5 Essential Brand Tips: Forming a Cohesive Branding Strategy

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Chaos is the opposite of cohesion. Chaos is what happens if you do not have a branding strategy. Our quick checklist will give you essential brand tips that will help you develop a clear, cohesive strategy for your brand. 

Branding 101 - Why?

Why do you need a brand? A brand is how other people, called customers, recognize your products and identify with your company. It goes way your product, your logo, your website, or your name; it is your identity, and what distinguishes you from all the rest.

To jump ahead for just a moment, your brand's success can be measured by two indicators: reputation and visibility. Your reputation rests on the quality of your product and how you deal with your target audience. Your visibility—across all channels—can either enhance your reputation (and therefore sales) or damage it.

By defining your brand, and documenting it, you are on the path towards forming a cohesive branding strategy, and providing yourself with the tools you will need to manage your brand once it is established in the market.

Defining and Developing Your Brand

In a nutshell, the first step is to make sure you align your brand with your business objectives. Then you need to establish what tools you're going to use to communicate the brand (logo, tagline, website, product packaging). After that, you'll have to think about strengthening your newly developed brand (social and other media).

1. Define Business Objectives and Target Audience

Do you have a sales target, or would you prefer to grow organically? Who is your target audience (demographics matter)? Which segment of the market you are targetting (e.g., luxury upmarket, or affordable for everyone)

Specifying exactly who your target customers are is a very smart way of narrowing your focus so that your marketing efforts reap meaningful rewards. It also makes researching your target group(s) easier so that you can adapt to changing trends if need be.

Doing these two things will help you understand your customers' perspectives better, and communicate your message to them in a way that resonates with them. Remember that no-one—except Nike, who says "If you have a body, you're an athlete", and maybe one or two other big brands—targets "everyone". 

Clear definitions at this stage will make it easier for you to develop a cohesive strategy since you will have clear points of departure for all the actions you take to achieve those business objectives.

2. Essential Brand Positioning - Where Do You Rank?

This is the business equivalent of your one-minute elevator pitch. What is your USP - unique selling proposition? How is your company different from others within the same market? Why should potential customers choose you over the others?

Usually, all you need here is three to five short statements that are based on reality and deal with things that you know you can deliver.  For example, if you say that you always refund product returns from your online store immediately upon request (and return of the product), then be absolutely sure than you can, and do. Your USP should also be a bit like a goal; something you strive for.

Don't try to do your USP first. You have to figure out all the stuff in Tip #1 first before you can craft your USP in a clear, concise way that makes sense in terms of your product and your company's brand identity.

3. Develop YOur Communication Strategy

Your need a messaging strategy that conveys your brand positioning to your target audiences. Your target audiences include potential clients and existing clients, and influencers.

It is not only social media posts and advertising campaigns and promotions where you are sending out messages.  Your product packaging and labels are also part of your visibility.  Ideally, your target audience should be able to see the link between your products and your corporate logo, tagline, and other communications.

Recently, the upswing in the interest in cannabidiol has created a lot of competition amongst those in the business.  Now CBD packaging design is of prime importance for those who want to establish a name for themselves and get brand recognition.

A word of caution on packaging and product labels: be sure that they are in compliance with industry standards and statutory requirements in the markets that you serve.  Such requirements change from state to state and from country to country.

4. Get Your Company Name Right

Get consultants in. Show them everything you have planned in Tips #1-3 above.  What your family thinks about a design you did on your own computer is not going to cut it. Your logo, tagline and brand colors are something that the marketplace will judge.  They have to be able to communicate your brand well.

5. Develop Your Content Marketing

You have to talk about your products and get the message out there.  That means creating content beyond what you already have on your website.  Content is king.

Regular content on blogs posted to your social media channel will have a domino effect on your sales.  Get SEO and content experts to help you figure out how to go about this.  And then, you'll be well on your way to actioning your cohesive brand strategy!

Regular Reviews

Keep track of your progress. (That's essential brand strategy tip #6 in a nutshell.) You will soon have all sorts of analytics to process. Use the results of these analyses by incorporating them into your strategy, and conduct regular strategy reviews to make sure you're staying on the right track - the path to success, of course!

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