- Importance of strategic brand proposition for business
- Why is branding essential, and what are the benefits?
- How to position your brand in the marketplace
- Building a better brand for your business
Most brands fail at what they want to accomplish as they tend to think of branding like a logo, but that’s just one element of a brand’s identity, and the visual element is only half of a brand’s DNA.
If you want to build a successful brand, you must consider the strategic side of the story and the visual side of the equation. In business terms, these are called:
- Strategic brand proposition
- Creative brand proposition
When creating a brand, it’s important to consider what the brand looks like from the inside and the outside – much like how we portray ourselves to the world. We show the outside of ourselves to the world, while the interior is often reserved for ourselves and close friends or family.
What is a creative brand proposition? It is everything to do with the visual aspect of your brand, including images, colour scheme, typography, graphics and consistency.
On the other hand, strategic brand proposition refers to the standard, principles, morals and ethics you want your brand to reflect. It defines the conceptual space you wish to own in your consumer’s minds – how you want your target audience to perceive your brand and business.
While the creative brand proposition is essential, the strategic equation holds more significance when creating a successful brand. The reason being is because it provides a solid platform that highlights the features that are unique to your business.
Importance of a strategic brand proposition
Relationships tend to flourish when a deeper connection and understanding are established between two people – the same is for a brand and its consumers.
Consider what sets you apart from the competition – this differentiation will help boost brand awareness, communicate the value of your product and justify pricing, all of which will contribute to your bottom line.
Focus on tailoring your strategy to highlight the competitive advantage of your product or service and indirectly call attention to your competitors defects.
However, as first impressions matter, it would be unwise to completely discount the visual element – hence the importance of marrying up the two concepts.
Still, when building a brand, remember that it is always better to have a well-thought-out strategy than a fascinating design concept, as there’s no value in having a beautiful identity but lacking depth.
Why is branding important for business?
Branding is vital for businesses as it promotes recognition by helping companies shape their reputation in the market so that your customers know what to expect each time they encounter your business.
When a business is valued, the difference between its book value and the money a customer is prepared to spend on that brand is called “goodwill”, which is essentially a term used to describe the intrinsic value of your business.
You can create a brand that aligns with your consumer’s values and put yourself ahead of competitors that aren’t using that concept to their advantage.
So, assuming that our readers are relatively familiar with the creative brand proposition, we’re going to delve into some of the factors marketers or business owners should consider when devising a strategic brand proposition.
What is a strategic brand proposition?
A strategic brand proposition delves into the problems you want to solve for your consumers and reveals features to help you convince your audience that your company has the right solutions – meaning that a brand needs to deliver on the promises it makes.
The most successful brands place this at the heart of their philosophy, and all other business activity reinforces that message. Your brand needs to demonstrate its uniqueness and align with the values of your customers, staff, suppliers and stakeholders so that you become the brand of choice in your industry.
Objectives that a brand should seek to achieve include:
- Building an emotional connection with stakeholders and customers
- Differentiating yourself from competitors
- Having a unique value proposition
- Increasing consumer confidence, pride and satisfaction
- Establishing a mission statement and a consistent tone of voice
- Defining your values, features and benefits to engender greater consumer loyalty
- Confirming your credibility and reliability
How to position your brand in the marketplace
A brand positioning strategy will help companies create the desired perception of their brand in the marketplace by showcasing their value to attract more customers.
If you’ve thought about how your brand differentiates from the competition, you’re already halfway there. However, if you’re struggling to wrap your head around the idea, we’ve outlined some strategies you can use to help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Craft a powerful vision statement
Not to be confused with a mission statement, a vision statement refers to a business’s aspirations and its approach to achieving those objectives or goals in the future.
Vision statements are the anchor point of any strategic plan. They should be short, eloquent, empowering in nature and leave nothing open to interpretation. Successful vision statements do not focus on profitability, market dominance or self-focused but on satisfying customer needs.
What can you offer your customers? What does perfection look like for your target audience, employees and stakeholders? What are the long-term desired results?
These are the types of questions you should consider when creating your vision statement, including tangible long-term goals for your brand.
Write a captivating mission statement
Mission statements are instrumental in communicating the organisation’s purpose to stakeholders and directing future growth.
Your mission statement should seek to define your brand’s existence and the approach you follow to achieve the aspirations you’ve created for the business. Ensure that your mission statement is specific, concise and articulates the purpose of your brand and the impact you intend to have on your consumers.
