Modern branding strategies can range from traditional logo design and graphic artwork to complex multimedia marketing campaigns. Despite the many potential avenues for cutting edge branding strategies, the pillars of powerful brands remain much the same as they have for decades. Branding a business is the best way to make customers aware of who you are, what you do, and why your products will meet their needs. How exactly brands accomplish this goal is highly individualized for each unique situation.
To understand branding strategy 101, we will be reviewing some high level branding concepts including knowing your audience, brand identity, brand personality, brand alignment, and implementation of branding elements into a successful marketing campaign.
Identify and Understand Your Target Customer Base
The most well thought out branding strategy on earth will not be effective if it is targeted at the wrong audience. Identifying and understanding your target consumer base is a key component when developing branding materials and strategies. This process can be thought of as three distinct steps:
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- Understand your target audience. Now that you know the population most likely to be your customers, getting to know this group in detail is essential. Are your customers looking for inexpensive and reliable solutions? Are they looking for luxury items at premium prices? Are they more likely to respond to traditional marketing or modern implementations like influencer campaigns and social media marketing?
- Matching brand materials to customer tendencies. Finally, all future branding decisions should reflect this market research. This ensures that your brand will be aligned with customer expectation/demand.
Developing a Brand Identity and Brand Personality
Brand identity and brand personality are the most prominent public facing aspects of any brand. Yet these two pillars of brand strategy are often muddled or confused. The identity and personality of a brand are distinct, but should play off of one another for maximum effect.
Any visible brand materials may be considered part of a brand identity. This can include logos, graphic design, artwork, slogans, fonts, color schemes, and everything in between. Brand identity accomplishes two basic goals: 1. Create a response from the consumer based on the brand identity. For example: bright and bold colors might represent energy and/or happiness where more austere visuals might represent seriousness and quality. 2. Brand identity builds brand awareness through repetition. Everyone can look at the golden arches from a mile away and know a McDonald’s is near. That is the power of a strong brand identity.
While brand identity is generally static branding material, brand personality can be thought of as the way in which a brand interacts with the public. Good branding strategy keeps brand personality at the forefront of all decisionmaking from formulating a brand positioning statement to responding to negative customer reviews. The primary templates for brand personality include luxury, energy, toughness, sincerity, and excellence. If your brand does not fit neatly into any of these boxes, no problem! Just make sure that your brand personality is easily understood and translated into marketing materials and customer interactions.
Implementing Branding Elements into a Coherent Marketing Strategy
With the immediacy of information exchange in today’s business environment, marketing strategies must adapt and evolve in real-time to keep up with customer expectations. While there is certainly still room for traditional marketing campaigns, modern marketing strategies are as much about customer interaction as they are about putting out large ad campaigns. Consider that the now famous Wendy’s Twitter page has driven more attention to the Wendy’s brand than any of their multi-million dollar ad campaigns within the past ten years.
In fact, the example of Wendy’s embracing meme culture is a perfect segue into the modern relationship between customer and brand. In the past, brands would take months or years to curate specific marketing campaigns, launch them, then perform a post-mortem to determine successes and failures. The current environment allows brands to remain in near-constant contact with their customers/fans. This presents an opportunity to develop emotional connections with customers through expressive brand personalities in a multitude of touch points.
This reality can also make brand alignment a real challenge. No matter what actions marketing departments take, they should always have the core message, brand identity, and brand personality of their brands at the forefronts of their minds. Without a consistent brand message, customers can become confused about your products and/or your value propositions. It can become tempting to ebb and flow with the times, but consistent brands remain the strongest in the long run.
Clock Tower Insight Branding Solutions
At Clock Tower Insight, we turn data into business solutions. By maximizing brand positioning, CX management, moments of influence, and more, we help build our clients brands in the short and long term. Clock Tower Insight believes that happy customers equal a happy business. We work closely with clients to tailor their brand from top to bottom in order to maximize positive image, exposure, and sales.
To learn more about how we may be able to help your business grow, read about our 15 plus years of focused experience working with brands such as Starbucks, Kraft, McDonald’s, and much more.