Why a branding strategy is a key business tool.


Andy Cameron-Smith, managing director

What is the perception of a brand? A logo, a colour pallet, an image or is it something more?

The American Marketing Association define a brand as…

A name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one sellers good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.

For me, brand is at the heart of any business. From a communications perspective you need to have defined your brand strategy before you begin to identify communications or marketing tactics. The brand strategy has to be written to deliver the businesses’ objectives. It cannot work in isolation.

Brand is the personality of a business and brand equity is the goodwill a business builds that compels people to do business with them rather than their competitors. That goodwill is generated by the way a business makes customers feel.

Brand is also reputation. It has been described as a promise wrapped up into an experience. It becomes important that the customer or client experience is consistent across all the interactions with a business.

What should be in a brand strategy? There are a number of different views but for me there are some key components that should feature.

Competitive analysis – analyse how the business is positioned in the market. An understanding of other market messages is valuable information in defining the voice of a brand.

The why – this is a simple statement that articulates and clearly explains why the business exists and what it seeks to do. This defines the purpose.

Mission statement – most businesses will have this, but it should clearly identify and articulate what the business wants to accomplish.

Vision statement – not to be confused with the mission statement, this should be a statement of where the business wants to get to.

Values – a branding strategy should help identify the values the business wants to operate by and once identified should be highlighted and explained through the communications of the business.

Positioning statement – a message to appeal to the target audience of the business that provides a reason to believe in that business.

The brand story – all great brands have great stories. Communications is storytelling and a business needs to tell its story well staying in control of their own narrative and not leaving it to others to tell.

Personality – identify how to amplify the character that represents a business and ensure that comes across in the communications and marketing activity of the business.

A brand promise – a commitment to the market between a business and its intended audience to help build authenticity.

A value proposition – explaining the benefit to audiences of why they should engage with that business.

I reiterate that this is not an exhaustive list, but I think they form the core of a successful brand strategy.

If a brand strategy sits at the heart of a business and is created to deliver its business objectives, then communications and marketing activities should all link back to that strategy. If they don’t fit, don’t do them as it will confuse and a business needs to be able to communicate clearly who they are, what they do and what is the benefit of buying their goods or services.