Brand strategy is something everyone has heard about. When you hear of a brand strategist, you wonder how it differs from a designer. Sometimes designers also call themselves brand strategists, making it difficult to figure out what you need and who to hire.
Let’s talk about the difference between a graphic designer and a brand strategist. A brand strategist is not always a graphic designer. Likewise, not all designers are brand strategists. Your business will benefit from understanding what you need and how you can create a brand strategy for yourself.
Brand strategy is about the big picture and the “why” of your business
Strategy, as you might expect from the word, is all about how and why. It refers to how you will run your business parallel to your brand.
This is also the time to clarify what that really means. A brand strategy serves to guide your business plan and help you determine how you want to communicate.
It is usually a lengthy and involved process that will assist you in marketing, promoting, and selling your product when it is launched. Rebranding can occur when a business has learned more about its customers and needs to adapt to provide better service.
Designers are not necessarily brand strategists
Knowing that not all designers specialise in strategy is important when hiring one to help with your branding. They usually make that clear in their services and processes.
If you can design a logo and several illustrations fairly quickly and cheaply, then you are paying for design rather than strategy. That’s not to say it is necessarily good or bad. Everything depends on what your business needs at the time.
The majority of the time, when you’re starting a business, you don’t know much about your clients or customers. To come up with your mission and vision, you must make the sales and speak to people.
It can also be an opportunity to review your services and offerings. You might find that the strategy part is more important if you’re trying to brand your business after selling for a while.
Investing in visual branding
Working on a brand strategy usually helps you figure out what your visuals need to be. The psychology of it is a big part of it as you study your target market. It is important to determine what appeals to them and what they need. Additionally, you will learn how to communicate this clearly with them. Visuals are crucial to customer acquisition, so this is usually a careful and thorough process.
While a beginner can do brand strategy, this is generally the job of someone with more experience. Someone with a broad understanding of marketing, design, and how they work together.
Ask these questions during the brand strategy process
The brand strategy is essentially the gateway to your business plan, and it contains many of these elements. It’s mainly a difference in the way it’s communicated and in the way it’s visually presented. It acts like a guide on how to talk to your people once you’ve delved into why your brand exists.
You know how your business is going to operate, what its goals are, and what its mission is.
- Who do you help, and how?
- Is that how you envision it?
- How will you align your offerings with that?
Describe your short- and long-term business goals.
- Do you have any personal goals related to the business?
- Do you see this brand as a reflection of you?
- Would it be a brand that would live beyond you and be more about defining a vision?
The target market
Brand strategy is largely determined by the research done on the target market. The task at hand is certainly not an easy one – which is why people with a bit of business experience might be able to better understand it.
There are certain patterns one can see about who the clients are and what they need if you have a few clients coming in. People often talk about customer avatars. This is a part that many business owners overlook since they believe they have multiple profiles of their ideal customers.
Trying to focus on one type of client doesn’t hurt your business or limit the types of people who buy from you. In fact, you can still pivot once more people are using your services or buying your products. This will allow you to decide whether you want to target a wider market.
For example, just because you target women doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to sell products to men. Your offerings will still be good no matter who they’re for, unless your tagline specifies or your offering is made for a specific demographic.
A comparison of demographics and psychographics
Studying your customer avatar allows you to understand much more than just demographics. In fact, what you should really be looking for is psychographics.
Rather than facts about them as people like their age, occupation, ethnicity, etc., these are more of what they think and want. There are deeper questions such as how do they de-stress at the end of a hard day? Is it more important to them that something is visually appealing, or are they more budget-conscious?
If you are familiar with them, you will be able to answer these questions better. Psychographics have to be real in order to be studied, and you can’t just make them up.
Prioritising strategy is crucial
A brand strategy is the gateway to many key aspects of your business. It provides guidelines that help you remember why you do what you do. In addition, it lets you know what is aligned with your business and what isn’t.
In that sense, it’s essential to have a combination of both when creating your brand identity visuals. This is the driving force behind every aspect of the brand.