Think about your favorite brand. What is it that draws you to them?
Maybe you have an emotional connection to the brand’s mission, or the quality of the product is unrivaled. Or perhaps the product addresses a major challenge you deal with. What do all of these reasons have in common? They have to do with brand development.
You have a perception of your favorite brand that keeps you coming back for more. That’s because the brand likely has a strong brand development strategy. But let’s be clear: brand development is more than just putting together a logo and choosing a few colors.
Creating a successful brand development strategy is no easy feat, but you can do it with proper planning and execution. In this guide, we’ve covered the brand development definition, steps for getting started developing your own brand development strategy, top tips for digital brands, and how a brand strategy manager fits into the picture.
What is brand development?
Brand development, at its core, is a multi-stage process that shapes your customer’s perception of your services or products and sets you apart from competitors. The strength of your brand name is significant when it comes to building your reputation and boosting awareness.
A logo, tagline, and brand colors often come to mind when we think about a brand — Nike, Coca-Cola, and Google, for example — but brand development extends far beyond the visual elements. Successful brand development aligns a customer’s perception with the ethics and values of the business in a thoughtful way.
Where do you start with a brand development strategy?
So, you know you need a brand development strategy, but maybe you’re overwhelmed and aren’t sure where to begin. If you’re starting your brand strategy from scratch or want to walk through developing your strategy from start to finish, follow these steps.
1. Understand the “why” behind the business
First things first, you need to clearly understand and be able to communicate the beliefs and values that your business holds. Think of this step as building the foundation of a house — without a solid foundation, the house won’t stand the test of time. Neither will your brand.
When thinking through the “why” behind your messaging, consider the following:
- Purpose: What is the purpose of our business? Why does our company exist?
- Vision: How do we envision the future? How are we going to create that future?
- Mission: What are we here to do? How do we serve our audience?
- Values: What are the guiding principles that shape our business? What do we believe in? What do we stand for?
Defining these elements upfront will allow you to create a consistent overall message and framework as you work through your brand development strategy. You’ll know why you exist and how you can describe those roots to current and potential customers alike.
2. Study your audience and identify your target customer
Now that you know your “why,” you can use this information to figure out who your brand’s target audience is. Part of your brand development strategy is learning about your audience, understanding who they are and what they want, and serving your customers to the best of your ability.
You can review and gather feedback through surveys, customer testimonials, reviews, social media, focus groups, or interviews to understand and define your current customer group. When gathering feedback, pay close attention to their pain points, goals, and how your product or service is helping them with both.
You can also create marketing personas to define who your ideal customer is to help you better connect with prospects. Good marketing personas are accurate and well-researched, descriptive but not entirely exclusive, and flexible to be adjusted as needed.
When thinking about your audience, ask yourself questions like:
- Why is your prospect or customer coming to your business?
- How does this customer use your product or service?
- What pain points is your prospect or customer experiencing that you’re solving?
3. Research what you’re up against
As you work through your brand development strategy, you’ll want to reveal what makes you different from your competitors. Your brand needs to stand out from the competition to gain attention, hook your prospects, and retain your long-standing customers.
Much like researching your audience, spend some time studying and understanding what your competitors are doing so you can figure out what you’ll do differently to set your company apart.
4. Develop your brand identity and brand positioning
Your brand identity exemplifies the personality of your business and the lasting impression you’ll leave on your customers. It also includes the visual elements of your brand like your logo, colors, and other branding guidelines. Research indicates that choosing specific brand colors can increase consumer recognition by 80%, so choose wisely.
Brand positioning helps you separate your business from the competitors you’ve previously identified. These parts of your brand help drive the overall message and allow you to tell your story to your customers.
At this stage, you should also think about your website, content marketing strategy, and marketing toolkit or collateral that you can create and share. All of these elements are essential parts of your story and brand development.
5. Implement, monitor, and adjust your brand development strategy
It’s time to launch your brand! With your plan in place and all of the details ironed out, you can take the next step and get your name and brand out into the world.
To see if your strategy works, you have to implement it, monitor it, and make adjustments as needed. A winning brand development strategy isn’t a one-and-done deal. Be patient, adaptable, and optimize your strategy along the way.
Top tips for building a digital brand strategy
A digital brand strategy is all about how you communicate and share your brand with online consumers specifically. In the digital world, the goal of your strategy will center around converting sales and boosting customer loyalty.
