The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Member Blog: Shape Perceptions, with a Brand Strategy

By Sammy Blindell - Co-Founder of How To Build A Brand
What is your brand? Is it your business name, your logo or your product? Is it the colours or the language you’ll use? Or is it the packaging that wraps it all up?

Your brand is supported by all of these things, but none of these things ARE your brand.

Your brand is the indescribable feeling that people get when they experience what your business has to offer. Your brand is how people define your product. It’s the perception of what you do, how you do it and most importantly, why you do it.

Notice I haven’t said that your brand is what you say it is. To the contrary, your brand will always be what others say it is.

That can be a little scary, right? Knowing that your brand is defined by what any number of random consumers say about it? Having little or no control over how your brand is perceived? Well, if you do it right, with a brand strategy, you can have more control than you might think.

Brand Strategy: What is it?

A brand strategy is a long-term plan that lists the goals for your brand, the traits of the consumers you’ll target, and tactics for not only reaching your ideal customers, but for shaping their perceptions of the brand.

Every brand strategy is different; however, there are some universal components that all the good ones have:

Promise: When you define what you’re promising to do, and stay true to that promise with every brand decision you make, you will establish a consistency that causes people to not only trust your brand, but to know what to expect (and therefore make reasonable assumptions and build perceptions that align with your goals).

Values: Every brand needs a set of corporate values. These are the standards that your brand operates under (e.g. integrity, excitement, accuracy), as well as the principles shared by your ideal customers.

Nut and Bolts: The colours, lines, shapes and fonts included in your visual brand will be the elements that cement your brand in the memories of your target audience…when they’re presented with the branded experiences you’ll create.

Touchpoints: Touchpoints are the places in which your ideal customers will encounter your brand. Customise these experiences to create the perceptions you want for your brand.

Data-Centred Flexibility: Markets will change. Your industry will, too. And so will consumer behaviours and preferences. Your brand should always be prepared to respond to these changes with both flexibility and commitment to the brand. Define and monitor KPIs and consumer trends for cues to make shifts within your brand parameters.

This is just the beginning of how to create a brand strategy that builds your brand—and perceptions of it. To learn more about how to make your brand more credible, visible and profitable, plan to attend the How to Build a Brand B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp on 1st September at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Elliot House on Deansgate, Manchester.