Business strategy and brand strategy should work for each other. When the brand strategy is aligned with the business strategy, the best results are achieved. As a consequence, greater meaning is obtained, which is the key to standing out in the current competitive framework. Let’s think that when a brand creates meaning, it creates value for which people are willing to choose it.

Brands are made up of a series of decisions that reinforce a competitive position and show why they should matter to someone. Any company would have to be prepared to make every business decision (product, operations, employees, communication, sales, etc.) based on consistency with its brand strategy.

If a brand doesn’t have the ability to act as a strategic filter for business decisions – not just marketing or design – then it’s not building a brand.

Understanding the broad concept of what a brand means, branding is responsible for strategy development, brand creation, and brand management. Along these lines, the first step in the creation of a brand is the construction of a strategy, which often ends up being the great misunderstood one in favor of the final image that the brand projects.

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What is Branding?

At this time, The challenge for companies is to minimize the gap between brand identity (what they are) and image (what they project), directly influencing how they are perceived. This leads us to think that brand building always needs a solid strategic foundation. Here are three different approaches to brand strategy development:

  1. Branding by thinking

This should always be the main focus, where brand strategy is addressed in a rigorous and formal process of defining the brand’s DNA. Specifying this DNA makes it easier to find the essence of the brand in which the values and principles that each brand desires and represents are based. This orientation leads to understanding brand positioning as a direct result of everything that is done, reaching all aspects of the business. For this reason, it is developed with maximum breadth and business vision.

This is the usual approach provided by consulting firms or branding agencies, which are based on a holistic conception of what the brand represents.

  1. Branding by creativity

This is a more functional approach, directly linked to the creation of singular identities or communication campaigns that pursue instant notoriety. It does not mean that a previous strategy is not developed but, above all, it is focused on the projection of a certain image. In these cases, the brand positioning is linked to a specific action from a communicational point of view, which could be modified in the next campaign.

This is the most common approach used by communication or advertising agencies, under the principles of inform, persuade and remember.

  1. Branding by experience

Arguably, this approach encompasses the previous two, placing the customer as the most important thing in the brand. The experience is the direct result of the perception of the brand, and of the relationship between its promise and the value assigned to what is perceived. It does not depend on a specific moment or action, but rather on the set of signals that a person receives throughout the process (information, sale, use-consumption, after-sales).

Brands that provide experiences according to customer expectations achieve positive feelings that improve trust in them, being rewarded with loyalty and higher margins. This implies that they need to mutate to a “people centric” focus which, on the other hand, is not easy at all since in many cases it implies a total transformation of many businesses. This entails a change of mentality, a re-focus on the way they relate to the environment in their effort to achieve better connection and engagement with all their stakeholders.

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People Centric Corporate Culture

This converges with the need to humanize brands by providing them with feelings and emotions in order to strengthen connections with them. But let’s not forget that brand and emotions are two concepts that cannot be separated and that make up the same essence of branding. Increasing the emotional foundation in brand strategy makes it easier to realize that consumers are important to brands, that brands understand them, and care about how they feel.

And this brings us back to square one. Perhaps some may think that what identifies a brand is a name, a logo or a campaign. But the reality is that they only represent it. If we want to achieve a maximum degree of customer loyalty, there is no choice but to start at the beginning and always start from a solid brand strategy, linked to a solvent business strategy.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward