When you take a look at successful, seasoned organizations like Apple or newer upstarts like Warby Parker, it’s clear that innovation sets them apart from the competition. Beyond their innovative products and ideas, these companies stand out because they have an effective branding strategy that excites their customers long after their initial purchase. 

Whether your company is in the beginning stages of building its brand or considering a rebrand, setting a solid foundation in your brand strategy reflects how well you know what your customers want and, in some cases, anticipate what they want – even before they do.

Without a thoughtful approach to brand development and messaging, you’re putting your brand launch at risk to be ignored. Below are five steps to guide you in creating a strong, thoughtful approach for your new branding or rebranding initiatives.

Understand your target audience

To have a successful brand strategy you must build it around your audience. Your customers are the ones that will determine whether or not you continue to exist and their perception of your company is what defines your brand.

Rather than guess who your target audience is, take time to truly understand who is the best fit for your brand. Finding your target audience doesn’t mean your job is done. You must commit to constantly learning about your customers’ needs, challenges and preferences as they can evolve over time.

Develop your value proposition

After identifying your target audience, be sure to establish your company’s value proposition. Consider these questions:

  • What are our customers’ challenges and needs?
  • What are the benefits of our solution?
  • How does our solution help solve our customer’s challenges?
  • What differentiates our solution/company from our competitors?

Your responses to these questions are essential to creating the framework for your content strategy so be sure to go above and beyond a simple answer. Take the time to elaborate and develop more complex responses that can guide your brand messaging.

Solidify your core message

Understanding what makes your company different from any other brand is critical to brand development. We recommend taking the advice of author Simon Sinek and finding the answer behind your “Why?” Why does your company exist? Why is it entering the market? Ask your employees to participate in these discussions. This will provide more insights into the heart of your company and what drives them to passionately serve your customers.

When developing your core message think about how well it matches up to what your customers want and needs are. Understanding your audience and company’s mission will help shape the foundation of your messaging. Additionally, make sure to keep the message clear and concise.

Establish the voice and look of your brand

Messaging and visual assets like a website or logo can be used to reflect the relationship between your company and customers. Both should clearly convey the message behind your mission statement and your brand’s personality.

For example, digital bank Simple differentiates itself as a user-friendly alternative to traditional banks through a strong brand strategy. From their conversational tone to the concise messaging throughout its site and app, Simple uses a unique voice to target its audience that finds traditional banking inaccessible.

If you decide to work with a partner to develop your brand assets, including the tagline and logo, be sure to work with an agency that works alongside you to understand your customers, company culture and mission. This is important as your partner should be committed to spending time with your team to gain the critical insights needed to clearly reflect your company’s goals, personality and more.

Manage your brand strategy

To ensure consistency and encourage brand loyalty, a brand strategy must be regularly managed. The responsibility to consistently manage a brand strategy is a responsibility for all employees. Each employee should make sure to follow brand guidelines and brand tone and messaging in content.

Consider designating an employee or a team of employees to monitor how well your company is staying true to the brand message, personality and visual appearance. By keeping your brand message consistent, customers will easily recognize your company and establish your brand as an industry leader.

Great branding showcases to your customers that you are an ideal partner. By incorporating actionable insights provided by content intelligence, your brand will consistently deliver a branded content experience that exceeds customer expectations.

Patti Doyle is chief customer officer at Vennli.

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