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 in the world 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?

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 a diagnosis of the current state of the business and what goals it has as well as the market in and around the business. That includes user personas and competitor analysis. Finally, we propose a set of actions to accomplish the 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 distill 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.

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.

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