What is Brand Strategy?

Brand strategy is a term that saturates the market. With brand strategists, branding experts, and brand image consultants constantly flooding Instagram feeds and LinkedIn messages near you, it's difficult to understand all the definitions.

In this brand strategy primer, you'll get a clear picture of what brand strategy is, what it isn't, what is included in the process, and why you need it to build a successful business.

What is brand strategy?

Brand strategy isn't a mood board. It's not a logo design. It isn't coaching on how to grow your revenue (though having a solid brand will help your bottom line!). It's not defining what your business does.

Brand strategy is understanding your audience and competitive landscape to share the right message, with the right people, at the right time. Strategy is your brand’s cornerstone and is the foundation on which your messaging, visuals, and marketing tactics are built. When you invest in brand strategy, you and your team will be aligned behind a common vision and share a consistent brand identity that resonates with your audience.

What is included in brand strategy?

Brand strategy typically includes a robust competitive analysis and detailed audience profiles to determine your brand's position in the market. Many brand strategists also include messaging direction and key talking points so you'll have the language you need to sell your services or products. When you work with a strategy-focused brand agency, they will take your brand foundation a step further by giving visual direction so you know your brand leaves the right impression on your audience.

Brand strategy deliverables and outcomes vary based on your selected brand partner. Before working with a brand strategist or brand agency, discuss and understand the complete scope of work and final deliverables. This will help you plan for the work ahead while aligning stakeholder expectations.

Why is brand strategy important?

Brand strategy is important because it's the foundation for how your brand presents itself. And just like the foundation for a house, your brand's foundation should be supportive and reliable, enabling you to build and grow. And, just like if you build a house without a foundation, if you create a brand without strategy, you'll spend lots of money and time on constant repairs and revisions.

On the other hand, when you invest in brand strategy, you'll build a reliable brand with consistent messaging and visuals that convert the right people into your marketing and sales funnel.

Why should I work with a brand agency?

While some organizations choose to do their brand strategy themselves, working with a brand agency can bring a fresh, unbiased perspective to your business. They may help you see yourself in a new light or identify possibilities you never dreamed of.

If you know you'll need visual identity too (for example, you're just starting your business), you can work with a brand agency that offers visual identity and design services. This will ensure brand consistency and a holistic approach to building a brand that resonates. 

The best brand agency will work with you to determine the budget and scope of work, get to know you as a founder or business leader, and take time to answer questions before the project begins. They’ll give you clear timelines and a detailed list of deliverables. 

Red flags when looking for a brand strategist

With so many brand strategists and agencies available, how do you know which one is right for your business? Brand strategy is a partnership between you and an agency. The process will be work-heavy for both of you, but a brand strategist should never put the full burden of work on you, asking you to fill out endless surveys and forms.

The best brand strategy agencies don't just send a simple survey to gather information—they connect directly with you and your team (in real time!) to understand the nuances of your business and listen to your story. Real-time conversations bring to light the "a-ha!" moments that make your brand what it is.

How to find a brand strategy agency

Before looking for a brand agency, understand your budget and what you'd like to spend on the project. This will give prospective partners an idea of your budget so they know what to include in their scope of work. Strange Salt’s brand strategy work begins with a brand insight intensive ($2,500.00), which segues to brand and messaging strategy and documentation (Beginning at $10k).

Once you narrowed in on a budget, ask your network for folks they'd recommend. Be specific in your ask and note that you are looking for a brand strategist who can fulfill your needs in X, Y, and Z areas. You can also post on LinkedIn or in industry-specific groups to find someone with experience in your field. 

When vetting agencies and partners, ask for recommendations from previous clients and case studies. They should be more than willing to share success stories with you.

Start building your business with brand strategy

Before you create a logo, start an Instagram account, or even finalize your business name, consider starting with strategy. When you start with brand strategy, you'll have a true north for your brand and ensure everything you create connects with the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

To get started, send us a message.