Characteristics of a Successful Brand Strategy

Your brand strategy informs everything you do. It shapes how your business is positioned in the market and how your audience perceives your brand. Ideally, your brand strategy also serves as a guide that helps you navigate the nuances of a constantly changing marketplace.

But not all brand strategies are the same — some simply lack the scope and resiliency to propel your business forward. To stay on track, there are several must-have characteristics to include in your strategy to guide brand development and decision-making.

1. Audience focus

The first attribute of a solid B2B brand is audience focus. Your brand can’t succeed in your target market by attempting to be everything to every audience. Instead, you need to focus on the audience segment most valuable to your brand. Start by creating personas to capture foundational information on your audience and ground your brand strategy in audience insights. To effectively capture audience attention, your messaging should address your unique value proposition related to their pain points and motivations. From there, retain your audience and gain their loyalty by aligning your mission and values with their beliefs.

HubSpot is an example of a successful audience-focused brand strategy. HubSpot is focused on helping small and mid-sized companies grow their businesses. By targeting this audience and creating a suite of offerings that helps move the needle on growth — courses, certifications, CRM, marketing automation, customer service and content management — HubSpot has secured a solid position as a partner for growth in the marketplace.

2. Consistency

Brand consistency demonstrates focus and serves as a guarantee to your audience. It is an assurance that the audience can expect the same level of quality service throughout the relationship. Consistent interactions with your audience help build customer trust and loyalty.

Consistency also helps generate recognition in the marketplace. It reinforces your positioning among your competitors and captures audience mindshare. When used strategically, repetition is your friend — it might take longer for your audience to connect with your brand than you expect. In fact, according to the “Rule of Seven” by Dr. Jeffrey Lant, it takes at least seven instances of repetition for a buyer to remember your message. To promote consistency, your brand expression — including logo, color palette and taglines — should be aligned to your strategy and extend across all your communications. A brand guideline document can help ensure your team has the required information to execute your B2B branding consistently.

3. Simplicity

Strong brand strategies are often rooted in simple and straightforward ideas. They aren’t convoluted. If your brand can’t be summarized in a single statement, you may need to refine and simplify it. Constructing your brand around one central idea helps your customers understand your business and relate to it.

Examples of brands that are grounded in simplicity exist across all industries. For example, Apple is well known for the idea of inspiring people to “think different.” Nike, on the other hand, established itself by “bring[ing] inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” Both brands have attracted fan bases that connect with their brand ideologies.

4. Detail

Focusing your brand idea on an essential concept allows room for detailed execution. There are many different elements you can use to bring your brand to life, including personality, tone and voice. For example, in the QSR industry, Denny’s has a clearly defined brand personality that makes it stand out. It’s funny and conversational, which ties back to its brand identity of “America’s Diner.” Its distinction can be seen clearly on social media, where strong audience engagement proves that a detailed brand strategy execution pays off.

Another example of a brand that executes the details is Disney. Its brand promise of “where dreams come true” is brought to life in its theme parks. For instance, to preserve the dreamlike experience, there are rarely any clocks displayed, except near entrances. The buildings and attractions within the parks are built so there is a limited view of the outside world. There are also almost no trees that turn colors, except where they add to the experience, like in the attraction The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. With more than 50,000 visits daily, the success of Disney’s brand strategy is apparent.

5. Flexibility

The inclusion of flexibility in your brand strategy enables you to maintain a forward-looking perspective and helps build an evergreen brand. When developing your brand identity, think about the brand you aspire to be a few years down the line. Consistency is important, so you don’t want to constantly reshape your brand. Instead, create space for your brand to adapt by considering future expansion into adjacent product fields or service areas.

An example of a brand that does a great job building flexibility into its brand strategy is Google. Google’s brand promise is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This has enabled Google the flexibility to expand from the search engine space into adjacent offerings like maps, email and cloud storage. It also creates opportunities for future expansion into new areas.

A strong brand strategy helps solidify your positioning in the market. It defines your brand and serves as a foundation to your B2B marketing strategies. To make a memorable impact, audience focus, consistency, simplicity, detail and flexibility are key.

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