Beginning a small business brings with it more work than you can shake a stick at. From choosing a business structure to filing accounts, there’s an endless list awaiting you each morning before you’ve even had a cuppa.
Unfortunately, there’s also something else that requires your time and energy; your brand strategy.
What is a brand strategy?
In short, a brand strategy is how you’ll develop your brand over a long period of time to achieve success.
A brand strategy is important for small businesses, not just large companies. This is because you need a long term plan for the development of a brand in order for it to be able to foresee potential issues and obstacles that may become a problem, and help you avoid them earlier.
It will help you plan for growth of the brand and be able to handle it professionally, without making a mistake that could cost the business its reputation.
Figure out the vision
You’ll have had to write a mission statement for your company when forming a business plan, and you should return to this to figure out your brand’s vision.
What’s the idea you’re putting to people, rather than just the physical product or service. For example, Nike might be selling sportswear, but they’re also selling exercise. Apple might sell phones, laptops and tablets, but they also sell innovation. Rotary might sell watches, but they also sell sophistication and elegance.
So, figure out the vision that you want your company to sell and you’ll be on your way to creating that all-important brand strategy.
Keep it consistent
Once you’ve discovered the vision that will lead your brand, you can’t exchange it. This is an all or nothing deal, so if you don’t think you’ve picked the right one, it could break the company unless you get creative and make it work.
Rather than switching halfway through and compromising your business’ reputation, keep your content consistent. By doing so, you’ll steadily build a reputable brand, rather than risking it for the sake of trying something new. (Unless you’re trying to rebrand, which is an entirely different kettle of fish).
Create a reaction
Your brand strategy shouldn’t just preach the mission. For example, if your mission is to create the best quality paper the world has seen, you need to find an angle that will create a reaction.
You need to elicit an emotion from potential customers to give them a reason to get buying. So, maybe your paper is not only the best quality, but is also environmentally friendly. This would be noting something the audience cares about, and would react to.
Get creative and consider what emotions you want to trigger; humor, sadness, anger? Whatever angle you choose, make sure you stick to it.
Be aware of the competition
It’s important to know what your competition are up to, especially when your business is just starting out. Before creating your own strategy it can be useful to see how other companies approach theirs.
However, there’s a fine line between being aware and just plain copying. Don’t let other businesses run your brand strategy for you because you’re scared to fail.
The more creative and thought-through the strategy, the better it’s likely to perform. Let your own strategy do the talking!
How does your business’ brand strategy shape up? Leave us a comment in the section below or get in touch on Twitter!