What’s commonly misunderstood is that a brand strategy has nothing to do with your brand’s name, product, or logo (in fact, your logo should respond to your brand strategy). Instead, it has everything to do with building the whole person of “YOU” – not parts of – on a singular point of difference that you alone own.
Brand strategy is a higher process that involves both art and science, taking a step back from the functional, and daring to look at the big picture of who you are. Without the solid foundation that brand strategy creates, it almost always results in an overt (and often exhausting) reliance on short-term tactical expressions.
What most people don’t realize is that everything they’re looking for to drive sustained support already lies within the blood of their brand. It’s there. It’s just a matter of identifying it. And a brand strategy will recognize it – and your target audience will befriend you because of it.
The person of your brand is founded on common ground, comprising a rational truth about your brand that’s aligned emotively with the aspiration of your target audience. It’s a critical tandem for a seamless transition from head to heart. It provides a reason to believe in you. And through shared values, it’ll create a relevance and a bond that will make your donors love you in their lives.
Overall, brand strategy will have created a holistic blueprint of “you,” where you take form as a whole entity, with one voice, face, and purpose. That means no brand “schizophrenia.” So no matter where your target audience sees you, you’re the same person that consistently delivers everything they’ve learned to love, value, and respect about you.
But there’s more. A brand strategy equally has core functional benefits. By providing the “why” of your brand, you now see the bigger picture. That means you have direction to take your brand forward for the long term.
Further, by knowing what makes you unique as a brand, this one singular truth becomes your central axis that aligns and informs not only your marketing, but equally the people within your organization. There’s cohesion, clarity, and focus all around – no gray.
Best yet, through consistent reinforcement over time, everything that comes from your brand will inherit the “positive credentials” of this one powerful point. The outtake is, that because it’s from you, “it’s got to be good!”
There’s so much more to your brand than a logo. Your brand represents a person your target market wants to relate to and love – they just don’t know it yet.
That’s the effectiveness of brand strategy.
Elizabeth West is Global Director Marketing+Branding for Dunham+Company.