Building a brand is both exciting and grueling. You might think of a unique concept, an idea, decide on a quirky name, purchase a domain, and develop a logo. And you might think you are done. Your brand is developed, and you can get your name out there. Well, sorry to burst the bubble, but that is not the way a brand is developed.
The steps mentioned, undoubtedly form an integral part of brand development per se; but that is not enough. You need a bona fide strategy, a successful brand presence to slay your peers.
And that is something not so easy to achieve. Several globally renowned brands spend millions of dollars on their brand development alone and still receive backlash if anything goes awry. Simply put, if you want to stand out in the crowd and strengthen the staying power of your brand, you must focus on building a powerful brand development strategy within a proven brand framework.
So, let’s dig into what Brand Development is all about and where does it stand as far as your brand is concerned.
What is Brand Development and why is it Crucial for your Business?
Brand Development is all about creating a proper message about your company or the brand you possess, your product, service, and any other USP you have. The importance of brand development lies in the fact that it solidifies your stance within the niche you operate.
Developing a brand often encompasses the following phases:
1. Forming the right kind of brand strategy, depending upon your target market and your business objectives.
2. Developing the media and communication tools to get your brand presence across. For e.g., brand logo, tagline or slogan, company website, landing pages, etc.
3. And finally, cementing your brand stature and constantly nourishing. Through Content Marketing, Social Media Posts, Blogs.
All of these, when put together in action, create a favorable ground for your business to flourish and how your prospects perceive it. Although several other avenues have to be considered, the three preliminary stages mentioned above, are the most vital.
What is the Fundamental Difference between Brand Development and Branding?
Usually, we consider the two as synonymous and intertwined. Though to some extent, this holds true. But, there are a couple of metrics that put the two on two separate dimensions.
The first one is the Concept. Brand development is more of the concept of promoting a brand’s unique value propositions.
The second one is Execution. Branding stands for this ongoing execution and communication that are used to promote a brand. This is another critical and integral part of your overall brand development strategy that makes people know about you.
What is Brand Development Strategy and what does it Entail?
Honestly, a strategy or a plan acts as a support for any development to be done. The three phases of brand development, as mentioned above, need such support and a plan to sustain for long. And this is what a brand development or brand expansion strategy is all about. With such a strategy at your disposal, a marketer can make the right decisions upfront.
One more way, this strategy can be defined is by measuring the intangible. How successful your brand has been initially or what problems it could have solved. What is the personality of your brand as perceived by your audience? A solid strategy gives a purview for these too.
That said, having a strong brand strategy upholds the power of your brand and distinguishes you from your competition.
To sustain the most valuable asset of your professional firm, your brand, let’s check out the steps to develop the perfect brand development strategy.
1. Develop your Brand’s True Purpose
When you start a business and launch your service, the world is still ignorant of what you do and why you are doing it. Dig deeper and deeper into that idea.
Think of exactly the service your brand is to perform and the problems it is there to solve. What benefit will your prospects derive from it? That is the true purpose of your brand. Once you get hold of that purpose, it opens the door to creating a deeper connection with your audience. Crafting out the brand purpose is probably one of the most important avenues that beginners must invest more time into, while scoping out their brand strategy in marketing.
2. Solidify the Brand Foundation
An amusing facet of branding is, five different people have five different answers as to what branding truly is. Therefore it is imperative that your brand foundation must be strong enough and consistent.
Creating an engaging logo that makes heads turn, is a part of building your brand foundation. A brand moniker or the name, based on its attributes, is in itself a major brand foundation. Your brand name must leave room for growth and must be aligned with your brand core. Think about your brand lexicon; which is a word bank that supports your overall brand and can be used in all marketing efforts. Examples of engaging lexicons are Teamwork, Partnership, Act, Collaborate, etc.
A cool yet professional brand lexicon is “Create, Amplify, Grow“, which can be used as – “We Create brand. We Amplify your Communication. We help you Grow your Business.” The overall idea here is to emit the brand ethos, utilizing words that work in conjunction with your brand name. As well as, sound appealing to your audience and prospects. A great way of creating a winning brand development.
3. Strictly Focus and Duly Consider your Target Market
This is a fast-paced world, no doubt. Nobody has a second to lose on something that is not enticing. People’s attention span has reduced, and they are in perpetual hunger for something out-of-the-box.
Amidst this scenario, creating a brand and establishing your position within a niche is arduous. But if you get the right attention from the right people at the right time, magic can happen!
That said, be immensely careful with your target market and your audience, as they are the ones that can make or break your brand. While framing your brand strategies, duly take note of what target market you are circling on and the kind of audience.
4. Do not Forget your Overall Business Strategy
It is safe to say that a meticulously thought-out brand strategy will certainly expand your business in due time. But considering your overall business strategy is extremely important while documenting your strategy.
