1. Conduct a needs assessment
A needs assessment helps businesses gain insight into what the potential customers need from your company and other important information about your competitors. It is also a way of examining whether or not you have a growing market for your brand.
Assess the current status of your target market before jumping right into the planning and development process of your brand strategy. Without understanding what your potential customers need, their interests and the reasons why they would patronise your brand, your company will not be able to provide a branding strategy that effectively captures the attention and meets the needs of your target market. You will find that the needs assessment can provide you with the information that will help your team come up with effective and practical strategies and informed decisions about your brand development.
For example, you can ask your team: Is the content, structure and the work culture of our company geared towards the needs of our target customers? It will help you to better understand the concerns of your customers and how your business needs to address their concerns in order to help them achieve their shopping objectives.
Include the following information in your needs assessment:
- Competitors in your area: What are the organisations in your area providing in terms of products or services? Get their basic information.
- Size of your target market: How many people in your area will have the need for the products or services your brand offers?
- Specific industry needs and customer demographics
2. Identify and structure the problem
Based on your needs assessment, it is advisable to identify the problem of why you are not yet achieving the level of brand recognition that you want to achieve. Determine its exact nature by exacting your branding goals and its barrier components.
Here’s an example of branding goal- and- barrier identification. Goal: I want to increase my brand’s recognition rate by 50% from the current 20%, among 100,000 potential customers in my area within 3 months. Barrier: My marketing team does not know where to begin.
Structuring the problem involves getting an in-depth understanding of the needs and the barriers to your brand strategy. It is a process of checking the facts and studying the relationships between the key components of your branding problem.
At this stage, you will ask the team if they really don’t know where to start. The questions to be asked, should include: is increasing brand recognition by 50% my real goal? Can I honestly say that my team has no prior knowledge about branding strategies? What are the real barriers that prevent my team from developing a branding plan?
Always chunk-up a big problem into small pieces. Instead of saying, “My team does not know how to begin”, you can explore your problem and challenge your assumptions. The most important question to ask at this stage is whether or not the problem you identified is just a symptom of a deeper problem –like lack of funds to conduct a survey, limited time given to collect customer demographics or perhaps poor communication between the members of the marketing team.
3. Identify brand options
Is competition important for you? How important is obtaining profit in your plan? Many small businesses want to develop strategies to:
- Boost profit
- Complete a branding strategy under a limited budget
- Increase branding recognition, customer satisfaction and approval ratings
- Increase market share.
But how will you determine a strategy? How will you utilise these secrets to build a successful brand strategy? Take into consideration the internal factors such as your company’s finances, human resources, partners and other internal matters. Study the external environmental factors such as customer demographics, needs, social and economic events, natural calamities and so on. If you do, you can easily identify the clear advantages of your brand strategy and use them to achieve your branding goals.
4. Implement strategic branding
After creating a strategic planning framework with your marketing team, it’s time to implement them.
Make things happen by following tips to effective branding implementation for your business.
- Make sure that the marketing team has the full and active support from management
- Implement effective communication techniques to ensure that every member of the team is on the same page
- Involve all employees in the branding strategies
- Do not rely on the marketing team alone. Ensure that all the members and employees of the organisation support your strategic branding plans.
5. Evaluate your strategy
Implement the aforementioned secrets to a successful brand strategy, then evaluate. The purpose of an evaluation is to determine the failures and successes of the strategies implemented. It helps the marketing team define the benefits and drawbacks, of a particular brand strategy and choose the correct one based on a number of different factors, such as the time, money and efforts allotted for a certain strategy. The results of the evaluation are useful in making decisions and policies as well as in creating a budget to implement a better plan.