Building a better brand: Values and vows
One of the more commonly-known wedding vows includes each party committing to “for better, or for worse,” which parallels building a business.
There tends to be a lot of middling ground in marriages, with partners looking to bring out the best in one another (and the worst). Still, for the most part, they help you reach heights you never would have anticipated if you had been by yourself, and constant pursual of growth is the same in business.
To continue growing, commit to understanding how your values, vision, and goals could help you build a strong company and prioritise what matters most to employees and customers.
Values are often described as your views about your industry and the vows you make to stakeholders to emphasise long-term value.
Establish a compelling brand promise
A brand promise extends a company’s rallying call for excellence and should internally communicate what customers expect to receive when interacting with a business.
Be authentic and make promises that you can keep and will not have to go to extreme lengths to deliver on, as this will impact your reputation in the marketplace. Your brand promise should be purposeful and go beyond the profit agenda to establish a deeper connection with your customers.
Find your brand’s tone of voice
If you want to convey your brand’s message to your audience consistently, you need to find your tone of voice.
While the language you use may vary depending on your audience, it’s essential to keep your tone consistent across all touchpoints to stay true to your brand philosophy. The tone of voice is the written expression of a brand and represents a business’s personality and values – if your employees don’t believe in your message, your customers will sense that.
A brand must be authentic to be perceived as reliable, trustworthy and real – genuine messages and ideas resonate more powerfully with consumers.
Strong brand proposition
Without a robust core idea to build on, even the most creative marketing won’t boost a brand’s value.
Your core proposition can contain both an internal and external strategy that highlights the unique features of your organisation and how it serves to solve your customer’s problems. Devise several proof points which summarise the core competencies of your brand and business and rank them in terms of importance.
Essentially, proof points are qualifying statements that contribute to the broader initiative. They can be either critical pieces of information or discrete messages but can be used as a checklist in promoting the brand through business activity that raises awareness, boosts reach and encourages interactions.
Your core benefit proposition should discuss the benefits that a consumer would derive from interacting with your brand to help them make an informed decision.
Brand messaging that resonates
Brand messaging refers to the language and underlying message conveyed in all the content you produce and promote to your target audience.
However, it only creates a meaningful impact when relevant to your target market’s desires, needs, and wants. Your customers should find your brand message inspirational, persuasive, and motivational, no matter the content you produce.
Businesses should seek to convey their brand message at every stage of the sales pipeline to help maximise conversion, build customer loyalty and create a messaging framework that can help guide all your content across multiple channels.
The message will need to be based on a deep understanding of your target audience and empathise with the consumer’s pain points. Consider factors such as:
It’s important to clarify your customer profiles and personas to devise a practical strategic brand proposition that will rationalise your consumer’s decision-making processes and stimulate a desire for your product or service.
Create a service charter
If you want to communicate what customer service means to your employees, stakeholders and customers, it’s worth creating and developing service charters.
Service charters are a series of actionable promises made by a brand, demonstrating the purpose, scope and standards of your company’s commitment to customer service so that the people interacting with your brand know what to expect.
Ensure that they are authentic, measurable and specific to your industry. Also, keep in mind a plan of how you wish to implement it, whether in an employee handbook or via training orientation.
Adopt the Brand Steering Wheel (BSW) model
The Brand Steering Wheel model, coined by a German organisation in the early 90s, has been stress-tested by some of the world’s most successful brands and is essentially a tool that works on building a robust and recognisable identity.
Data has proven that utilising the BSW model increases a business’s return on investment (ROI) by effectively translating its values to its consumers.
It is modelled after the human brain and divided into five parts, which are:
- Brand benefit
- Brand tonality
- Brand attributes
- Brand iconography
- Brand competence
Brand competence sits at the core of the model, from which all other business activities emanate, including design, marketing and sales. Brand competence can be defined as consumer perception of a brand’s ability to meet customer needs – you need to be reliable, intelligent and influential to succeed.
Strategic brand proposition conclusion
While the strategic brand proposition is not the only strategy out there, it is one of the most effective within the context of an overall marketing plan. When crafting your brand strategy, ensure that you take a close look at your competitors and your target market’s behaviour to help you better determine how to position your brand.
Investing in a strategic brand proposition is a surefire way to ensure that your marketing activities are effective, efficient and grab the attention of your target audience to grow your business successfully.