It is the era of brands and, by extension, brand management and strategy. Gone are the days when only large fashion houses and celebrities figured as big brands. Today, with social media becoming so vital to our lives, anything and everything is a brand. Everyone, from your local home-grown makeup artist to the social media star who has a massive following, can become a brand. All you need is a consistent approach and a solid branding strategy.
Let us begin with the basics.
What is branding strategy?
A brand strategy is a step-by-step, detailed plan which elaborates the steps to be undertaken in order to create awareness, appreciation, and preference for a brand. It is a fluid, ever-changing framework consisting of both short-term and long-term goals. The intangible end goal of a good brand strategy is increased identification of the brand. The tangible end goal is usually attracting more customers to a business or followers for, say, an influencer.
When coming up with a suitable brand strategy, very simple yet important questions need to be asked. What are the brand's core objectives? Who is the target audience? Which brands is your brand competing against? How does your brand measure success?
The answers to these fundamental questions form the basis of any branding strategy.
In this era of social media, with every company and every other person having turned themselves into a brand, a very pertinent question is: Why aren't there more big-ticket brands out there? Why hasn't the number of successful brands exploded like it perhaps should have. It all comes down to having a well-thought-out, consistent brand strategy.
Inconsistency and lack of clarity in brand strategy continue to hold back a lot of brands. Creating a name and space for yourself, especially in a world as crowded as ours, take time, patience, and consistency.
Consistency influences how people react to your brand and affects your brand's connection. It defines what the audience will come to expect from your brand. When you keep changing what the target audience should expect from you, you put a dent in the relationship. So, the connection the audience felt with your brand will eventually break.
Now that we understand not only what branding strategy is but how an inconsistent strategy negatively affects the brand, let's look at the top mistakes you can make when it comes to branding.
Top Four Branding Mistakes
Forgetting what your brand stands for
It is natural for a brand to evolve. The market changes, new trends emerge, there could be a shift in your perceived target audience, and so on. The world, after all, is a very dynamic place. But evolution doesn't have to mean a drastic change. Change doesn't have to make you lose sight of what your brand stands for. Even if you are implementing a new campaign, it doesn't mean you have to compromise on your brand identity or play with your connection to the audience.
For example, the famous clothing brand GAP once tried to change its logo. This was a part of their plan to create a modern image. But instead of driving across this point, the change just caused major confusion and distress among its customer base. Turns out their target audience was so used to the iconic logo that the change didn't sit well with them.
Over-reliance on trends
It is very easy to get swept by trends, especially in today's world of social media. A very simple example of this is the "trending reels" on Instagram. When it seems like everyone is making that one trending reel and grabbing all the eyeballs, one feels naturally compelled to do the same with your own brand account. When you find yourself doing something similar, it is important to take a step back and ask yourself some basic branding questions. Does this new trend suit my brand? Will my target audience connect with it? Will it up my engagement?
Look at it this way, do you change your entire wardrobe every time a new trend comes along? No, right? You assess what works for you and take a very balanced approach. This balanced approach is how you can navigate the ever-changing world of trends when it comes to your brand.
Connecting with the incorrect things
It is very critical to have clarity on what aspects of your brand the audience connects with and guarding that connection with your life! After all, a successful brand connection is one of the most important things out there. It is tempting to just put your logo out there on anything and everything. While grabbing eyeballs is always important, you need to keep in mind how your moves are perceived by your target audience. Less can be more when done correctly.
To highlight this point, let's talk about one of the most successful Disney shows, Hannah Montana. The show was all the rage, especially among the adolescent and preteen demographic in the US. Understandably keen to spread the word about the show far and fire, Disney launched Hannah Montana-branded cherries in the US market in 2009. But what relation does Hannah Montana have with cherries? Nothing at all. Even the most loyal fans couldn't make sense of it and saw this as just a way to mint even more money. Projecting yourself as a money-hungry organization can never, ever work.
Not understanding your target
An inherent understanding of your target audience is essential if you want to be successful. If you don't understand your niche or target market, you will try to connect with as many demographics as you can. That can be a recipe for disaster. The only way to cultivate a strong voice for your brand is by listening to the target audience. You can create the personality of your brand only when you understand your target audience. When you know what they stand for, what issues they connect with, and what they are irked by, you are able to use those answers to create something with a true audience connection.
We know how to set your business up for success and recognition
Today, a business can make its service or product reach the masses exponentially by using the correct branding techniques. So, it goes without saying how important branding is for any company in the new age. To ensure you get it right, you should reach out to a branding agency like Thrust. The experts here know how to set your business up for success and recognition - not just with branding but also with other services like design, content, marketing, and much more!Request a Quote