Every company has their own set of unique branding strategies that they practice to grow reach and connect with consumers.
Although each company might have a different approach, all types of brand strategies should include some similar essential elements.
By now, we all know how important branding and brand messaging is for the growth and recognition of companies. But brands also need to think different with their strategies, especially with the digital rise and a need for more transparency.
“A survey found that 94% of all consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand when it is committed to full transparency” – LabelInsight
Your company’s audiences have a lot more access, insights, and opinions on your brand, which is why ensuring your company has a brand strategy framework matters.
Below, we’ll dive into a few areas of brand strategy:
- In-depth Look: What is A Brand Strategy?
- Framework for Successful Brand Strategies
- Employee Advocacy + Brand Strategy
What is a Brand Strategy?
Of course, if you are familiar with developing a brand strategy, the definition might be a bit redundant. But, I always find value with including our own version of the term to get on the same page.
So what is a brand strategy? Essentially, brand strategies are long-term plans to develop and establish a successful and well-known brand in order to hit particular company goals.
A well-executed brand strategy affects your entire business and is directly connected to what consumers feel about your company and products or services. But, it’s also important for establishing your company identity and to differentiate from competitors.
And no, throwing some ideas together with a logo is not a brand strategy.
It’s certainly part of creating the brand, but it also includes what your goals are, who your customers are, what your brand stands for, what is the long-term vision for the brand.
Three types of branding (Corporate, Product, Personal)
While you might have one complete brand strategy for the overall company, you can have a few specific brand strategies based on one of these three types.
Corporate Branding: The overall company must have its own brand that people acknowledge of trustworthiness, quality, and usefulness. What does the company as a whole represent? How does the company portrait themselves to the world?
Product Branding: If your company makes individual products or separate services that may vary, those too must have their own established brands. Best example here would be Coca-Cola company, obviously a well-known brand. But they also have brands like Sprite, Fanta, Powerade, and other beverage products that all have their own branding strategies.
Personal Branding: Besides a corporate or product brand, individuals of the company can develop their own personal brand identity. Could be the C-suite, general employees, or those seeking to get hired. A personal brand builds your trust, showcases your knowledge, and establishes your professional reputation.
Related: Help build your brand by transforming employees into thought leaders and enable them to develop their personal brands. Download the guide to learn more.
Framework for Successful Brand Strategies
There are a lot of different brand strategies and approaches your company can take. There is no exact strategy that fits all. However, each brand strategy should have these core areas when being developed and created.
Here is a framework that your company needs to apply when developing the brand strategy. And if these are not currently addressed, make sure to go back and start applying these to create successful brand growth.
Have A Clear Mission & Objective
Whether you are focusing on the corporate brand or product branding, all branding strategies must have a clearly defined mission and overall objective.
Creating a strategy and running with one without this information, leaves for a disorganized brand that may be missing the true nature of what a company may want to achieve.
A big part of your company’s brand strategy is making a profit, but the mission and objective needs to go beyond the “sale.”
Why should people trust your brand? Why should they become loyal customers? What problems do we solve? What is our story?
It also matters for employees, who help your company succeed. They too have to believe in the company brand and believe in what they do matters. That impacts the quality of work, engagement, and much more.
Develop Consistent Messaging
While branding strategies will vary company to company, for the brand to succeed all must have consistent messaging. Much of this is related to social media, advertising, your company’s website, and overall digital presence.
The words, the mission statement, the colors, the tone of voice, the imagery — everything needs to connect and align together. Otherwise, you risk confusing audiences and create inconsistencies that make the brand seem disorganized.
A big piece to ensuring your brand is consistent, is to develop and agreeable style guide that is used throughout. HubSpot put some examples together of great style guides for inspiration.
Find Your Target Brand Audience
A question that also matters for all branding strategies is, who are my target audiences? By not clearly defining and knowing this, your brand could be all wrong.
This also matters too before your company unleashes any marketing, because you need to ensure who you are targeting and how is spot on. It’s important to define a series of questions that can help your company define the target market.
- Who are we trying to target?
- What is their educational background?
- How old are they?
- What is their income range?
- What are their occupations?
- What problems do we solve for them?
That is only a selection of questions, but building a customer or buyer persona will be of extreme value to your brand strategy.
It will steer your brand’s visuals, emotional connection, and messaging. It’s also important for your sales and marketing teams as well in their quest to drive revenue.
Active Employees as the Face of the Brand
A big piece of a successful brand, is also involving employees. While your company’s branding is important to attract customers and prospects, it also needs to be attractive to your employees.
Your company’s employees — as mentioned earlier — also need to believe in the mission and value of the brand. It’s what motivates them to come to work, be highly productive, and be engaged with their work.
Additionally, with social media and access to technology, employees have a voice about their employers and brand. Your organization can help drive support for your brand, be more involved with company initiatives, and be eager to talk about the love for their jobs online.
98% of employees use at least one social media site for personal use, of which 50% are already posting about their company. (Weber Shandwick)
Without their support, your brand may struggle to grow, reach new audiences, drive top talent, and build trust among potential consumers.
Related: Learn how Dell got over 10,000 employees to be active brand advocates, driving brand reach and more. Download your case study.
Competitive Awareness & Analysis
All branding strategy frameworks should also include a dedicated section to understanding competitors and analyzing their branding. This will be crucial to understanding how they position themselves, what they do well, what they might be missing, etc.
But more importantly, these questions help you differentiate your company’s brand and how to position yourself better against the competition.
Without doing this research and answering some important questions, your company brand may design, create, and say the same things that a bunch of other similar brands have already established. This kills your chances to connect with audiences and prove your own value.
And at the same time, you also don’t want to get lost in everything your competitors do and be too controlled by their moves. Monitor as needed, but focus more on what your company is doing and how the brand can continually grow.
How Employee Advocacy Strengthens Your Brand Strategy
One of the key components to the framework of a solid brand strategy is getting employees involved.
As I mentioned in the above main section, they are the face of the brand, have access to customers, prospects, job applicants, and others all through social media and their job roles.
With the way information is consumed in our digital world, companies can no longer rely on advertisements as the most valued or trusted form to distribute the brand. 76% of individuals surveyed say that they’re more likely to trust content shared by “normal” people than content shared by brands.
This is why branding strategies are including employee advocacy as an essential piece to distributing and growing the company brand.
Here are some more interesting factoids:
- A social program gives employees access to all the branded content at their fingertips, which can easily be shared to their networks. Think products, company news, work culture, open jobs, etc. Imagine having hundreds or thousands of employees being active brand advocates online, distributing the company brand, work culture, and blog content.
- A Nielsen study showed that 84% of people trust recommendations from friends, family, colleagues over other forms of marketing.
- Brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup)
- 79% of the firms surveyed reported more online visibility after the implementation of a formal employee advocacy program. 65% reported increased brand recognition. (Hinge Marketing)
- When asked which employee-shared content consumers found most relevant, recruiting rose to the top: 30% of consumers find job posting useful. (EveryoneSocial)
Watch our animated “infomatic” (as we call it) to learn how employee advocacy impacts your company’s branding and marketing reach.