Your brand is your promise to your employees and your customers. It’s how your customers perceive you as a company, product, or service and the trust they place in you to deliver on it.
It is therefore essential that every company has an effective and measurable inside-out brand strategy in place that reflects authentic brand value. Your brand strategy must be closely aligned to your business strategy, comprise brand purpose and specific, long-term goals to be achieved which distinguish your organisation from your rivals in the eyes of the customer via both brand development and brand positioning.
A strategic and professionally devised brand strategy should guide every approach in which you communicate and interact with your customers. Not only does it provide consistency for your customers, but it provides focused intent for your employees and provides a trusted blue print with a clear brand vision of value that ensures everyone is working towards the same objectives.
Brand strategy brings brand value
Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages together with the help of your organisations’ greatest asset, your people. Anchored to your brand promise, internal communications support your employees to activate and support the delivery of your brand promise. And they need to be engaged and willing to do so, making internal connection with your brand value your starting point for strength and the capabilities for doing business into the future.
Brand strategy arises from the core competencies of your business to drive change, innovate and adapt product development and services to changing markets. Just one example of a successful global brand strategy is Starbucks. With around 20,000 stores in 63 countries, the world’s most popular coffee company has made its mark from the US to Brazil to South Africa to China (a market many thought it would fail in because of its tea drinking culture). How does Starbucks maintain its brand value?
Firstly, the brand is built from the inside out, where every employee is a partner in the company, delivering a personalized interaction with customers. This is part of the brand strategy of making sure that every Starbucks feels like a local coffee shop, without losing brand consistency. In China, for instance, they introduced coffee-free drinks, and many stores in Asia feature seating arrangements to cater for larger groups. The brand was also one of the first to introduce a consumer-centric digital strategy (now duplicated by many other companies), with personalised rewards on the Starbuck’s app that include a free birthday coffee.
The end result – across the globe, the brand never feels like an impersonal large corporation and always delivers on their purpose, ‘to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time’.
Why your brand strategy starts with brand value
Mission, vision and brand values are closely related to your brand promise and your organisational culture. Your business is the sum part of both the brand’s archetype and the personality of the people who enact that brand strategy.
Effective management understands that dovetailing the business strategy to brand value creates a strong connection for success and meets both the personal desires of your individual team members and the needs of your organisation. When aligning professional and personal goals of team members with the needs of the organsation, the result is a committed and engaged employee base who act as advocates of the brand at every waking moment rather than just between their required hours of 9 and 5.
Corporate Website Branding
Bridging Brand strategy to brand value consists of:
Mission alignment: Linking brand purpose and the value you actually bring to the intention of the organisation’s mission which is a functional description of your business – it relates to your ability to make money while still ‘doing good’ in the world.
Vision sharing: A company vision is usually a lofty idea of where the company want to get to in the future. Internal communication will ensure every employee understands and aligns to the same vision and is supported to enact it every day.
Positioning statement: This is a unique space in the marketplace in which a business intends to operate. It is essential that brand strategy includes building employee understanding of brand purpose with clear messaging through a comprehensive employee communication and education plan.
Brand personality: To stay relevant, organisations must explore parity between their organisation’s culture with the brand’s intended personality in the marketplace.
Brand voice: Your brand is more than a product or services, it is a feeling delivered to the audience that is intangible yet can illicit human emotion and which separates powerhouse brands from the mediocre.
Visual expression: Reflects the brand personality using elements of sound, tone, colour and imagery.
To achieve brand value, you need to be sure that all your messaging is cohesive internally and externally. Ultimately, consistency contributes to brand recognition, which fuels customer loyalty. Yet, at the same time organisations are required to remain flexible to stay relevant.
All brands need a brand strategy that is aligned to the people strategy, and emanates from the inside, out. As you develop your own people, you transform employees into brand advocates. A clear brand strategy delivers brand value by increasing employee self-confidence, esteem and drive to create a culture that is lived through all employees and experienced by all customers.
Armed with a future-fit brand strategy and purpose-driven internal communication that nurtures brand advocacy you have the opportunity to engage your followers in fresh, new ways; form new partnerships, and find new attributes for your brand while connecting with new customers.