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Build a Strong Brand Strategy

By Josh Mendenhall / Creative Strategy, Brand Protection

Picture the newest Apple product. Now, you’ve probably envisioned something clean, sleek, and cutting edge. Next, think of the last Nike commercial you saw—can you feel the inspiration coursing through you all over again? While both of these brands have a strong reputation in your mind, you connect to them in entirely different ways. The reason? Deliberate brand strategy.

The Apple logo is so recognizable and loved that customers proudly don it on their vehicles, laptops, and water bottles. Within seconds of a Nike commercial starting, viewers immediately know the iconic sportswear company produced it. Just seeing Coca-Cola’s signature red color and font is enough to make many Americans crave a Coke.

These companies have understood who they are, who their customer is, and how to meaningfully connect the two. They’ve been aggressive in protecting their brand and consistently communicating their brand identity.

While we can’t guarantee every brand will become a household name as prominent as Apple or Nike, every company does have the potential to leverage its brand strategy to resonate with consumers and tell a powerful brand story.

What is brand strategy, and how can I do it right?

Your brand strategy is your company’s approach to building and maintaining a brand that resonates with consumers. Brands may achieve this goal through various means, but the core goal remains the same: creating and communicating a strong, familiar brand that fosters a loyal customer base.

Brand strategy starts with brand creation

The first step of brand strategy is to mindfully create a brand. We don’t mean creating a product or business—a brand isn’t just a company, logo, color, or name. A brand is how people perceive your company, logo, or name. It’s the implicit feelings wrapped around your product.

To create a brand that resonates with consumers, you should first understand who you are as a brand, who you want to be as a brand, and what your products stand for. You should also seek to understand your customer, what’s important to them, and why they need your product.

Next, develop a brand system

Once you’ve established your brand, the next step in your brand strategy should be developing a brand system to ensure you’re successfully communicating your brand identity and values. One way to develop this system is by creating what we call a kit of parts full of different elements—written, visual, and graphic—that reinforce your brand. This may include iconography, typography, voice, colors, logos, and more.

It’s also best practice to provide a style guide, photo guide, brand guide, or other similar established guidelines for anyone who will be creating assets for or representing the brand. These guides should identify each piece of the brand and how they should be executed. Make sure that all employees, partners, agencies, and sellers follow these guidelines.

Then, keep your brand protected

It’s important to protect your carefully crafted brand on ecommerce marketplaces by avoiding unauthorized sellers who misrepresent you. Incorporating brand protection into your brand strategy and keeping your company tightly managed across all marketplaces will help you maintain your brand’s image and reliability.

Unfortunately, if you’re not on major marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.com, someone else is probably representing you there, and doing a poor job. Like we touched on earlier, your brand is how people perceive your company—and it’s difficult for that perception to be strong when your message, prices, products, and customer service are inconsistent across channels.

Balance consistency and creativity in your brand strategy

As part of your brand strategy, be consistent with your brand’s style, look, and feel. Everything you create, publish, or sell communicates a message, and you want your message to be consistent. (Spoiler alert: the more sellers you have across channels, the harder consistency becomes.)

Your packaging needs to tell the same story in every place your product is sold, whether that be brick-and-mortar stores or online. Your online listings across marketplaces, social media posts, and marketing materials should reflect the same tone and voice. Your typography, colors, and graphic design should be so consistent that consumers can immediately recognize the content they see as yours—the same way the Apple logo immediately communicates a polished, high-tech vibe.

Even while maintaining consistency, you can be creative. It’s possible to veer a bit outside your brand’s lane, so to speak, without getting off at the exit. There are always opportunities to have fun with your brand by experimenting and testing to see if new ideas resonate with the viewer. Doing so helps keep your brand from becoming stale.

How to know if your brand strategy is working

At the end of the day, you know your brand strategy has been successful when you’ve connected with your consumer to the point that they understand and recognize your brand and what it stands for.

In part, this means leveraging your brand elements to forge an emotional connection with viewers. People are attached to brands that appeal to their emotions. Even seemingly small decisions, like your font choice and color palette, invoke emotions in your customers. This emotional connection is key to establishing loyalty and differentiating your brand and product from similar ones on the market.

A successful brand strategy also means your brand is familiar and recognizable. You’ll know you’ve executed your brand strategy successfully when a customer briefly sees your advertising, listings, or packaging and immediately knows that it’s from your brand.

The ultimate goal is for customers to share your brand without you asking them to do so. The fact that some Apple customers put Apple stickers on the back of their cars, for example, is a testament to Apple’s extremely successful strategy. You know you’ve built a successful brand when customers love your brand, believe in it, and share it with others organically.

How Pattern boosts your brand strategy

PopSockets, a Pattern partner that sells phone accessories, is a great example of a company that’s nailed the brand strategy. PopSockets’ content isn’t just informative; it evokes fun, happy, and playful emotions. This branding is consistent across all channels and marketplaces. As a brand, PopSockets is aware of people’s need to express their individuality and helps them do so with its products. PopSockets’ products and content are immediately recognizable, and customers remain loyal.

At Pattern, we help brands like PopSockets save time and increase sales by helping them form and execute their brand strategy in a consistent way across channels. We can help your brand develop a brand voice and style that will resonate with customers and turn them into loyal brand ambassadors. These changes won’t just build a loyal following; they’ll also accelerate your traffic, conversion, and profit on ecommerce marketplaces around the globe. Interested in learning more? Get in touch today.

More Resources
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Selling on Walmart: Why You Should & Where to Start