Why you Need an Integrated Brand Strategy

Why it’s critical to have an integrated Brand Strategy to Create a Truly Resonant Brand

Effective and successful Brand Strategy can be defined as an integrated and long term mix of business cases, objectives and holistic strategies that are aligned across the business, operational and marketing functions to promote superior performance, resonant perceptions, an unassailable market position and present a compelling proposition through optimised business and technological capability and brand marketing techniques.

It’s the process of defining your brand’s purpose and imperatives like your proposition and principles but it should also underpin how your business operates to reflect these ideas and promises and it should direct efforts to meet these objectives. Overall business performance is therefore attributable to strategic tools defined through the brand strategy. Certainly, it goes beyond your brand, logo and colourways of your company because these things do not tell, sell or deliver anything to your customer. This is behind the idea of a resonant brand, a brand that is believable, compelling and enduring. Instinctively, one can grasp that the foregoing cannot be anchored by purely creative and visual aspects of branding.

 

Beyond Perception, Underpinning Performance and Bolstering Brand Power

Brand strategy must move beyond perception to performance with a long-term plan that incorporates capability as well as brand building. In highly competitive operating environments, it is critical to carve out a market position that is not easily copied or mimicked. This is what an integrated brand strategy can help your business to achieve because to be effective, it must be long term and align the objectives of business and marketing functions.

Presenting an offer compelling to the most lucrative target segments requires an in-depth understanding of your audience, but how can this information be come by without a clear joining up of what your business is promising as its offering and benefits with who and how. Important as this is a key determinant of operational and financial performance.

A Winning Brand Strategy is about Your Brand & ……

You’d be wrong to consider developing a brand strategy work carried out purely by a creative agency but you wouldn’t be alone. Brand strategies have traditionally been seen as a byproduct of marketing but it is real strategic work that should touch not only on everything that is important to your business but also on its aspirations, growth and ability to manage and adopt change. This is why it needs to be seen and implemented as an integrated brand strategy that builds and maintains a resonant brand in a holistic way.

Your business’ brand strategy should move in lockstep with your business objectives, and as such must align with your people, processes, operations and technological plans and objectives. Making changes to any of the preceding without reference to the brand strategy is the reason why so many business change projects fail, but also why brands lose their resonance and the brand purpose-promise fit breaks down.

The Best Approach to Defining your Brand Strategy

We’ll look at Brand Personalisation in detail in another post but for the purposes of this post, in order to illustrate why an integrated brand strategy is superior to any other kind, it’s useful to consider the following:

if your brand were a person, who would it be, what would it say and how would he behave? What does this person hold dear? What would they never do, and what would they stand for?  In other words, what is the character of the person?

What have they done, what will they do, what do they hope to do? How do they compare to their friends and people they know in knowledge or kindness or aptitude? In other words, what’s their history and story?

What do they struggle with? What are their aspirations? To whom do they relate the most and who relates to them? What does one get from associating with them? Why would one seek them out? What can they help you with better than anybody else? How do they make you feel when you go to them for help? Are they quick and easy-going? Are they thorough and do they add untold value? Do they do one thing and then you find they can help you with something else you had not thought of? If you need them to come quick, do they come on a scooter or in a car? Do you care more about the environment or about speed?

Holistic Brand

This is what your brand is like – an integral and whole entity with intrinsic values, aspirations and always building a capability to achieve those dreams that transcend the work done for promotion. When you put it that way, it becomes intuitive that brand strategy does not belong just in creative agencies, specialist marketing teams or business consulting teams standalone, any more than your human would be fine with just a dentist but not a doctor, or a hairdresser but not clothes.

A whole person needs them all and a whole brand needs a multidisciplinary team to create an integrated strategy. Strategy cannot be implemented without a plan, capacity or capability and a brand strategy is the blueprint to make things happen.

If it wasn’t before, it should now be  clear that you must consider your brand:

Purpose, Principles, Perception, Personality, Position, Proposition, Promise and Promotion.

In the next Brand Strategy Post, we’ll look at some ideas and a process for defining an integrated brand strategy.

Chinenye Ikwuemesi
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