Build A Better Brand Strategy For Your Business
When you think about a brand you like, what pops into your mind? You might enjoy the colors they use, the language they choose, but if you look deeper you can find the emotion it taps into—confident, cool, independent, successful, or nostalgic.
That is what separates a blah brand from a bold, juicy one. But you can’t just stick some emotive words into your marketing copy and move on. It takes consistency throughout your brand strategy, authenticity in your service, and real understanding of your ideal customer.
How can you create a successful business brand strategy? It’s not easy. It’s not simple. It is worth it. The research and branding team at mintr came up with our favorite questions to ask when developing truly meaningful brand strategy.
First, What Is Brand Strategy?
Brand strategy isn’t marketing strategy, though they do overlap. A brand strategy helps you define who you are; you use this as your compass for how you are going to communicate with your target audience and create the perception you want.
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Who Will Be Obsessed With You?
Understanding who you should be talking to is the foundation of your brand strategy. No one wants to be just another face in the crowd of customers. To help you visualize your target audience and make decisions about your brand, it’s a good idea to complete a customer persona (also called a buyer persona).
A customer persona is a representation of your ideal customer. This exercise helps you tap into the emotions and needs of the people who want you most—the people who will see your brand and feel a tug of gut instinct telling them they need what you have to offer. Develop a deep understanding of what their life is like, what other brands they enjoy, and what will speak to them.
What Information Should You Include In A Customer Persona Exercise?
The trick is to get as specific as you can to create a clear picture of your ideal customer. Whatever information you think is valuable, go ahead and include it. Here is what you should have as a basic outline, and then you can build from there:
- Demographics, such as age, gender, location.
- Personal information, such as their goals and challenges.
- This is especially important for developing an emotional connection tied to their needs.
- What are there biggest challenges in their personal lives? What are their goals? What obstacles are keeping them from their goals?
- Professional information, such as job title, responsibilities, professional challenges.
- What decisions are they responsible for? Are they part of a team?
Once you can answer these questions about your ideal customer, you can develop your brand to speak right to them. Need help coming up with your buyer persona? The professionals at mintr can help you figure out who will be obsessed with your brand.
What Are Your Values?
Every new business knows they need to establish four basics of their company: purpose, vision, mission, and values. These are actually four vital aspects of your brand. Your values represent how your company will conduct itself to reach its goals, and it is a defining aspect of your brand personality.
Don’t be afraid to dig deep when it comes to your values. Get personal. Say something that will spark an emotion in your ideal customer. What do they want out of the businesses they support? But be warned: don’t give empty promises. Be prepared to follow through on what you say or your customers will feel duped.
Here are mintr’s company values:
Some purpose-based company value starters that go for the bold:
- Integrity: soundness of moral character.
- Accountability: willingness to accept responsibility no matter what.
- Inclusivity: diversity of representation and experience.
- Delight: the everyday joy that comes from exceeded expectations.
Customers like to see companies with consistent branding throughout their advertising and interactions, which makes sense. When they see that your company is actually walking the walk, you are immediately more trustworthy. Using your values as a guiding light for your brand strategy helps streamline your goals and marketing alongside your brand personality. It also has the added bonus of helping all employees—from the C-suite down—work toward a common goal. When everyone’s focus is on the same core qualities, your customers get consistent service and your brand is authentic. According to one study, that authenticity is why 58% of companies with a clearly articulated purpose experienced growth of +10%.
Why Do You Really Matter?
Most likely, the problem isn’t that your product or service doesn’t already exist. That’s ok. Go beyond the basic and think about the real problems you solve. This is your pain point, the specific problem that your ideal customer can solve with your business. Now ask yourself, why?
Answering the why is the real key to understanding how to reach your ideal customer. This helps you see the psychology behind the challenges they face and the decisions they make. They don’t just want to save time, they want more time to dedicate to the rest of their business so they can enrich their lives and enhance their communities. They want time to build a business worth passing down to their children. They want a legacy. And that’s powerful.
For Magnolia 313, a boutique accounting firm that focuses on small businesses, we asked why a small business owner would want to outsource her accounting. She is an expert on their industry, but not on finance. She is concerned she will miss something or make a mistake, which can be devastating to a small business—that’s the real problem. Magnolia 313 offers peace of mind that the business she works so hard for will be safe and she can focus on her own customers.
It can be tricky to use what we know about people’s challenges in brand strategy without relying on fear. If you need help finding the core of the problem your business solves and turning it into brand strategy, mintr’s brand system can support you with research and analysis.
What Is Your Emotional Impact?
This is where everything comes together. Above all you need to know how people should feel when they interact with your brand. It isn’t about manufacturing emotion, but about understanding and connecting with them in a personal way. No one wants to feel “sold to” anymore; customers want to feel seen.
Easier said than done, yes, but if you stay human and incorporate your values, your brand can authentically tap into your ideal customer’s emotions. Lean into brand storytelling, painting a picture of their problem and how you can be the solution by adding real value to their lives.
You might have studied Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in Psychology 101, and it holds some helpful insight into the power of emotion.
Along with asking why, you should also be asking why now? If you can identify the triggering event that makes them need you now, you can position yourself to speak to them authentically. Why are they concerned with saving time now? They see their kids growing up; they feel the time slipping away. They want to secure their business as their legacy, fulfill self-actualization and fully realize their personal potential.
It’s not about fear, but about the opportunity your business is offering to meet that need.
Once you know the pain points you are addressing and how to connect with customers emotionally, you can use this as your compass for all your branding, marketing, and even business development. Upholding your values and prioritizing your customer’s emotions is the best way to build genuine relationships based on trust.
How Can You Go Bold?
Don’t be afraid to push boundaries while staying true to your voice.
However, bold means different things for different brands. You can always incorporate some bold elements, but consider your brand personality, your target audience, and the specific content. Sometimes it can be little touches of whimsy or some well-placed humor that gives your brand a boost.
Co-founder of mintr marketing, Leigh Lepore, recommends getting data to support what your customer engages with by testing ads to a limited audience first. “Because ultimately,” she says, “it’s about what your customers get excited about. Not what you think is bold.”
A solid brand strategy that puts your ideal customer first can help your target audience identify with your business over your competitors. To build lasting, loyal relationships with your customers, you need to go bold. Show them that you get them. You see them, and you’re here to help them with the solutions they need.
If you are looking for support to create some innovative marketing and drive growth, contact the mintr team for a free marketing audit.