The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens this evening.
I’m no master-baker, but I would like to think of myself as a master-brander. So it got me thinking about a fool-proof brand strategy recipe.
So here’s the classic Victoria Sponge of the brand strategy world.
Start here – with this method and the 3 vital ingredients – then, by all means, add some of your individual flourish and flair.
But don’t mess around with the recipe too much, or you may end up with something that doesn’t fit the brief.
There are three key steps in the process, and three vital ingredients.
Why do you need to do it this way? Read on…
Before you write a brand strategy you need to figure out how your brand is serving the needs and desires of your customers.
Because, when you think about it – WHY your brand exists (the first question you need to answer) shouldn’t be all about you – it should be ALL about the value you provide your customers. Without them, you don’t have a business.
Where some businesses make a mistake, when crafting their brand strategy, is that they define their WHY as, ‘We exist to meet the demands of our shareholders’, or ‘We aim to grow by 15% year-on-year’, or ‘our WHY is to be the leading software company in the world.’
But these don’t explain WHY you are valuable to people - WHY your customer should care about you. These are just business goals you want to hit.
How on earth are you going to hit those figures? By growing your customer base, and hiring the right people when you grow.
Your brand strategy, and your WHY in particular, has to speak to them and not to your P&L statement.
So to create a brand strategy, you need to understand why customers care about you, what their needs and desires are in your category, and the valuable role you can play in their lives. Getting to these insights requires some customer research.
Because a strong brand strategy is one that is RELEVANT. RELEVANT to the customers you need to attract.
Getting insight into this is one of the key ingredients in doing a brand strategy right.
The second vital ingredient is COMPETITOR INSIGHT.
Brands help people make choices.
Do you prefer Mercedes or BMW?
Walmart or Target?
Coke or Pepsi?
Because brands help people make choices, your brand strategy needs to be clear on how you are DIFFERENT from your competitors.
If you go out there with exactly the same answers to WHY you exist, WHO you are, HOW you do things, HOW you look and feel and WHAT you are, then you are doing nothing to help customers understand why they should choose you over your competitors. You are not building distinctive and memorable associations in their minds.
So when you are trying to craft a brand strategy, you need to research what your competitors stand for, so you can assess your ideas against theirs, to ensure you are sufficiently differentiated.
You do this through something called a competitor audit. (If you want to find out exactly how to do this, and all the other research I talk about here, it’s all in my new course: Brand Strategy Academy).
So these 2 previous areas look outside of the business, and now you need to look inside.
You need to make sure that the brand strategy feels right - feels authentic to the people working for the business, and authentic to some of the key principles the company was founded on. It has take into account who they are, how they have got to this point, and the heritage you need to carry forward.
And it must be supported by their strengths and key capabilities, and what they are building and creating. Not just what you’d like to say about them, but what they are actually DOING.
You have to understand the activities they are undertaking - and planning for - that support HOW they meet their customer’s needs better and differently than competition.
It’s often a fine balance in a brand strategy to straddle the strongest parts of a business’ heritage - how the business has developed to this point - with where they plan to go in the future - so you create something that feels authentic today and still motivational tomorrow.
So you have your vital ingredients and outline method – but how long should you set aside to create it?
It takes about 8 weeks to do this properly. And this is moving quite fast. In my Brand Strategy Academy course I break down this 8 week timetable step-by-step so you can flow through it with ease.
It’s not simple, but it is very achievable IF you know what to ask, when to ask it, and how to pull it all together.
If you want to know how to do this for your clients or business, then Brand Strategy Academy is enrolling now, but closes next week – on September 30th, for my last intake of 2020.
So if you fancy becoming a master brand strategist, take a look before you miss it!
Well, here's a secret for you...
There are '7 Simple Steps' to a world-class brand strategy. They work for ANY brand in any industry, and you can get them FOR FREE in my 4-part video mini-course.
This proven formula is based on my 20 years of global brand strategy experience and study of the 181 world's most valuable brands, and it's yours today, for free.