Like most things in the business world, there are many ways to slice and dice the same document. However, when developing a Brand & Marketing Strategy, there are ten fundamental components that I feel should always be included. Broken down into the Brand Phase and the Marketing Phase, these are:
Tactical Marketing Plan (Roadmap covering the who, what, when, and how of what you should be doing over the time period in focus to achieve your goals)
FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT MARRIAGE OF BRAND & MARKETING
To me, a Brand Strategy and a Marketing Strategy should always co-exist because you really can’t have one without the other.
A Brand Strategy explores all of the supporting factors that influence how you do business. It unpacks the essence of who you are, what you do, what you stand for, what sets you a part, what you value, who you serve and how you serve them.
A Marketing Strategy explores all of the specific actions you’re going to take to promote your business and achieve your sales goals. A marketing strategy can be created at a brand-level or a campaign-level. At the brand level the overall purpose is to raise awareness and promote the business as a whole. At a campaign level, you focus on a specific product, service or event and develop a strategy for just that.
Trying to develop a brand or a campaign-level strategy without first doing the leg-work involved in a brand strategy would be a major shot in the dark. It’s only through understanding all of the components of your brand and your audience, that you can successfully choose the right media channels, marketing messages and overall approach to go for.
Now that's out of the way, let's explore both aspects and dive into what’s included across each of the ten components…
BRAND BIO & TAG-LINE
Your brand bio is like the elevator pitch for your business – or in today’s world – your Facebook profile. In a nutshell sentence or two it conveys who you are and what you do. It uses key pieces of language that appear throughout your marketing spaces and immediately give a sense of your brand’s personality.
Alongside the brand bio is sometimes a tag-line. Usually no more than 5-6 words long, the tag-line is a short phrase your brand becomes known by. Almost like a synonym for your brand name. Think, McDonalds “I’m Lovin’ It” or (for the Kiwis in the house) The Warehouse, “You’ll Never Buy Better.”
BRAND VALUES & VIBE STATEMENTS
Brand values and vibe statements help to explain how your business sees the world. They dive into the personality of your business, speak to the heart of what you find the most important and how you want to be seen or understood by those around you.
You brand values should never just be 3-5 vague words about things you find important like, “Respect” or “Trust”. They should be 3-5 very carefully chosen ideas. Each idea is represented by a word or two (using language that aligns with who you are) and paired with a sentence to explain what you mean.
A vibe statements is usually a short paragraph that expands upon your bio to incorporate your how. How do you do what you do? Are you fun and vivacious, or poised and elegant? Do you bring the noise, or are you a safe haven for the mind?
BRAND MISSION & VISION
You’ve likely seen and heard these 1000 times over, but they do still have their place. Mission and vision statements help to explain why you’re in business, what motivates you and what sort of legacy or impact you want your business to have. Mission and vision statements support your quest in capturing the hearts of your audience because they address the bigger picture.
KEY MESSAGES & POINTS OF DIFFERENCE
Sometimes also referred to as USP’s (unique selling propositions), your key messages are the succinct sets of sentences that tell the world why your business should be their one and only choice. They highlight the traits that make you different from your competitors, the offerings that are exclusive to you and only you, the things you have achieved that are pretty spectacular, or the slightly different way you operate that makes your fans go, “heck yes!”
Although a single business can attract a multitude of people from many different walks of life, often there’s still a certain type of person that they ultimately want to attract, or who they envision their product or service being the perfect fit for. Drilling down on this person to understand all that we can about them is where the client avatar comes in.
With a client avatar you draw upon research, data insights, feedback and what you already know about your audience to create a person who fits the profile of who you’re trying to attract. You give them a name, an occupation, a lifestyle, a set of habits, a favourite hang-out, a challenge, a purchasing mindset etc. You define who they are at a demographic AND a psychographic level. From there on out, when you speak to your audience, instead of trying to speak to the masses, you now speak to “Michael” or “Casey” or whoever it is that you have created.
