The key to a successful brand is the strategy behind it. That’s why it is critically important to choose the one that is right for your organization. It becomes the lens that guides all of your internal and external communications and activities. Here are a few key things to consider when formulating an effective brand strategy:
1. Does your brand strategy embody your distinction?
Apple is really good example of a distinct brand strategy. Apple is about being innovative and different. You can see it in everything Apple. Their products look, feel, and act different. They’ve created a user experience that is simple, yet captivating. It seduces users into wanting as many Apple products as they can get. It is sometimes referred to as “Apple-ness” because it makes customers feel good about themselves.
2. Does your brand strategy provide a focal point for your organization?
Or do you find you are trying to be all things to all people with a variety of stories about your brand. If this is the case, take a chapter from Southwest’s book. It’s all about low fares and great service. Southwest’s vision was that all people—not just elite—would be able to afford to fly. They call their way of doing business “Southwest hospitality.” They offer low fares, no change fees and bags fly free! They’ve created a streamlined airport experience with charging stations, comfy seating in the gate area and an open seating policy. Southwest employees know what their brand stands for and it shows in their “Fun-LUVing Attitude.” (Interesting fact: Southwest’s New York Stock Exchange symbol is “LUV.”)
3. Is your brand strategy aligned with your business strategy?
Consider this: brand and marketing can’t make a claim of distinction the organization can’t support. That’s why you need to take your business’ strategy into account when developing your brand strategy. Think about a brand like Maytag. They tout the reliability of their products using the loneliest repairman to deliver the message “our machines won’t break down.” Maytag’s claim of distinction is higher quality, which is perfectly aligned with its business strategy. Everything they do from R&D to manufacturing to marketing is focused on quality.
How to get it right.
If you don’t have a clear distinction for your brand, work to find one. Make sure your company’s business strategy and brand strategy are aligned. Put the appropriate programs in place to ensure everyone is on board, communicating the same message, and marching to the same tune. When you choose the right brand strategy, your organization will naturally embrace it and see powerful results.