Yes, your logo is a crucial symbol and identifier – but it’s only one part of your brand. Understanding that, and nailing your strategic branding, is the secret to achieving sustained competitive advantage.
Much more than a logo and colour palette, your brand is your single most important business asset.
Strong brands are proven to consistently outperform the market. A strong brand is your competitive edge, driving everything from increased margins to attracting and retaining the best people.
And a strong brand doesn’t happen by accident: it is driven by smart, strategic brand management.
So, what is strategic branding?
Your brand is influenced by every experience people have with your organisation: via your customer service, website, products, social media, advertising, word-of-mouth and much more.
Brand perception is what differentiates you, and makes customers decide to choose your products and services … or not.
So how do you articulate what that perception should be – and how you will go about shaping it? By developing a clearly defined brand strategy.
Built on deep analysis of target markets and competitors, your brand strategy establishes a crystal-clear understanding of what sets you apart – so you can deliver on that promise every day.
Your brand essence (or unique promise) should flow through all your touchpoints. It should be aligned directly with business strategy and make a measurable contribution to achieving business goals.
In short, strategic branding means you don’t leave your brand image to chance: you craft an intentional and consistent brand perception in the minds of your target market. You create a brand that truly connects.
Why is a brand strategy important?
Operating without a brand strategy equates to guesswork, especially when it comes to marketing and communications. On the other hand, strategic brand management means you have a clear focus and direction. No more ‘scattergun’ marketing, off-target advertising, confused messaging or wasted efforts (and money).
In the words of Jim Mullen, Founder of Mullen Advertising: “The greater your command of brand loyalty, the less you must worry about price sensitivity and competitive promotions – and the less you must pay for marketing.”
A robust brand strategy clarifies your brand promise, so you can deliver on it every day, in all you do. That’s why it has to be compelling, authentic and credible.
Brand strategy is a compass that guides the whole organisation: influencing business decisions, sales efforts, human resources, customer service, colleague interactions, and marketing material.
What does a strategic branding plan include?
The brand strategy for every organisation is different, but generally includes:
- business, market, customer and competitor analysis
- brand positioning and differentiation
- brand vision
- brand values
- brand purpose and unique promise
- brand personality and voice
- high-level messaging.
Once defined and agreed, the brand strategy should translate across customer touchpoints – informing everything from visual identity (logo, fonts, colours and so on) to how your team answers the phone or responds to complaints.
Strategic brand management – in real life
For a company like CUTEK®, discovering their “brand DNA” made a world of difference – with target markets ranging from designers, builders and manufacturers to consumers and homeowners.
General Manager Jasmine Florey says: “We were unsure of how to navigate the complicated world of marketing. Mariart helped us figure out our corporate identity, and then provided a framework within which we could tell our company’s story. They have helped us accelerate our growth, and helped us tell the world who we are.”
Strategic brand management – for big business benefits
In a crowded and fiercely competitive marketplace, every organisation runs the risk of mixing up (or diluting) their brand message and confusing customers.
More than ever, you need a strong, well-defined brand to get noticed, connect with customers, drive new business and carve out a niche. We know that strong brands also help attract (and keep) great talent and create a more unified and positive internal culture.
At Mariart, we’ve seen it play out over and again: reinvigorating clients who uncover their brand essence and never look back.
In fact, the power of a strong brand is recognised and proven across the world.
- 88% of consumers say that authenticity is a key factor when deciding what brands they like and support (Stackla, 2021).
- 82% of shoppers want a consumer brand’s values to align with their own, and they’ll vote with their wallet if they don’t feel a match (Harris Poll research).
- 77% of marketing leaders say a strong brand is critical to their growth plans (Content Marketing Institute, 2015).
- 82% of investors want the companies they invest in to have a robust brand (Big Presence, 2016).
One study by The University of Manchester found “that a strong brand tended to act like a cushion, sheltering companies from the worst effects of the economic crisis”.
And finally, another quote from Jim Mullen brings home the power of brand:
“Of all the things that your company owns, brands are far and away the most important and the toughest. Founders die. Factories burn down. Machinery wears out. Inventories get depleted. Technology becomes obsolete. Brand loyalty is the only sound foundation on which business leaders can build enduring, profitable growth.”
Jim Mullen, Founder of Mullen Advertising
Why a strategic branding agency?
Working with an experienced, full-service brand design agency like Mariart means getting to the heart of your brand first – to drive meaningful marketing, compelling creative and sustained returns.
Rather than ‘firing off’ creative without clear direction, a strategic branding agency like ours works closely with clients, from the very first brand strategy workshop to brand training for staff, to ensure their brand really connects with customers and they have the tools to apply it across everything they do.
While brand strategy may sound complex, we make it simple: so it can easily and effectively be brought to life across all your business activities and marketing and communication channels.
The benefits? A strong, sustained and integrated approach across channels – and a business powered by a proud, meaningful, valued and resilient brand.
Want to build a stronger brand – for more powerful business and marketing results?
Tap into our tight circle of skilled specialists under one roof, achieving amazing results across the full gamut of strategy, brand, marketing and creative execution.
What is a strategic brand agency?
A strategic brand agency is a company that specialises in helping businesses develop and manage their brand identity to create a lasting and positive impression on their target audience. This includes developing a comprehensive brand strategy that encompasses all aspects of the business, from visual design and messaging to customer experience and values. Strategic brand agencies work closely with businesses to identify their unique value proposition and then craft a compelling story around it. They help businesses create a consistent and authentic brand image that resonates with their target audience and distinguishes them from competitors. A strategic brand agency can help a business with every aspect of brand development, including market research, brand positioning, logo design, messaging development, website design, social media management, and advertising campaigns.
What is strategic branding?
Strategic branding is the process of creating and managing a brand identity that aligns with a company’s goals and resonates with its target audience. It involves developing a comprehensive brand strategy that includes market research, brand positioning, messaging development, visual design, customer experience, and values. A successful brand strategy should articulate the unique value proposition of a business and differentiate it from competitors. It should also create a consistent and authentic brand image that resonates with the target audience and inspires brand loyalty. Strategic branding is not just about creating a logo or visual identity; it is about developing a deep understanding of a company’s mission, values, and customer needs and then crafting a compelling story around it. A well-executed brand strategy can help a business build a strong reputation, increase customer loyalty, and drive long-term growth.
What does a branding agency do?
A branding agency is a company that specialises in creating and managing brand identities for businesses. A branding agency typically works with businesses to develop a comprehensive brand strategy that includes market research, brand positioning, messaging development, visual design, customer experience, and values. They help businesses identify their unique value proposition and then create a compelling story around it. This can include developing a visual identity, such as a logo, and crafting messaging that resonates with the target audience. A branding agency can also help businesses create a consistent brand image across all touchpoints, including websites, social media, advertising campaigns, and customer service interactions. In short, a branding agency helps businesses create and manage a strong brand identity that distinguishes them from competitors and resonates with their target audience.
What is the difference between a marketing and branding agency?
While both marketing and branding agencies can help businesses achieve their goals, they focus on different aspects of a company’s identity. A marketing agency typically focuses on promoting a business’s products or services through advertising, public relations, and other channels. They may help businesses develop campaigns to drive sales or increase brand awareness. On the other hand, a branding agency focuses on creating and managing a business’s brand identity. They help businesses develop a comprehensive brand strategy that includes market research, brand positioning, messaging development, visual design, customer experience, and values. They aim to create a consistent and authentic brand image that resonates with the target audience and inspires brand loyalty. In short, a marketing agency is focused on promoting a business’s products or services, while a branding agency is focused on developing and managing a business’s brand identity.