Branding strategies: The essentials beyond name, logo, and tagline

Reading time: 10 minutes | By: SkyDogg  | Jun 01, 2022

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell” - this Seth Godin quote is one of the basic principles of today’s branding strategies. Branding started from having a logo, slogan, colors, and overall aesthetics, and now we are in an era where we have to form a brand tone and proper storytelling to establish and position the brand in the right perspective.

Of course, the logo and the aesthetics are still crucial, but that alone wouldn’t generate the leads and conversions we are dreaming of. Branding and marketing are often not viewed as top priorities for startups, which results in innovative, transformative products never reaching the right audience.

A perfect branding strategy builds and grows loyal customers, and the loyalty metrics will only improve over time. Take Apple, for example. Thirty-seven percent of their customers brand familiarity as their reason for buying an iPhone in 2019, up from 28 percent in 2014. This is what the right branding strategy does - it builds trust and a loyal customer base.

There are thousands of branding strategies you can learn from, but your strategy needs to be unique. Just like your business has its own identity, the branding strategy should be one of its own kind. However, the steps involved in building a branding strategy is the same irrespective of the company’s niche. Let’s see how the most effective and converting branding strategies are built.

Define the purpose of your brand.

Every brand makes promises to the customers, like warranties and premium quality. But that is often not enough to win loyal customers because of the same reason: each and every brand makes those promises. It is necessary to make your business stand out from the rest to build a loyal customer base.

A well-defined purpose will serve as the differentiator between your business and the competitors. Your business may be aiming at innovation through sustainability, while your competitors may be focusing on the affordability or accessibility. Asking yourself questions like what do you do, why you want to do it, and what differentiates you will help you find the business’s purpose. 

Having a defined purpose will help you build a successful branding strategy and shape the company’s future products, research areas, and overall direction.

Pinpoint your target audience.

Once you have a well-defined purpose, all other elements of your branding strategy should be based on it. However, you should also keep your target audience in mind. These are the people who are most likely to buy your products, and hence you should communicate in a way that they love, understand, and admire.

To build a successful branding strategy, you should understand the target audience pretty well - their age, income, location, pain points, influencers, and brand affinities. All the elements of the strategy should be developed, keeping these in mind.

For example, if your target audience is business people, all of your content, marketing, and communication should be in a tone that business people can easily perceive. Your website aesthetics, marketing ideas, advertisements, and blog posts should be crafted in accordance with the kind of people you are talking to.

Identify your core values.

The values you hold are right at the core of your business - what your brand stands for, and it will determine how your brand is perceived. Just like your brand’s purpose, communicating the core values through your marketing and website will attract customers who share the same values. As Simon Sinek, the famous American motivational speaker puts it; people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

For example, Apple stands for innovation and improvement. ‘Think Different’ was just one of their slogans, but it is considered as the slogan that made people stand in queues for hours to buy the latest Apple products. Having Apple’s gadgets is regarded as a sign of curiosity and adaptability towards the latest technologies.

Your brand values should align and resonate with your target audience effectively. These values you hold will also help your company make the right decisions at the right times.

Develop your brand positioning.

Philip Kotler, an American marketing author, defines brand positioning as “the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market.” In simpler words, brand positioning defines how your brand and products as a whole are different from that of your competitors.

The brand purpose is a goal that the company tries to achieve, and brand positioning is the differentiating qualities through which the company tries to fulfill its purpose.

To develop the perfect positioning, you need to understand your consumers well - what they want, your company’s capabilities, and how your competitors are positioned. Trying to find the gap in the competitor’s positioning is a great tactic that works pretty well.

Once you know where to position your business, choose a catchy, compelling positioning statement that matches your consumers’ preferences. Never go too generic like ‘quality products, long-lasting’ - every business promises these, and the consumers are in a state that they no longer trust these kind of statements. Instead, go for something like ‘classic, vegan, and charming,’ - you know, the unconventional, noteworthy statements.

Form your brand voice and messaging strategy.

Your brand voice, the tone through which your brand communicates, should be based on its mission, audience, and the industry. You can choose to be authoritative, professional, friendly, conversational, or humorous to make your brand stand out from the competitors.

Keep in mind that your brand voice should resonate with the audience. If it does, you’ll connect with your customers better. Your brand positioning will also be the same for all audiences, but each group of audiences will be interested in different aspects of it, and you should consider it when developing your messaging strategy.

For example, for a smartphone brand, the latest technologies will be of the highest interest to the young generation, but the older generation will be looking at how easy it is to operate it.

Another example would be Netflix. A large portion of their audience is young people who use social media extensively. Their twitter handle gets a lot of attention because of their humorous and sarcastic way of communicating, which their target audience, the young minds, love, and hence gets a lot of shares.

Once you have formed a brand voice that resonates well with the customers, hold it up through your blog posts, social media profiles, websites, and advertisements. The point here is to make your audience identify through your way of communication.

Create a brand logo and tagline.

Never confuse the name, logo, and tagline with your brand. They are just a part of your brand identity, and you should be trying to make the maximum number of people identify your brand values and positioning by the name, logo, or tagline.

You may want to invest time and money to get the perfect logo and tagline that aligns with what your brand is all about. The logo is your visual identity, and you should reinforce it through advertisements, calling cards, packaging - possibly everything related to your business.

A great branding strategy is an essential element of a successful business. While marketing and advertising generate sales, branding is what builds loyal customers. The company’s core values, purpose, positioning, and brand voice are the key ingredients of a great branding strategy. Once it is executed, people will identify the brand not based on the products they offer, but the values they stand for.