Else, you will be beating around the bush as to what kind of firm do you want? Do you plan to grow and expand organically? How are your products or services different from the others in the market? And most importantly, where did your existing brand identity go wrong? (Only if you have one, though).
The business strategy you already have, acts as a context for your soon-to-be-development brand strategy. So consider it earnestly; and both of your strategies will take your business to the place where you want to see it.
5. Focus on Brand Positioning from a Practical Aspect
As defined by Philip Kotler, “Brand Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market”.
These brands played it so smart and so subtle in positioning their brand in the mind of their target audience, that even after so many years, they gleefully dominate the FMCG sector.
Develop a brand positioning statement that captures the ethos of your brand and makes it different from the others. However, as the caption says, think about your positioning from a realistic aspect, so that you deliver what you promise. Be grounded, but also inspirational!
6. Create your Brand Awareness Resources
Now that’s another mandatory element for a brand development strategist. And needless to say, actual brand development starts here – creating the appropriate resources to spread the word about your existence.
In order to achieve that, take your customer data analysis, competitor analysis, and online review to create your resources. That includes, marketing Video content, Blog posts, marketing Infographics, eBooks, Social Media Graphics, to be precise. Harness social media for better brand awareness, and include Social Media Marketing into your brand strategy framework.
7. Create a Robust Brand Identity Guideline
In the words of Larry Ackerman, a Brand Identity expert- “Identity is cause; brand is effect, and the strength of the former influences the strength of the latter”. Ackerman believes that a healthy corporate identity develops from a vital and visible relationship between the organization and the society of which it is a part.
Yes, undoubtedly, the kind of sustainable partnerships and relations your brand builds with your audience is very much dependent on its identity. The more robust your brand identity is, the longer your brand can thrive in the industry. To start with your brand development guide, think of your brand value and develop an identity that reinforces that value.
Brand identity encompasses visual and verbal communication; and hence is expressed throughout the life of a brand. A well-defined brand identity also ensures a clear and consistent expression of your company’s mission and vision. Your brand strategy is incomplete without this component.
8. Do a SWOT Analysis of your Brand, along with a Competitive Review
Gauging the Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) of your brand is essential. More so, when your brand development depends on the analytics from these metrics.
One must know the differentiating points of the brand they own to make better-informed brand strategy decisions. It’s hard to make informed choices without knowing what your competitors are offering to their target audience, what story they are telling, how the market is reacting to it.
Once you get an overview, you can better communicate your brand message to a larger audience.
9. Maintain Consistency in your Branding and Communication
One of the basic thumb rules of brand development is consistency. Your brand strategy must be consistent throughout all the channels you leverage for promotion and communication.
Why branding should be consistent across all channels, as anything otherwise can give out conflicting messages to the audience. Think about any successful brand worldwide, and you would find their branding to be the same across any format and channel.
For regional promotions, though, or during holidays, seasonal festivities, you can duly tweak your brand to reflect the cultural essence. But the undertone must be consistent; the corporate identity, fonts, color scheme, should never drift.
10. Ensure you have a Brand Management Plan
Apart from drafting your brand development strategy, create a system for effective Brand Management also. Brand management goes a long way in the successful implementation and continuation of your branding strategy. It is more like managing an investment portfolio. Just like you cannot invest and forget, instead manage and keep an eye on it, likewise, your branding endeavors cannot be done and forgotten.
One must ensure that whatever decisions are taken, identities created, formats selected, are happening seamlessly in reality. Often in investments, we find certain things are not optimally working out any longer. Or maybe lacking a critical element.
In such cases, smart investors tend to re-evaluate their investment decisions. It is all the same when you find certain branding elements are no longer creating the desired impact. You might want to rethink and reevaluate your chances. May be a small update to your brand color or font, some graphic changes in the website, a minor SEO re-adjustment.
Following this key guide to brand development, you can ensure that your brand management efforts continue to drive success and development for your business and your company’s online reputation.
Over to you now!
The steps mentioned above are not hacks, but tried and tested methods in which a bona fide brand development strategy should be created. If you are a novice, then these steps would surely come in handy to you. And if you are a veteran, then you might check the list, just in case you have missed out on anything in your brand development strategy.
You see, creating brand development strategies take time. There are hundreds of other considerations to make other than the ones mentioned above. It doesn’t come together overnight. It is a work of art and, most importantly, patience. A lot of brand fails because of sloppy, run-of-the-mill strategy that backfires.
Also, you cannot build a brand strategy all alone. One cannot imagine the pressure under which a marketer starts rolling out his/her business; and in the ensuing pressure, much of the elementary requisites of brand development gets missed.
Therefore, it is always recommended to consult a professional while scoping out with branding. Professional brand development agencies have years of hands-on experience and dynamic teams to develop custom solutions for your business. So that you could sit back and focus on the other areas of your business, viz, lead generation, email marketing, marketing automation, recruiting and evaluating new candidates, and more other operational tasks.
Mention in the comments if we have missed any of the methods, we could discuss the same in our next Blog!