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Brand strategy for startups, explained: how to make it right

Like every house needs a fundament, every brand needs a strategy. Dig deeper into this topic and become an expert on how to create a sophisticated brand strategy.

5 min read

Like Rome, a strong brand can't be build in a day. Whether you want to launch a brand from scratch or finetune an existing brand, brand strategy is key for creating a strong brand that engages the audience, attracts prospects, and generates growth. A brand strategy is not something you create overnight, post on social media, and archive one week later. A brand strategy is a solid foundation for the success of your brand, the anchor that you can always hold on to. Keep on reading and explore the fours Ws and How of a sophisticated brand strategy that will help you to enter the next growth phase.

This is WHAT brand strategy is all about

Before going into detail, let's explore what brand strategy is all about – and some common misbelieves about it. There are a lot of definitions of “brand strategy” out there; in our opinion, the following one quite fits our understanding of it:

Brand strategy is part of a business plan that outlines how the company will build rapport and favorability within the market. The goal of a brand strategy is to become memorable in the eyes of the consumer so that they decide to patronize your business over the competition. (Source: Hubspot)

One essential factor that we would add to this definition, however, is the longevity of a brand strategy, as it relates to the long-term goals of a company. Therefore, brand (development) strategy affects all aspects of a business in the long run – regardless of whether you are pre-seed or series B. It's not only about the look of your brand, but also about consumers' needs, emotions and of course your competitors. Its goal is to present your business authentically and consistently, covering aspects like vision, mission, values; the look and feel of your brand; and the way your brand communicates to the audience and vice-versa. 

Hence, your brand strategy is fundamental for your brand and your success. It should be the first thing that you nail down, even before thinking about visual elements like your logo or colors. Once you got our brand strategy set, the more creative part including logo, colors, and web design comes in. Short and sweet: although a trendy logo is nice to look at, it won't take your brand to the next level.

Like Rome, a strong brand can't be built in a day.
Source: Hubspot

This is WHY you need a solid brand strategy

To create an engaging brand that attracts prospects, and to enter the next growth phase. As simple as that … 

Let's break this down. Just as every building needs a fundament, every brand needs a strategy. Based on your brand strategy you can build up other factors related to your business: from strategic designs to communicating your expertise, your brand values, and your brand message on all relevant touchpoints. Following a step-by-step process with a mature concept in mind will help you not only create an engaging visual identity and marketing strategy but also enter the next growth phase, and attract prospects or even investors.

This is WHO will take part in the brand strategy process

First things first: We mentioned earlier that a brand strategy can't be developed in just one night. The same goes for the people involved: Defining a brand strategy on your own is not just laborious, but also quite ineffective. It needs different points of view in order to integrate all relevant aspects and goals of your business. For this purpose, the five most important roles to develop a strong, coherent brand strategy that covers all of the essential elements are the following:

  • CEO: This person is not only the ultimate decision maker but also the one that aligns brand strategy to business objectives. They recognize important issues and make sure that there is no gap between brand and business. 
  • VP of Product: For the branding process you also have to keep in mind your product and service, and that's when your Product Manager comes in. They will give you insight into product, service, and the development process – expertise you will definitely need to rely on for some elements of your brand strategy.
  • Marketing and Sales Manager: There is no marketing without branding and there is no branding without marketing. The Marketing and Sales Manager will oversee the content creation, coordinate teams and resources, and give you valuable insights into the target audience and market.
  • HR Manager: Practice what you preach: They will cultivate a business culture reflecting the values that you try to communicate as part of your brand strategy. In terms of efficient recruiting and employer branding, the alignment between brand strategy and HR is crucial, as employees should act in line with the corporate culture. 
  • Creative Lead: In order to communicate your brand strategy on all relevant brand touchpoints, you need a shepherd, a person responsible for overseeing and enforcing the brand guidelines you established. They will strive to preserve the brand identity, internal as well as external. 

We are completely aware of the fact that the positions in a company are not rigid; so don’t worry too much about assigning roles and tasks. Just keep in mind that for a sophisticated brand strategy, the input of various personas is helpful. 

This is WHEN you should upgrade your brand strategy

Better today than tomorrow: now might be the right time to take your strategy and your brand to the next level. Generally speaking, there are three phases when businesses reach out to us:

You are a startup: If you’re starting out, you’ve never had a better opportunity to get your brand strategy right. This is the moment when you're fully motivated to launch the best brand ever, so make use of your energy and convert it into a powerful strategy for your startup. 

You want to enter the next growth phase: If your branding is already in place and you are longing to enter the next growth phase, an optimized brand strategy will smooth the way for your goal. Also, stakeholders and investors will be more than happy to see your business making progress. 

You are doing your yearly business check: If you are convinced that your brand strategy from five years ago still works, you should give it a second thought. In the review process, you should keep in mind not only external circumstances such as users, market development, etc. but also internal factors. When you’re going for a customer-first approach for instance, critically ask yourself if your customer support still makes users happy; if not, it might be helpful to adjust a few elements of your brand strategy.

To sum up, an optimized brand strategy is a must-have that you should go for whenever your resources allow for it. Keep in mind that there is always room for improvement. 

Visual with a quote from the chairman of Nike Phil Knight: You have to be creative, but what really matters in the long run is that the message means something. (...) You have to convey what the company is really all about.
Source: HBR

This is HOW to create a sophisticated brand strategy

You have to be creative, but what really matters in the long run is that the message means something. (...) You have to convey what the company is really all about. (...) (Source: Phil Knight, Nike CEO, founder, and chairman via HBR)

Nike’s CEO knows his stuff. If you want to stand out from the crowd, build an engaging brand, and attract prospects, you have to define your brand strategy in detail, keeping in mind your long-term goals, values, beliefs, visuals, and the way of putting across your message. Your brand as well as your brand message should be relevant to the audience and create impact. A solid brand strategy juggles all the aforementioned aspects. 

We at The Branx are more than happy to provide you with guidelines to create an engaging and sophisticated brand strategy: Check out our Brand Strategy Guide below to get step-by-step instructions on how to create a brand strategy that will create impact. 

In case you need any help or more input, feel free to reach out to us. So, let's knuckle down: Download our Brand Strategy Guide to take your business to the next level.

About the author

Tamara Hofer
Copywriter & Marketing Assistant

Tamara is our multi-lingual expert in copywriting and storytelling. She also helps with all digital marketing efforts.

Download our Guide

The must-have toolkit to create a unique startup brand
  • Determine the essence of your brand
  • Understand your users and competitive environment
  • Create your unique brand positioning
  • Define your brand personality
  • Identify the touchpoints to create brand awareness

Download the toolkit now and take the first step towards the next growth phase.

The must-have toolkit to create a unique startup brand

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