What Is Branding Strategy? (Plus Tips and Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Branding strategy is how you position and market your brand to appeal to your target customer. An organisation's branding influences how people feel about the company, product or service. A successful branding strategy re-frames a brand's mission, what they offer and how to convey these concepts to customers. In this article, we answer the question, 'What is branding strategy?', discuss its importance, look at the elements and benefits of such a plan and discover how to create one.

What is branding strategy?

In answer to the question 'What is branding strategy?', it's more than coordinating the graphic representations of an organisation, such as logos and corporate colour schemes. A branding strategy captures a business's intention, values and purpose and ensures that those things are easily visible to customers and casual browsers across all media platforms. This strategy includes reconsidering advertising and marketing, packaging for products, website appearance, workplace ethos and delivering exceptional service.

Why is having a brand strategy important?

Having a brand strategy makes the brand's intentions clear and shows why clients invest in it. This helps to keep marketing and communication relevant and to the point. A brand strategy analysis can show if a brand is working for the organisation and allow for corrections to improve its relevance if necessary.

Elements of an effective brand strategy

Building an effective brand strategy requires critical thinking to develop several elements that relate to how customers perceive a brand. To create a strategy, consider the following aspects:

Purpose

Purpose defines why an organisation exists and what its function is in the industry. An organisation's purpose sets it apart from competitors through:

  • Economic objectives: To make a profit, to build a viable business, to grow and expand, to create customers, to innovate and use resources intelligently.

  • Social objectives: To benefit society, for example, to provide quality products at reasonable prices. Also to generate employment opportunities, protect the environment, and serve the community.

  • Individual or human objectives: To look after the needs of employees by providing safe working conditions, paying competitive salaries and offering opportunities for personal growth.

Consistency

Creating consistency across all facets of your brand produces cohesion that delivers a clear message to customers. It involves using similar imagery, being consistent in the language and communication across all channels and touching on topics that relate to the brand. Remaining consistent may help improve brand recognition and grow brand loyalty. Developing a brand style guide is useful to achieve this level of consistency. A style guide defines standards for an organisation's brand that cover key branding elements, such as:

  • brand personality

  • brand purpose

  • brand story

  • colour palette

  • logo

  • typography

Related: What Is a Marketing Manager? (With Duties and Requirements)

Emotion

Incorporating emotion into a brand strategy is a powerful way of helping clients to relate to what the company offers. Many customers make choices based on how they feel, including which business to buy from. Adding an emotional element to an organisation's brand strategy helps draw customers in as the branding connects with their values, hopes and ideals. Engaged, satisfied customers may develop strong brand loyalty.

Flexibility

Building flexibility into a brand makes it easy to adapt as markets and customers change. Flexibility enables an organisation to adjust its branding to stay competitive. Flexibility is possible when a brand has an established consistency that provides a stable base. The core of the organisation's brand remains unchanged, while its expression adjusts to present the organisation in new, relevant ways.

Employee involvement

Employees who adopt an organisation's brand strategy help create a consistent client experience. If customer service is high in the company's values, there's an expectation that all employees treat customers with the same level of attention and care. All employees can adopt the same tone when speaking to clients in line with the organisation's ethos, for example, a semi-formal tone of voice versus a casual, friendly one.

Loyalty

Loyalty relates to fostering a positive relationship between the organisation and customers. To build loyalty to a brand, consider offering rewards, incentives or running advertising campaigns. Brands earn loyalty through offering consistent, first-rate customer service, which helps show potential customers what to expect if they become regular clients.

Competing brands

An essential part of establishing brand strategy is awareness of competing brands and their strategies. Do this by identifying them, analysing what they do well, their tactics and where they fall short. Part of succeeding against competitive brands is deciding on a positioning strategy to gain customers' loyalty. Consider these examples of brand positioning:

  • Customer service: Excellent customer service is the brand focus in all aspects of service and product delivery.

  • Convenience: The brand looks for ways of making the customer's life easier with the service they provide.

  • Price: Offering quality products at lower prices than competitors.

  • Quality: Customers can expect only top-quality goods and services.

  • Differentiation: Offering unique products with innovative elements.

Related: What Does a Brand Manager Do? (Plus How to Become One)

Benefits of a brand strategy

Branding is important for organisations that sell services and products directly to consumers and in business-to-business (B2B) markets. Some benefits of a branding strategy are:

Establishing accurate customer expectations

Branding strategy communicates a package of benefits, also known as value proposition, to customers or clients. It establishes what they can expect when working with the organisation or interacting with its products or services. Clear brand strategy creates a unified brand experience for clients that may lead to brand loyalty.

Drawing an emotional response from clients

People often make decisions based on instinct and feelings. Customers may research, list pros and cons, and read customer reviews before making a purchase, but often decide based on how a brand makes them feel. If a branding strategy can harness an element of universal truth that resonates with customers and clients, they position themselves to attract new clients.

Earning customer trust and loyalty

Branding brings customers into an understanding of the value of a company or product. It creates a dependably stable identity, which supports the assumption that products purchased from the brand are also likely to be reliable. Over time, this dependability can lead to trust and loyalty in a customer.

Boosting the organisation's value

Brands foster trust, recognition and repeat purchases, making them valuable assets. Established brands may cross over into other industries and expand their business based on their branding and established customer loyalty. Branding can help attract better quality customers and raise retention rates through winning customer loyalty.

Building brand equity

Brand equity is the customer's perception of a brand name's commercial value. Brand strategy can improve your brand's equity by developing an outstanding reputation. This may lead to a willingness to pay more for your products or services simply because of your brand.

Setting the brand apart from its competitors

A brand strategy clearly defines an organisation's unique position in the marketplace. Branding allows customers to distinguish between their choices and know which company can offer what they want most. For example, some airlines are synonymous with comfort, which may come with a higher price tag, while others cater to clients who are willing to sacrifice comfort for the sake of an affordable ticket.

Related: What Is a Marketing Specialist? (With Duties and Salary)

5 steps to build a brand strategy

To build a brand strategy, you can take the following steps:

1. Define your brand

Defining your brand involves assessing what your organisation does and why. This understanding forms the foundation of your branding strategy. Evaluate all aspects of the organisation in light of the answers to these questions. Use the answers to shape all aspects of the brand, including marketing materials, strategies, office design and communication tone.

2. Establish brand objectives

Brand objectives are simply what a brand hopes to achieve. The answers to the following questions can form the basis of a brand's objectives.

  • What problems does a customer have that the organisation can solve?

  • How can the brand benefit the customer?

  • What would you want customers to say about your services or products?

3. Identify your target audience

Who is most likely to benefit from the brand? How do these customers feel and how would they like to feel? Consider your client according to the following criteria:

  • age

  • income range

  • occupation

  • interests and hobbies

  • gender

  • values

4. Evaluate market conditions and identify competitors

Evaluating the present market conditions by identifying barriers that would prevent success. Consider applying the SWOT method to evaluate the market in terms of:

  • strengths

  • weaknesses

  • opportunities

  • threats to the product or service you're offering

5. Update brand packaging

With a brand strategy defined, consider updating all products and services to fit the new branding message. Ensure that product packaging, advertising and communication clearly reflect your branding. Creating cohesion across everything that customers see and experience in your brand helps build brand recognition and can lead to customer loyalty.

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