by a brand action is the only possible way to even come close to start to understand how well your brand is doing. It’s likely though that multiple strategies have been assigned to a particular goal and so there lies the dilema. A truly chicken-egg type of scenario particularly with marketing. I always describe marketing as the megaphone and brand as the voice. The two are intrinsically linked and you often see this as VP’s of marketing are assigned to the management of an organisations brand. To an extent they are appropriately given the task but they are definitely different skillsets. Ultimately, you can’t beat having a single person assigned to one task.

Brand Strategy can be said to drive they why from an emotional standpoint of the business strategy and marketing can be considered how. Knowing why you do things is key to really connect with your market. It’s the only human-like asset they can resonate with so it’s important to make it known. You often see “Vision Statements” on websites to really highlight this. Personally, I like the idea of this resonating from within the behaviours and actions of the brand to help your customers understand your vision statement.

Brand Strategy at Jupiter and the Giraffe is the process of running diagnosis of the current state of the business and what goals it has as well as the market in and around the business to help define a brand. That includes user personas and competitor analysis. Finally, we propose a set of actions to accomplish your brand goals. This is crucial as it gives purpose the tasks at hand and gives us measurable results we hope to achieve at given points in the strategy. We distil this down to a creative brief, outlining actions against a prioritised list of goals created during the session. This session is attended by C-suite members of the organisation because it’s important to know the long-term goals of the company, something only these individuals have sight of. The founder is also a great person to have in the room as they often have sight of the vision as this is key to staying focussed.

Staying consistent with these ideas is important. We run brand audits every 3 months as they can easily get shaken due to changes in the market place and company goals changing. Brand should be an evolving aspect of the company but should always be anchored to the “why” of the organisation. Reverting back to the “Document” is a great way to do this.

It’s amazing what results can come from a brand strategy. Most notably is how to create a good brand name. To create a brand name or company name that has rooted meaning can only be achieved from looking deep within your brand and seeing further than simply what you do. Some of the best brand name examples in my opinion are Spotify, Kindle and Apple. It doesn’t take long to find out what inspired these seemingly arbitrary names. Once brand strategy is in place, you’ll have a hard time choosing a brand name! If you want help naming your brand, I suggest the book Hello, my name is awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick.

I hope this clears up any ambiguity. The very process of brand strategy should get the minds of everyone working together and involved while leaving everyone feeling like they are on the same page. Super important if this document stays relevant for as long as the organisation is in existence.

At Jupiter and the Giraffe we offer Brand Strategy but we also offer Brand Experience which aims to fulfil most of the actions identified in Strategy. If you’re interested in having a chat, feel free to contact us for a free consultation. We love talking about everything brand related!

OnlinessStatementGenerator.com and what all the fuss is about

Onliness isn’t even a real word. It was coined by the great Marty Neumeier in his book Zag. Although not the godfather of what the onliness statement tool is used for (that was done by television advertising pioneer Rosser Reeves) he certainly helped it reach the masses. Originally, Rosser described a “Unique Selling Proposition” or USP as a differentiation characteristic of your brand in the marketplace. It’s one of the most important strategic actions one can take when starting a business or building a product and is a key element to building a brand.

Marty takes Rossers idea further in his Onliness Statement by getting us to figure out the “Big Idea” behind our product or service. He also encapsulates the what, how, who, where, why and when of your business cutting through the noise in the market and positioning you well. The Onliness Statement acts as a decision filter for all future encounters and to ultimately remain on brand. Reaching a fork in the road is a simple case of referring to your Onliness Statement to figure out if this aligns with your goal as a business.

So what is the Onliness Statement?

You fill in the blanks…

[Company Name] is THE ONLY (category)
THAT (differentiation characteristic)
FOR (customer)
IN (market geography)
WHO (need state)
DURING (underling trend)

Here are some examples:

Harley Davidson The ONLY motorcycle manufacturer
THAT makes big, loud motorcycles
FOR macho guys (and macho “wannabees”)
mostly IN the United States
WHO wants to join a gang of cowboys
DURING an era of decreasing personal freedom

Jupiter and the Giraffe is THE ONLY branding agency
THAT brings ambitious and interesting global brand thinking
FOR young, creative entrepreneurs
IN and around Planet Earth
WHO want to demonstrate their uniqueness
DURING an era of boring sameness

You can really see that you’re not only challenged to think of HOW your product is different but also WHY it’s different.

So have a go yourself. It only takes a few moments. There may be some tasks you need to undertake to fill it in which may make it longer (such as your target market) but it will ultimately be a very powerful tool.

Luckily, We’ve built a tool to help you over at OnlinessStatementGenerator.com. We hope this helps streamline the process.


Bring strategic thinking to your brand

Jupiter and the Giraffe describe themselves as a brand strategy and design agency, but what does this mean? More specifically the term “agency” and how does it differ to freelancers?

You can find freelancers on websites like Upwork and Fiverr. These sites are a great place to find creatives and technical individuals to help you build what you want. Want a new logo? Someone on Fiverr will create you one for your up and coming business. Need a new website? Upwork’s got you covered. Although you may get exactly what you’re looking for, there’s one huge thing that individuals behind the computer screen lack. Strategic thinking.

I’m not calling these creatives stupid and it’s not that these people can’t think, it’s that they don’t need to in this context. It’s just not what they are getting paid to do. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are all about getting work done for cheap but what’s the cost? Freelancers thrive as individuals on these platforms because a freelancer can be a cog in a machine. There’s normally someone above them like an analyst or a creative lead that tells them exactly what to create. The huge thing missing here though is “why” they are creating something and some creatives are happy not knowing the why. Just tell them what to do and they’ll do it.

This is great if you have an idea for a logo in your head and can picture bits of it but need a whizz at Photoshop to polish it up for you and refine a few creative decisions around your concept.

The problem here though is that there is no purpose or meaning to their ideas. As much as you might think creative assets like this need to look cool, there’s much more below the surface. It all starts with business goals and what you want to achieve as a company. More specifically, what is your brand and your company’s values. It’s great that you have an idea for a logo but to really get the most out of it, it needs to speak to the right people and ultimately convert from prospects to customers.

I won’t knock these websites. It’s so important to get your idea up there and testing assumptions on real people and so paying for a logo or website shouldn’t be at the top of your list, but when you start to make money and your idea becomes more refined and clear, it’s time you start to look at how you can target the right customer and speak to them in the right way.

It is possible for a freelancer to extract this information from you but that’s about it when it comes to a freelancer. It doesn’t end there for an agency. It’s really up to an agency to question your motives behind your design choices (if you have them) and actually create a strategy to execute that all falls in line with your business goals. We build your brand and define your strategy before we even touch design or development. We actually call this service Strategy. After the initial strategy session, we may then conduct a set of discovery workshops to further dig into your challenges and pain-points to develop our “why” when it comes to execution.

When it finally comes to design or development – we’ve thought long and hard about what problems we are trying to solve – who your audience are and what appeals to them; how we speak to them; how do they typically engage with you; what they are looking to get out of you and the many ways they would look to do that. Only then is this likely to actually have a financial and beneficial impact on your business. We think. We measure twice and cut once, as the old saying goes.

So if you’re ready for the next step, or you believe you’re just not speaking to the right people or you need to speak to a new set of people, then get in touch with us and lets do something awesome together.

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash