Whether perfecting your professional persona, boosting your business or creating a new company, strategic brand development is vital to success.
Future-Proof Your Brand
Brands are not static entities. They grow and expand, just like the people they serve. Successful brands not only understand this transition, they anticipate it and act on it. Take Instagram’s latest innovation IGTV. Many brands are already taking first mover advantage. The key question is – why?
We know that information technology is changing and advancing at an exponential rate. We’ve been working in this state of flux for well over two decades. Yet marketing with this change in mind is something we are still working on.
Marketing For Seasons
Consider marketing seasonality. Not fashion’s spring florals or Wimbledon’s summer berries. But marketing for life seasons. How do we ensure brand relevance for our audience as their tastes and our technologies alter? And perhaps the bigger question – do we even want to?
By failing to adjust the concept of our target audience, we are often discounting the value of brand loyalty. Conversely by expanding our vision, we can vastly improve customer retention. It is perhaps prudent then, that in response to audience shifts, we pause to take stock of our brand.
Of course this process of brand development also applies at the outset of brand creation – personal, social and commercial.
1. Identify Your Brand Goals
Start by identifying exactly what it is you want your brand to achieve. Setting out clear goals will give you clear metrics for success, as well as something quantifiable to strive for. For a personal brand, this might be the acquisition of a new client or role. Likewise for a new or established business, this may take the form of sales, diversification or expansion into new markets.
2. Understand Your Audience
Once you’ve outlined a clear purpose for your brand, you must spend some time getting to know your target audience. If you are targeting a new market, outlining your brand personas will help you be successful and clarify your brand’s positioning.
Alternatively you may already have brand personas. You might already know how your clients talk and where they spend time. But when was the last time you checked in with them? Regularly reviewing and refreshing your brand personas is essential to remain engaging. This might even outline key platforms and media for connecting (i.e. IGTV).
3. Outline Your Brand Identity
Your brand identity should encompass all of the values and features most likely to engage your target audience and their preferences. Summarising these details in a brand style guide helps to ensure consistency. This will include intangible assets such as your UVP, tone of voice, key messaging and brand storytelling – focussing on brand benefits.
Your brand will also have a number of tangible assets, including your brand name, logo, tagline, typeface, colour palette, visual style and website. It is vital to ensure your brand name is applicable to all the markets in which you intend to use it, particularly geographic markets (where brand names can have entirely different meanings!)
4. Create Your Brand Plan
Having crafted or edited your brand’s strong existential foundations, the only way to encourage its success is to talk about it and raise brand awareness. Your content plan or editorial calendar is a fantastic way to achieve this.
It will outline the themes and topics your brand will discuss, the platforms it will share content on (both organically and via paid) and organise the year into clear campaign periods. All of this should be informed by thorough keyword research, highlighting where key opportunities exist.
Our lives are seasons, that start and end. That said, many brands can sustain the journey with their customers – if they remain relevant. Some will even pass brand preferences onto their children, for generations to come. Fusing together tradition and innovation is undoubtedly the best brand development strategy of all.