Creating a brand is a strategy that defines success in any business. The brand should have a particular business strategy in order to promote its products and / or services on the market. This article reveals the secrets of how to attract the target audience to a brand by answering three important questions of the strategic brand development such as what, why and how. In other words, the article will cover the eight steps of creating a strategic brand such as the business niche, brand positioning, brand offerings, brand name, visual identity, brand strategy, brand orientation and brand opportunities.
What or the Rule of 4 Don’ts
There is a Rule of 4 Don’ts that claims there should be no advertising, no marketing strategy, no public information and no communication with the potential customers unless there is a true understanding of what a brand can offer. Hence, it is highly important to define what value the brand can bring to the market as well as why it matters for the people. Therefore, only after the above aspects are clear, the business can start building a brand reputation by using a variety of communication channels with the target audience. The brand image should be reliable based on the business character. As a result, the target messages for the customers will help to build the brand recognition on the national and global levels.
Why or the 4 Steps to the Target Audience
The successful relationships with the target audience fully depend on trust, reliability and reasoning. There are several instruments that businesses use to develop a strategic brand such as advertising (concise frequent interactions), marketing (honest and in depth communication), public relations (trustworthy third parties) and branding (relationships that people can trust). These functions of brand strategy should be used to create effective business messages for the potential customers and answer the questions on what the business does, why it matters, what it stands for and why the target audience should trust this brand.
How or the Eight Steps to a Strategic Brand Development
An effective brand strategy offers innovative solutions that correspond to the most sophisticated brand challenges. In other words, this is are search on the strategic insights that deliver strong solutions for the business. However, the immediate branding practices that have a strong impact on emotions of people are dangerous for the brand image and could ruin its market reputation in case of a durable practice. There are eight steps that businesses should follow in order to develop a successful branding strategy and create a strategic brand image.
Step 1: Business niche
The business owner should fully understand the intentions of the brand. It should be unique based on the analysis of direct and indirect competition on the market and industry. The purpose is to obtain all the valuable information about the target audience and offer a great contribution to the society. For example, 80% of profit from the products and services is in three categories of niches such as health, relationships and business. In order to find the right business niche, people can think of the most comfortable areas with the best expertise. Then choose 15 niches and attempt to do business in 5 best of them. This strategy will allow identifying the niche with the most profit for the business. As a result, people will have one or two niches with the most perspective for the start-up business to invest time and money.
Step 2: Brand positioning
The branding messages should include all the components of the brand’s offerings. The purpose is to create a story comprising the mission, vision and objectives of the brand and personalize them based on the core values of the potential customers. It is important to define the internal and external sources of communication in order to provide a strong, reliable and noteworthy branding experience. For example, the billionaire Richard Branson is known as the world’s greatest brand-builder.
His Virgin Group has more than 400 brands in various areas of business that started from the student magazine. Richard Branson pursued only the business niches with the greatest personal interest and the best value for the global society.
Step 3: Brand offerings
Every brand should have a portfolio of its products and / or services personalized to the needs of the target audience. The purpose is to connect all the portfolio elements to one another so that the customers could easily distinguish the brand’s offerings. Moreover, the brand should be positioned to the industry through the equivalent products and services of a higher quality and value. As a result, the target audience will believe in the brand’s offerings and will be easy to transfer from one offering / sub-brand to another.
For example, the Xerox Company sells a variety of color and black-and-white printers, photo copiers and digital production presses. However, the major piece of profit comes from the sub-brands, which are office and production equipment, including the LCD Monitors, workflow software, scanners, fax machines, and other printing solutions.
Step 4: Brand name
A story behind the brand name is what makes it significant for the public. The best brand names are either simple or they reflect a noteworthy story, for example, Apple Inc. Today, everyone knows about the Apple or Macintosh brands.
