Often, prospective clients ask us how we arrive at our design choices, or how are we able to create a full brand identity in just three weeks during Brand Sessions. The answer always comes back to brand strategy.
Hillery, Four Fin’s Brand Strategist, gives us a glimpse into its importance.
What’s the difference between a brand strategy and a marketing strategy?
This is a great question that similarly goes with the classic “what’s the difference between branding and marketing?” inquiry I receive when telling people what I do. We wrote a great little number on this a while back if you need a refresher.
The strategy of a brand is the map guiding foundationally how the brand needs to show up in the world, based more on emotions than logic. This strategy is utilized by those responsible for bringing the brand to life visually and verbally (e.g., designers, copywriters, agencies, etc.) or through action (e.g., company management, employees, etc.). It’s truly the DNA for a brand, and although the components vary, they will often include the: brand concept, brand positioning, brand values, brand pillars, and brand personality traits.
A marketing strategy, on the other hand, is a map guiding functionally how and where the brand needs to show up in the world to effectively reach target audiences, based more on logic. It is utilized by those responsible for articulating the brand’s value to audiences (e.g., marketing managers, social media and other digital marketers/agencies, etc.). These strategies often contain customer segmentation, promotional tactics and timing, and evaluation.
Marketing strategies exist to help companies promote products and services, and are ultimately informed by the strategy of the brand .
What’s the risk of not having a strategy in place for your brand?
Imagine building a car without knowing what kind of engine will be in it. How would you design the body style? How big could it be? How would it perform? A basic metaphor to say that managing a brand without a clear strategy is a blinding endeavour.
If there is no framework for consistently showing up, several things happen:
- Audiences will have a harder time remembering your brand
- Internal alignment for both branding AND marketing activities become impossible
- More time and resources are wasted attempting to solve brand and marketing challenges every time they come up (which happens often)
How do you create a brand strategy?
In developing brand strategies, being an outside perspective for our clients is key. It provides us with 360 degrees of context without getting too deep into the weeds of their businesses.
At a high level, we look at the client’s business, competition, industry, and (often most importantly) customers. We understand the important factors influencing each of these aspects of our client’s brand and work to uncover the authentic space they can/already own. Capturing this ownable space are the grounds for building out the components of the brand’s strategy.
Have a strategy-related question or could your brand use an outside-in perspective?