A brand strategy is a framework that determines how businesses present themselves to customers and stand out among competitors. Your business’s brand is more than just its name, logo, fonts, and colors. Think of your brand as the sum of your business’s look and feel, personality, philosophy, values, and customer experiences.
Consistent and values-driven brand efforts inspire trust in consumers, who are increasingly purchasing from brands that offer quality while contributing to a better world, according to 2021 reports by Lucidpress and Edleman [1, 2]. With a clear brand strategy you can:
Build your business
Reach your ideal customers
Market your products more effectively
Increase brand awareness in the marketplace
In the sections below, you’ll explore your brand’s foundation and begin the process of building a brand strategy.
Complete the steps below to establish a strong brand foundation, and develop a strategy to present your brand to the world.
A business plan is a formal document that describes a business’s goals and the strategies it will follow to meet those goals. Think of it as a roadmap you can use alongside a brand strategy to develop a thriving business. Follow the prompts below to compose a basic business plan, or refer to your existing business plan and explore ideas that will be fundamental to your brand.
What is your business’s mission statement?
What value does the business offer your target customer?
How would you describe your business model: the products and services you offer and their price points?
When you explore these details, what possibilities do you see for identifying a tone, mood, or set of concepts you could use to define your eventual brand?
It’s important to know who your business serves, so that you can design a brand and deliver an experience that resonates with them. A full market analysis can offer a thorough look at a specific market, but for this brand exercise, consider the following:
What are your target customers’ values and beliefs?
What other brands do they admire, buy from, and stay loyal to?
What are their typical objections when considering whether or not to purchase a product?
How do they find out about new products?
How do their typical purchasing habits reflect their personalities, pain points, values, beliefs, goals, and needs?
In your branding research, you might come across the idea of brand archetypes, which marketers and businesses have developed from psychologist Carl Jung’s concept of archetypes to describe the human psyche. Examples of brand archetypes include:
The creator, to refer to brands that encourage self-expression, innovation, and creativity to solve problems
The outlaw, to refer to brands that disrupt the status quo and inspire revolutionary attitudes
The sage, to refer to brands that position themselves as thought leaders and experts in their industry
Exploring brand archetypes and identifying one or several that align with your business goals can be a great way to generate fresh ideas for your brand’s potential. To gain these insights, take an online brand archetype quiz, such as the ones offered by MasterBrand or Lucidpress.
It’s time to use the brand foundation exercises to build a strategy. Each of the following components of your brand strategy will require you to be creative and systematic, appeal to customers’ emotions and reason, and reflect deeply on your business objectives.
Your brand’s mission statement should communicate the purpose and philosophy behind the customer experiences you’re creating. Use the prompts below to help define your brand’s mission.
What inspires you to develop this brand for your business?
What impact do you want your brand to make?
What experiences do you want to enable for customers, including emotions, sensations, new thoughts, and possibilities?
What practical role do you want your brand to play in customers’ lives? What outcomes can your brand drive?
Your brand’s vision statement is a long-term, future-oriented goal for what your brand will become, the presence it will have in the world, and what it will accomplish. To describe your brand vision, think about what could be possible for your brand. Write it as though there were no barriers or limitations keeping you from making this possible.
Use these three examples as models for how you can phrase your vision statement:
To provide all children access to education
To create a more connected world
To become a leading provider of entertaining experiences
With your brand’s mission and vision clearly outlined, your next step is to identify the values. What does your brand stand for? What is the fundamental belief system behind every aspect of the brand? Answering these questions will determine how your brand behaves in the marketplace and the customers you attract.
To complete this part of your brand strategy, name and define the values you share with your ideal customers. Here are a few examples:
Empathy and compassion
Passion and enthusiasm
Tenacity and stamina
Trustworthiness and integrity
Careful brand positioning can help you distinguish your brand from others in your industry and capture your target audience’s attention.
What makes your brand and its products and services unique in your industry?
What are the specific differentiators, and how do they compare to competitors’ offerings?
How will consumers who fit your buyer persona perceive and respond to these differentiators?
What will they believe about your brand and its products and services?
Use answers to the above questions to craft a brand positioning statement: [audience] will choose [product] to experience [benefits and outcomes], because [audience’s beliefs].
Your brand voice will determine how you use language to communicate your mission, values, and personality to the world. The brand voice will keep your messaging consistent, from paid ads and organic social media content to emails, product descriptions, and customer service portals. It will also help you foster relationships with customers and gain their trust.
Here are some questions to get you started:
What do you want your brand to be known for?
What adjectives would you want customers to use to describe your brand?
How would you describe your brand’s personality?
If your brand were a person, what tone, words, and phrases would they use? How would they come across?
Gather everything you’ve put together so far to design your brand’s identity. The identity will include all sensory experiences associated with your brand, such as the visual design of the logo, fonts, and colors; the taste, feel, or smell of your physical products; voices, music, and images that appear on videos; and the brand name and tagline.
Subtle choices in font style, size, layout, shades of color, scents, sounds, and other design elements can influence how the world perceives your brand. Brainstorm ideas about how different design elements can do the following:
Represent your brand’s mission, vision, and values
Correspond to your brand voice
Evoke the emotions you want customers to experience
As you generate the look and feel of your brand, it’s a good idea to work closely with members of your creative team, including graphic designers and product designers, to finalize your brand’s identity.
For more ideas on designing your brand’s identity, watch this lecture from Branding: The Creative Journey Specialization:
One of the most important tools for your business will be the brand guidelines—the definitive instructions, parameters, and standards that determine how you present your brand and everything it stands for to the world. Without clear guidelines, a brand can quickly become disjointed and thus dilute your message and weaken your business efforts.
According to LucidPress’s 2021 Brand Consistency report, 68 percent of survey respondents said that brand consistency has contributed to 10 percent or more of their revenue growth .
Besides listing the physical aspects of your brand’s identity, the brand guidelines might specify some of the following practices:
The instances in which you’ll use your logo, as well as the maximum and minimum sizes it should appear
Messaging guidance, including keywords, phrases, tone, and voice, as well as language to avoid
Social media and website layout options
Paid ad display options
You might find it useful to compile the brand guidelines in a single document, slide deck, or booklet and distribute to everyone throughout your business. That way, marketers, sales staff, product developers, and the creative team can ensure that you’re providing a cohesive brand experience at every customer touchpoint.
Taking an online course is a great way to gain experience with brand development and explore your business’s potential. Learn how to create a winning brand and offer memorable customer experiences in Branding: The Creative Journey Specialization.
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LucidPress. “2021 Brand Consistency Report, https://pub.lucidpress.com/brand-consistency-report/#hLcvM5W5oAkdL.” Accessed March 16, 2022.
Edelman. “2021 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files/2021-06/2021%20Edelman%20Trust%20Barometer%20Specl%20Report%20Trust%20The%20New%20Brand%20Equity.pdf.” Accessed March 16, 2022.
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