In addition, people have a deep appreciation of their values on the market. Therefore, in order to think of a suitable brand name, the business owner should analyze the competition, target audience, market positioning, industry demand, web domain and international brand relevancy. Overall, the brand should meet the business objectives and values that address the needs of the target audience. It should be simple to attract the customers into the brand’s community similar to the branding strategy of Apple Inc. Consequently, the people will have a long-term commitment to the brand’s offerings.
Step 5: Visual identity
The visual illustration is important to empower the brand’s image by design, relevancy and recognition. It is important to offer the customers a significant graphic character of a brand. The elements of style, fonts, photography, shapes, icons and color schemes are important to develop the brand’s visual structure. In addition, a logo of a brand serves as a brief visual signature that attracts the target audience to a brand design. The visual identity is essential as it provides the target audience with the graphical strengths of the brand and produces an effective and reliable trademarked communication. Hence, the brand becomes visually different with the reliable communication system that emphasizes its strengths and projects exclusive brand experience.
For example, Playboy is an American magazine for men, which introduces art nude photography of women, including the journalism and fiction. Its brand name has become so popular due to the connotation of the bunny with a sexual content. The graphical representation of a rabbit is an extraordinary example of the brand’s visual identity of the girl next door that classifies Playboy as one of the top five brands in the world by the public recognition.
Step 6: Brand strategy
The key aspects of a successful branding strategy are sales, product promotion, digital and social media. These strategic factors have a strong impact on the competitive position, brand recognition and customer preference. The brand message should apply all the elements of brand positioning in order to shape the brand attitude. In addition, there should be communication tools that will empower the visual identity to project two-way relations with the target audience. The core branding instruments are the website, corporate identity, promotions, email marketing, products and services, multimedia, business cards, graphics and satisfaction guarantee. Such elements promote an outstanding brand experience as they encourage sales and communication that motivate people to believe in the brand’s offerings that meet the demands and values of the target audience. For example, McDonalds Corporation uses all aspects of the strategic brand development that helps to serve about 70 million customers every day in 119 countries.
Step 7: Brand orientation
The business should connect the employees, investors, shareholders and stakeholders, business partners and third parties around the communication experience under one brand name. A successful brand encourages teamwork and creates pleasure for the daily interactions. The stakeholders promote the brand offerings, recruit and retain employees, provide personal and professional development training programs and communicate with the customers through the social and digital media channels. The purpose of brand orientation is to combine the professional competencies and personal qualities of people around the brand’s products and / or services. In addition, the business owners should focus on the brand messaging and competitive analysis by selling a brand and not the products or services. The goal is to maintain the top quality and extraordinary brand reputation. For example, Microsoft offers a wide range of computer products and services worldwide. Its brand has become one of the most valuable companies in the world by revenues due to the effective brand orientation.
Step 8: Brand and opportunities
The business should always overlook the market opportunities and create new brand offerings. The purpose is to identify the values of the target audience and extend the brand with the new market expectations. It is important to deliver the new vision for the strategic development of the brand’s strengths. The business owners should constantly analyze the market demand in order to match the expectations of the target audience. As a result, the brand would have a powerful advantage over its competitors due to the constant improvement of its products and services, effective distribution channels and efficient sub-brand strategies, unique messaging techniques and communication instruments that will create an astonishing future of the brand on the market and industry. For example, Adidas Corporation designs and manufactures sports clothing and accessories globally.
In addition, the Adidas Group offers different other products such as sports- and clothing-related goods, bags, shirts, watches, eyewear, etc. that makes this brand one of the biggest sportswear manufacturers in the world.
Further education is offered by the Mind Valley Corporation at www.mindvalley.com.
You can also take advantage of the book called “Business the Richard Branson Way: 10 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Brand-Builder” by Des Dearlove, published in 1999 and available for purchase here.
After you have read the eight steps on developing a strategic brand, became familiar with the rule of 4 don’ts and 4 steps to the target audience, you can think of your own brand development based on the information in the article and share your thoughts on your personal branding experience in the comments below.