Your logo is critical. No matter what industry you’re in, whether you run a large corporation or you’re an entrepreneur just starting out, we all know the importance of a brand’s logo. Your logo represents who you are, what your core values are, and what you stand for. But how does the logo become such a powerful representation of your brand? The design is important as we’ve discussed in prior posts, but It’s through your brand marketing where an emotional connection is forged between your logo and your audience.
The importance of a brand marketing strategy
Brand marketing is the intentional linking of your brand with your identity, values, and personality through various forms of communication with your audience. Think of all the different touchpoints that you have with your audience. Maybe your audience first becomes aware of your brand on social media. If they continue to see your brand periodically, they will start to recognize your brand. They might even look up your website to see what you’re all about. One day, they may place an order on your website. If they have a positive experience with your brand (your product performed as expected and they were treated well), they will prefer your brand to others. Their loyalty to your brand will increase with each positive experience. At each of these touchpoints, there is an opportunity for the business to shape how the customer perceives your brand.
How to develop and implement a brand marketing strategy
There are two essential parts to develop your strategy. The first focuses on establishing your brand identity. The second is the implementation of your strategy.
1 What is your company vision/mission?
Think about your product or service - what’s your reason for being? Write it down in one, clear sentence. For example, Nike’s mission is: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”
2 Who are you trying to attract?
All too often, entrepreneurs and small businesses define their audience too broadly. For example, targeting working Moms for handbags. To further define your market you can use psychographics and buyer personas. A more clearly defined market would be working Moms between 30-42 with young children who need an affordable bag that is both stylish and functional for their busy lifestyle.
3 Establish your brand and maintain brand consistency
Once you know your core values and who your ideal client is, it’s time to establish the link between who you are and how your customers see you. This is done throughout your client’s experience with your brand from start to finish. And your work isn’t complete after one purchase - it’s only beginning. You need to continue to strengthen your brand reputation through consistent interactions with your business.
How to Implement your brand strategy
Once you have your strategy ready, it’s time to think through how the consumer experiences your brand. The Brand Cycle follows the various interactions your audience has with your brand. These stages also represent the different opportunities that a business has to create a positive experience for their clients.
Stage 1 Awareness: In this stage, an individual becomes aware of your business.
Stage 2 Evaluation: After an individual identifies a need for your product, he/she decides whether your product would fulfill that need.
Stage 3 Purchase: The individual purchases the product
Stage 4 Learning: The consumer learns how to get the most out of the product
Stage 5 Use: The consumer uses the product
Stage 6 Re-Evaluation: When it comes time to purchase the product again, the consumer decides whether they should purchase the same brand again or look for alternatives
Stage 7 Leaving: If the consumer wasn’t happy with the experience, they will search for a new brand.
Each of these stages provides opportunities to reinforce your brand identity with your target audience. The more effective you are at creating a link between your brand identity and your audience, the more brand equity you will develop.
For example, the company Patagonia has a strong brand reputation. Their mission is summed up in eight words: “We’re in business to save our home planet.” It’s a powerful statement that reflects Patagonia’s focus on the environment and social responsibility. Their products are made in alignment with their core values. A visit to their website shows content that emphasizes environmental activism alongside rugged, outdoor life. All of this supports their mission and strengthens how consumers perceive the Patagonia brand.
Nurturing your brand equity
In the long-term, you are developing brand equity. Brand equity is a brand’s value as determined by how customers perceive the brand as well as their experience with it. When you have established positive brand equity, your brand is consistently performing as expected and people will recommend your brand to others. With the positive equity, you can charge more for your products or services and your brand reputation carries through to brand extensions. The trust you create through consistent positive interactions with your brand, allows people to feel more comfortable trying other related products that you offer.
Negative brand equity is when your brand consistently disappoints consumers. Based on their experience, those dissatisfied customers will tell others to avoid your brand. This can cause significant damage to a business over the long-term.
Branding strategy is for long-term growth
The key to developing a strong brand reputation is to generate the same positive experience in every interaction with your brand. This requires consistency throughout the entire process. When your brand marketing is done well, you establish an emotional connection between your brand and your audience. Keep repeating the process and your brand builds the foundation for future growth.