Several problems can occur when small businesses don’t pay attention to brand strategy. Read this guide to learn more about the problems that can occur.
When is the last time you’ve walked up the street, noticed golden arches, and didn’t immediately think of McDonald’s? Or how often have you seen a motivational ad and have gotten the urge to buy a pair of Nike sneakers? Both of these are examples of what powerful branding can do for a business over time.
Keep in mind that changing consumer behaviour doesn’t happen over night. And it doesn’t just work for large companies. Small businesses neglecting the important role of branding is a big missed opportunity and can be detrimental when trying to build for long-term success. Read on to learn about the potential pitfalls when you ignore using brand strategy.
What Is A Brand Strategy?
The examples of McDonald’s and Nike that were given at the beginning show the effects of brands that put plans into place and executed long-term. This plan is referred to as a brand strategy. A brand strategy is a system for communicating your brand’s positioning and value in a market overtime that leads to brand awareness, brand recognition, and brand advocacy by a customer base.
But how do you know if you are successfully growing your brand and that your brand strategy is working for you and not against you? Depending on your industry and business objectives, brand metrics are variables that measure your brand’s performance and valuable in understanding what people think about your brand, how people interact with your brand, how people buy and use your brand, and the impact your brand has on generating sales.
Brand Funnel (Brand Metrics)
A brand funnel is a measuring tool that gives businesses a framework in understanding their customer’s purchase journey, the effectiveness of their brand marketing efforts, and guides strategic brand building decisions. It follows the customer journey throughout these stages:
- Consideration (or interest)
- Decision (or conversion)
This model looks from a consumer’s perspective to measure awareness and the steps in between to get to loyalty. Auditing your customer base at each stage can help you understand brand health and whether or not your marketing efforts are effectively converting consumers from (top of funnel) to repeat buy and advocating for your brand (bottom of the funnel).
Understanding The Difference Between Branding And Marketing
Most business owners interchange branding and marketing when in fact they are two different disciplines with different objectives, metrics, and strategies.
Branding is the process of consistently communicating your brand strategy across different brand touch points in order to create a unique perspective of your company in the consumer’s mind. Marketing, on the other hand, is a set of strategies and processes directly related to reaching new people and converting to sales. Some view branding as a branch of marketing but it’s important to note that the two work hand-in-hand.
While marketing works to inform customers about the solution your company offers, branding has the goal of focusing on communicating the reasons why your solution is the go-to choice for a target audience and differentiates from competition. Effective marketing can build a stronger brand.
For instance, Bic lighters rolled out a clever marketing campaign featuring avid cannabis enthusiast, Snoop Dogg, and home design maven, Martha Stewart. The packages showed two practical uses for the Bic Lighter using celebrities with strong brands targeting Bic Lighter’s key audience with Snoop Dogg and target audience in Martha Stewart. The partnerships also highlights Bic’s playful, unconventional and crafty brand persona which aims to connect with it’s traditionally younger consumer base.
Elements Of Brand Strategy Process
So what is involved with building a strong brand strategy and how can small businesses like you make sure to check off the list? Building a solid brand strategy isn’t something that typically happens by accident. It’s an intentional practice that needs time to grow. There are certain elements that need to be established in order to start shaping the identity of the brand.
Here are the key components of brand strategy:
- Mission statement
- Vision statement
- Target audience
- Competitor research
- Brand voice/tone
- Company values
- Positioning statement
- Brand archetype
- Brand experience
- Colour palette
- Typography (fonts)
Strategically communicating these elements (overall brand experience) over time will help consumers understand, connect, and engage with your brand. These key factors create your intangible overall brand value that helps your target audience easily recognize your brand through your marketing efforts.
Problems For Small Businesses When They Don’t Pay Attention To Brand Strategy
Many small businesses believe that they can skip out on taking the importance of branding seriously. Unfortunately, this can result in a lot of issues including wasted marketing efforts, confusion, and loss of profits. Keep reading to learn how you can avoid these for your own business.
Attracting The Wrong Customers
Not having a strongly defined brand strategy most likely means that you don’t really know who your brand is for and how your brand fits into their day to day life.
What are their interests? What and where do they buy? What are their beliefs and values? How will you make their life easier or better? What are their fears and dislikes? Knowing your potential buyers in these ways will allow you to understand how to talk to them, where to reach them, what kind of content they are more likely to consume, how to show up and how not to show up. Does your offering address their pain points?
The brand strategy process allows you to truly understand your ideal customer and the value you bring to a market.
Poor Marketing Results
Another result of not investing in defining your brand strategy is ineffective marketing. Your marketing efforts may feel like you’re taking a stab in the dark? You’re relentlessly posting content everyday with low engagement? Clickthrough rates are not seeing any growth despite increasing budgets? Your ads aren’t converting to sales despite increasing lead generation ratios? Do you have a product that people event want? It will be challenging for you to see the returns on your marketing when you don’t have clarity on who your brand is for and why people should care.
Investing into clearly defining your brand strategy will empower your business with a thoughtful framework to communicate your services in a cohesive and concise way. It will enhance your team’s ability to make decisions on what what content to make and distribution, help focus creativity, make ad testing simpler, and save you from wasted effort and resources.
Not Hitting Sales Goals
The most important impact of poor strategy and ineffective communication for a small business is undoubtedly poor sales and revenue. When your product or messaging is unable to connect with consumers it will be difficult to convert them into paying customers let alone grow your reach.
Lack Of Trust
Not being able to engage consumers can result in reduced authority and credibility leaving your brand irrelevant. Building the trust of the people you’d like to serve is essential to your brand’s ability to bring them along the customer journey (brand funnel) . If you want to grow brand loyalty, you’ll need to build trust at every level of the brand funnel.
Building a strong brand depends on building a relationship with people. People buy from brands they know, like, and trust. Understanding your target audience and how to position your brand will allow consumers to relate to your business and what you offer.
Invest In A Brand Strategy For Long-Term Success
Brands that thrive in a market long-term know who they are for and the specific challenges that they are uniquely positioned to solve for their target audience. This can can sound simple but clearly defining your brand strategy is an intricate process with big upsides and doesn’t have to come with a large price tag.
Looking to review your brand strategy and grow your brand for your small business? We’d love to help.
Email our team today for a free 30 minute clarity call to understand how you can better leverage the power of brand strategy.