A digital brand strategy might include digital marketing tactics like SEO and content marketing, email marketing, paid advertising, and website experience, to name a few.
Why does all of this matter? Research shows that 88% of consumers research their purchases online before actually completing a purchase, either online or in-store, which means your digital presence is a big deal. Here are three tips for building a digital brand strategy in particular:
1. Prioritize building a website
Your customers will likely try to find you through one key place on the internet: your website.
Your website should reflect your brand identity and positioning and should speak to your target audience. A website that doesn’t align with your general offline branding efforts can discredit your message and make customers lose trust in your brand. Create a digital experience that’s attractive, informative, and speaks to who your business is and what problems you’re solving.
2. Use your buyer personas to locate your customers
If you made it through the exercise of researching and identifying your audience, you have buyer personas you can use as part of your digital brand strategy.
Now that you know who your customers are, think about where you might be able to reach them on the web — through organic web searches, social media ads, email campaigns, and more. You can use this information to target different segments of your audience through various channels where your message may resonate with them best.
Your SEO strategy and paid advertising offer opportunities to connect with prospects and customers quickly, which is vital in the digital space where there are so many options to choose from.
3. Create a social media presence
It’s no secret that social media is an integral part of your online brand, which means it should also be a part of your digital brand strategy.
Don’t just create social media profiles — make sure you’re actively engaging with your networks and followers. Create a space for your prospects and customers to connect with you.
If you want to make your brand stand out on social media, focus on your digital personality, which includes your tone, types of messages, and whether or not you’re going to use emojis. Consistency will help you build your digital brand on these channels.
Brand development strategy example
Now that you know where to start when developing your brand strategy, let’s look at brand development examples and how you might organize your brand plan.
Take Starbucks, for example. Starbucks is an easily recognizable brand for most due to its iterative brand development over time. You can quickly find the company’s mission and values online, and you likely recognize the logo and brand colors even after being rebranded and relaunched.
The recognition and growth of Starbucks didn’t happen overnight but is the result of constantly adapting and evolving their brand. Starbucks has been able to stay at the top of the list when it comes to coffee names in the market.
Here’s a quick look at some of the key elements in Starbucks brand strategy in a quick and easy-to-use template format:
Starbucks’ Mission Statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
Starbucks is targeting on-the-go working professionals and upper-to-middle class consumers who purchase coffee regularly. Starbucks solves the problem of not having time to make coffee in the morning and not having a location for business matters outside the office.
|Brand Identity & Positioning||
Take a look at the high-level overview of the Starbucks brand, including the logos, colors, voice, typography, illustration, and more.
As you can see from just this nuts and bolts example, there’s a lot of work behind a successful brand development strategy.
When you’re getting started, jotting down your thoughts and plans in a simple template like the one above can help you organize your initial brainstorming thoughts and the tasks that you need to complete as you work your way through each stage.
What does a brand strategy manager do?
Who exactly is leading the efforts on most brand strategy work? Enter a Brand Strategy Manager.
A Brand Strategy Manager (also referred to as a Brand Development Manager) is tasked with developing the brand strategy and is generally responsible for a broad range of tasks, including branding, online and offline promotions, market research, and marketing campaign efforts. Marketing campaign efforts are geared toward strengthening the brand’s story and reputation in the market.
Here are some of the responsibilities you may see in the job description of a Brand Strategy Manager:
- Identify current brand positioning in the market and find areas for improvement
- Conduct consumer and market research
- Design a brand strategy based on market research and insights from data
- Communicate the brand internally to ensure consistency
- Develop and execute marketing campaigns that communicate and strengthen the brand
Brand Strategy Managers work with various stakeholders throughout the company and truly serve as the leaders and gatekeepers of the company’s entire brand.
How Wrike can help with your brand development strategy
Brand development is a lot of work and requires organization and planning for success. Here’s the good news: Wrike can help you organize your strategies and marketing campaigns. Here’s a quick look at how Wrike can help with your brand development:
- Use the marketing campaign management template for impactful campaigns focused on your brand message
- View real-time marketing campaign progress and performance
- Manage all of your brand development tasks and seamlessly collaborate with your team
- Provide visibility into tasks and assignees to make sure your brand launch stays on track
Building your brand is a big job, but it doesn’t have to be completely overwhelming. Wrike can help make things easier for you so you can focus on building the world’s next best brand. Start your free trial today.