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 hard to understand all the definitions out there.
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.
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 brand does.
Rather, brand strategy tells consumers why you exist and how you'll change their lives for the better.
In short, brand strategy gives you the words you need to talk about your brand and the vision you need to bring it to life.
Brand strategy tells consumers why you exist and how you'll change their lives for the better.
Brand strategy is your brand's marketing cornerstone. It's the foundation on which your messaging, visuals, and marketing tactics are built. When you invest in brand strategy, you'll have the information you need to connect with the right people, at the right time, and in the right place.
Brand strategy typically includes a competitive analysis and audience profiles that 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 brand strategy and design agency, they will take your brand foundation a step further by giving visual direction so you know your brand leaves the right impression with your audience.
Every brand strategy agency or service provider gives different deliverables. Its important to work with someone willing to give you the details on final deliverables. That way, you'll know what you'll gain from the process before you begin the work.
Brand strategy is important because it's the foundation for how your brand presents itself to the world. And just like the foundation for a house, your brand's foundation should be supportive, reliable, and allow you to build and grow. If you build a brand without a foundation, 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 constantly convert.
There are many ways to build your brand's strategy, but the most popular way is to work with a brand strategy agency. If you know you'll need visual identity too (for example, you're just starting your business), you can work with a brand strategy and design agency to ensure your brand is safe for the entire brand-building process.
It's important to find the best brand strategy agency that will work for your business and your budget. The best brand strategy agencies will work to get to know you as a founder, taking time to answer questions before the project begins and giving clear timelines and a list of deliverables. They should also understand your industry and current marketing trends and tactics.
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 the 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 1:1 with you to understand the nuances of your business and listen to your story in real time.
The best brand strategy agencies don't just send a simple survey to gather information—they connect 1:1 with you to understand the nuances of your business and listen to your story in real time. Real-time conversations bring to light the "a-ha!" moments that make your brand what it is.
There are a few ways to find the best brand strategy agency for your business. Before you begin, take a look at your budget and have an idea of what you'd like to spend on the project. This will help weed out brand strategy agencies you can't afford to work with. More importantly, it will give prospective partners an idea of your budget so they know what to include in their scope of work.
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 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 existing experience in your field.
Finally, when vetting agencies and partners, ask for recommendations from previous clients and case studies from former work. They should be more than willing to share success stories with you.
Before you create a logo, start an Instagram account, or even finalize your business name, you should consider starting with strategy. When you start with brand strategy, you'll have a true north for your brand so you can make sure everything you create connects with the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
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