This one is often overlooked, but to me it is FUNDAMENTAL. After all, delivering great customer service IS a marketing tactic. Do good by your clients and they’ll not only come running back for more, they’ll sing your name from the rooftops.
While a competitor analysis can be a whole thing in its own right, a mini one at the very least is important to have in a marketing strategy. When approaching this I often look at it from two angles:
1) Who are the local or direct businesses you have that clients legitimately consider when seeking out products or services like yours? Consider the businesses in your area, or the businesses that sit within a similar quality and price bracket.
With these businesses, the analysis is designed to help you recognise the differences between your business and theirs so that you can speak to these in your marketing and help your audience with their decision-making
2) Who are the “best in the biz” businesses that do what you do and are your inspiration?
With these businesses, the analysis is designed to help you recognise what your target audience are going nuts for in your space. Observe what these businesses are doing that makes them exceptional, and take note of the marketing styles and content are they using to attract such high levels of interest. Although we should never copycat, this type of research can be helpful to get a sense of where your industry is at and where you can take your business.
Now we’ve got the Brand phase sussed, let’s dive into the Marketing phase. This is where we talk details and actions.
Goals within a marketing strategy should align with the overall focus of the strategy. If you’re creating a brand-level marketing campaign, then your goals will likely be related to awareness and consideration for example, achieving a certain number of new leads or email sign-ups. If you’re creating a campaign-level campaign, then your goals will likely be related to sales outcomes, and the number of products or tickets sold.
When writing your goals, always remember the golden rule is to keep them SMART. Know what resources (time, money, energy) you have available and be realistic about what’s achievable.
Developing your goals helps you to know what success looks like so that when you come to setting the roadmap you know where it is you’re going.
AUDIT & SWOT ANALYSIS
A SWOT analysis helps you to identify where you should direct your energy, and what proactive tactics or actions you should employ avoid to try and mitigate any possible curve balls that could come your way. Within the scope of the campaign, define the internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats that can or may impact your ability to achieve your goals.
At some stage of the strategy development process, an audit of everything you’re currently doing is vital. Look at how well you’ve been able to execute on each thing, and what’s genuinely moving the needle. If you don’t know where you’re going right and where you’re wasting valuable time, your tactical plan will fail to deliver.
TACTICAL MARKETING PLAN
Now we get to the fun part. The tactical marketing plan is where we bring ALL of the insights we’ve gained and use them to define the marketing roadmap.
We choose what tactics and channels we’re going to use (these can span everything from paid ads to experiential events, blogs and street signage).
We explain our vision or creative direction for each tactic. Are we using video or images? Are we drawing upon a key word or idea?
We choose when we will commence each tactic, how frequently or for how long.
We choose who is going to be responsible for what. What will be kept in-house and what will be contracted out?
We determine the budget. What do we have to spend and where is the best place to spend it? Where is it needed most?
Depending on the size and scope of the strategy, the tactics may be broken down to align with the phases of the sales funnel: Awareness, Consideration, Conversion and Loyalty.
Phew. It’s a lot, right? Preparing a Brand and Marketing Strategy can be a real undertaking, but I can guarantee the results are worth it.
The level of insight achieved from the Brand Phase alone can be game-changing. Add to that the confidence gained by the Marketing Phase, knowing that everything you’re doing and putting your energy into is for a legitimate reason. All of your tactics are aligned not only to your audience, but also to YOU and where you’re at, where your strengths lie, and what’s going to get you to your goals in the most effective way.
Marketing strategies are my JAM! I love the way that challenge me to think creatively and analytically all at the same time, and the way they provide such epic clarity to an area that can sometimes feel a little grey. If you know your business could benefit from a Brand and Marketing Strategy, but the thought of trying to hone in on all of this yourself is #toohardbasket – let’s connect. Check out my strategy offerings, and book a time for your biz.