March 6, 2024

Do I really need a brand strategy? Yes, and here’s why

Many businesses question the importance of brand strategy when growing or scaling their business. Here's a deep dive into why a solid brand strategy is essential to your business’s long-term success.

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Over the past decade, we’ve enjoyed collaborating with remarkable companies, but on some occasions, our initial interactions haven’t started as smoothly as we would like.

These scenarios look like this:

Prospective Client: “Hi, we need a new copy for our website.”

Brave Tale Team: “Understood. Could we begin by looking at your brand strategy?”

Prospective Client: “We don’t have one. Can’t you just re-write the site and add some new images?”

Brave Tale Team: “No, because we don’t waste people’s money ”

While some prospects may hesitate, astute clients ask the simple question—

Why is a brand strategy so important?

Consider this:

  • Fiction writers craft character backstories before drafting a novel.
  • Academic researchers conduct extensive literature reviews and craft outlines before composing their papers.
  • Movie directors develop storyboards before filming begins.

Similarly, seasoned marketers establish a brand strategy before mapping out funnels or developing collateral.

Marketing without a brand strategy is like sailing without a rudder. It’s possible but hardly optimal, leading to wasted time and energy in reaching your desired destination.

The absence of a strategy breeds misalignment within your team, creates bottlenecks in your sales pipelines, and results in missed growth opportunities and revenue due to disjointed initiatives that undermine your business. So, yes, it’s essential!

What’s the purpose of a brand strategy?

A brand strategy gives your business the clear direction to build a sustainable and scalable marketing machine to attract ideal leads, increase sales, and drive business growth.

It’s a powerful tool to articulate your business vision, identify your target audience, and build the narrative that defines your purpose and clarifies your brand’s core message. It also has the power to foster team alignment around a shared objective and drive tactical, results-oriented marketing initiatives that fuel business growth.

From a more practical perspective, your brand strategy makes content creation and general marketing execution much easier in the long run. Your marketing and sales teams will be all the happier to have one, and any creative worth their salt will only work with you if they can use it too!

What should a brand strategy include?

A comprehensive brand strategy will include internal and external messaging guidelines alongside visual identity documents, providing a 360° view of your brand’s style and unique voice, including:

Internal Brand Messaging

At the core, this message should give your internal team a sense of your company culture, your promises and expectations of your team members, and your high-level goals for the business’s growth trajectory.

Internal messaging should include:

  • Your business’s vision, mission, and values.
  • Your value proposition
  • Key delighters that make your brand unique.

From our experience, creating internal messaging creates a process for aligning teams on a common purpose and set of goals. It has often led to deeper discussions beyond marketing, including business development and operational innovations. Most importantly, this aspect of the brand strategy allows teams to assess where their business has been and identify where it wants to go next.

External Brand Messaging

External brand messaging defines how you showcase your brand to your desired audience through words and visuals. Unlike internal brand messaging, which focuses on who you are, external branding should focus on how you help your audience solve an issue and win!

Of course, your mission will inform this messaging, but it’s good to create a strategy that digs deep into your audience’s point of view regarding your products or services.

External messaging should include:

  • Customer Personas: Personas allow content creators to develop materials with a particular person in mind. This creates a level of specificity that optimizes engagement and makes your brand stand out.
  • A Brand Story: A short narrative that outlines your audience’s wants and challenges and clearly describes the solutions you provide can inform how you tell that story across all channels.
  • Headline Options: Headlines and tags help capture the essence of your brand, acting as valuable prompts for your content creation team.
  • Talking Points: Outline vital elements about your business’s approach to work, client or customer relationships, etc.
  • Your Brand Voice: Defining your tone of voice is very helpful for anyone tasked with creating content for your business on an ongoing basis. Again, the brand voice should echo that of your audience.
  • Visual Identity Guidelines: A picture is worth a thousand words, and your fonts add another dimension to your words. Your brand’s visual identity is a key component of your overall messaging strategy, which is why it should be included in your brand strategy.

It may take some time to develop all elements of your brand strategy. But, the development process provides an excellent opportunity for your team to take stock of their accomplishments and set the course for where they want to go next.

Creating a brand strategy — when should I outsource?

Many early-stage companies build their initial guidelines in-house. We’ve conducted Brand Edits that actually recommend that a company develop its brand strategy in-house because outsourcing is not feasible from a logistics or financial point of view. These recommendations usually come when a business needs to grow more to have a team member responsible for marketing initiatives.

From our experience, using outside consultants is only helpful once a company grows large enough to support an in-house marketing person or team who can execute the strategy. More often than not, the need to outsource comes at a point when the business’s existing branding and messaging require a significant update or full overhaul.

Hiring an outside consultant offers many benefits:

  1. You get a fresh perspective on what you’re doing well and what you could do better.
  2. It allows key stakeholders to share their vision with a neutral third party that can facilitate constructive conversations that will align teams on a common goal for the business’s marketing initiatives and even business development.
  3. Much of the “heavy lifting” for strategy and content creation can be done by specialists while your team focuses on the ongoing execution of your marketing plan to grow and scale your business.

When looking for a consultant, try to find someone focused on your business objectives and the wants and needs of your audience.

A good consultant will balance capturing your unique brand voice and addressing your clients’ or customers’ needs and wants. A lousy consultant will sell you back to you with messaging that “fluffs your feathers” but won’t deliver results….so be aware!

How do I find a good brand strategist?

We recommend shopping for a brand strategist or marketing consultant. Talk to a few and consider the questions they ask you on your initial call — do they ask about your customer base, business objectives, or previous experiences with marketers?

It’s also a good idea to find out if they only focus on strategy, or if they provide content creation as well. Generally, people with some kind of creative background will better understand what your marketing team will need in terms of content and execution.

And remember, this is a personalized service, so there’s no harm in looking around for a person who feels like a good fit.

The power of an effective brand strategy

Brand strategies are valuable for your marketing, sales, and operational teams. Creating a compelling brand story is an illuminating process that provides clarity and direction to drive business growth and help you scale. The time and energy invested in creating your brand strategy will pay off in dividends moving forward. It’s an essential ingredient for your ongoing success.

To learn more about Brave Tale’s unique strategy-building process, Book a Fit Call

Kelly MacDonald

Kelly established Brave Tale to combine her love of the written word with her passion for entrepreneurship. As a strategist and copywriter, Kelly helps turn your business vision into messaging that’s true to your brand.

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