First thing’s first – have you got a brand strategy? A thorough, measurable, reflective, big juicy brand strategy? Because if it’s a line in the business plan that says ‘redo the logo’ you’re missing the point (and a whole bunch of ROI, customers, followers and potential marketing opportunities).
Step 1: Identify challenges
What seems to be the problem? Feel the pulse of your business and identify areas for growth:
- Drive new business opportunities/leads
- Nurture social media following
- Win ideal customers
- Streamline visual identity
- Increase click through and open rate
- Improve retention and culture
Step 2: Know your audience
To positively influence, consider how your idea/product/service makes people feel.
- What do your customers want?
- What can you offer them?
- How will you change their lives?
These are key components of an effective brand strategy. Use an audience persona and ask:
- Where do they hang out online?
- How do they consume their media?
- What kind of branding do they respond to (is it friendly? Cool? Aspirational? Value-driven? Authoritative?).
Understanding these answers allows you to communicate in a language that connects.
Step 3: Understand yourself
You know what you sell, but do you know why? Yes, but really? Have you told your story? Do you know your key messages and the reason for them? Telling your story identifies unique language, core values and motivators driving you forward, allowing you to speak with honesty and transparency (audiences love that). It also develops a robust brand strategy that can roll with the punches.
Step 4: Set goals
For a strategy with returns, include measurable goals with milestones and checkpoints. If your goal is to increase social media following you might like to schedule some short/mid/long-term goals in line with your business plan e.g.
- Identify audience segment and interests
- Post regularly (and with relevance) for 3 months
- Create a content calendar with key dates added
- Monitor engagement and identify popular themes
- Increase numbers of followers and fans
- Run campaigns for engagement
- Increase conversion through social
- Get newsletter signup
- Create leads through social
Step 5: Explore and refine routes to achieve goals
- Who’s going to action these goals?
- Do you need additional support?
- Do you need to employ the support of a partner agency to create and implement a brand strategy?
Collaboration is key to making this strategy a beautiful, bouncing success. Putting your strategy into practice means being able to take practical steps towards your goals. For each goal create the smaller, bite-sized chunks of action that move you towards implementation. Gather the troops, plan it out, agree ownership and incorporate actions into your individual and team objectives.
Step 6: Track and adjust
Once you’re strategy’s back to rude health, don’t forget to test and measure against your initial objectives. Most email and web hosts will have functions to track visitors and clicks, and of course it’s easy to see how many new fans and followers you’re getting on social media. If you want to get down to the detail you can use A/B testing that run alternative wording/campaigns to gauge which approach is more effective.
If you’re not seeing great results from a particular campaign or platform, tweak, adjust and run it again. Measure, track and analyse the results. Speak to your audience, ask them what they prefer, getting their buy-in often sparks engagement.
Keep tracking, keep going and keep communication open and you’ll find your brand strategy has a long and healthy life, returning every bit of hard work you put in.