What Goes into Creating a Brand Strategy and Identity?

6 Essential Steps for Creating a Rock-Solid Brand Strategy and Brand Identity

By Karen TaylorNov 22 /2021

From coffee shops to software apps, consumers today have multiple options. They make their choices based on their perceptions of companies. Your goal is to create a business brand that is so compelling consumers view it as their preferred choice. Achieving this level of brand identity takes time, patience and discipline. But it’s well worth the effort.

When done right, your brand strategy supports your brand identity, and your brand identity creatively aligns with your brand strategy. They work together to strengthen the way consumers view you. As a result, they are the foundation for strong and robust digital marketing programs.

Here are six vital ways to strengthen your brand by creating a rock-solid brand strategy and brand identity.

Brand Identity and Brand Strategy

Establishing your brand requires a powerful and actionable brand strategy. Simply stated, brand strategy provides clarity around your vision, mission, audience, competitors, positioning, personality and messaging. It establishes who you are, what you do, and who you serve. This allows your organization to create a brand that accurately reflects your business and resonates with your target audience.

Your brand identity is the personality you create that defines your company, products and services. It includes your brand image, which is consumers’ perception of your company based on their interactions with you. Since customers can have a different opinion of your brand over time, it’s important to do what it takes to build and maintain a consistent brand identity.

3 Ways to Strengthen Your Brand Strategy

A brand strategy connects the heartbeat of your business to the needs of your audience to help create a strong brand identity. Here are three ways to make it stronger.

1. Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

What makes you different from the competition?

A USP is a specific benefit that establishes your business’s positioning among your competitors in the marketplace. It clarifies your leading benefit to your customers and illustrates how you solve their pain points. Forming a USP helps focus your marketing strategy and influence your messaging, content development and other marketing decisions.

At its core, a USP should quickly answer a potential customer’s most immediate question when they encounter your brand: “What makes you different from the competition?”

Follow these steps to create a meaningful and compelling USP:

  1. Make a list of your market differentiators
  2. Research your competitors' brands 
  3. Compare your most unique features against your audience's needs
  4. Narrow down your list and hone in on the best USP

2. Clarify Your Core Values

What do you stand for?

Every memorable brand stands for something, whether it’s improving customers’ experiences or saving the environment or something else. Your values define your company at its core. They are the central, underlying philosophy that guides businesses, employees, partners, clients and shareholders. A company’s culture must align with its core values to create a shared, enduring and positive environment for all these parties.

Consider using these steps to clarify your company's core values:

  1. Brainstorm your values among your employees
  2. Group the suggestions and eliminate the excess
  3. Distill your list to the fundamental elements
  4. Draft a core value statement expressed as promises or aspirational statements
  5. Communicate your values to employees and customers
  6. Operate your business according to your core values

3. Turn Your Team into Brand Ambassadors

How can you encourage your employees to support your brand?

Without the support of your employees, your branding efforts can only reach a minimal level of success. It’s when the whole team comes together to promote the business and your employees have all become effective brand ambassadors that your brand can truly shine. However, you can’t force them into this role. They must want to support your company. But you can encourage their support.

Here are some ideas on how to encourage your team members to support your company brand:

  1. Instill branding into your company culture: engage in a variety of team-building initiatives that inspire loyalty in your workers (such as fun perks, group activities and contests with branded prizes, like T-shirts, mugs and ballcaps)
  2. Incentivize employees to take action: encourage them to create user-generated content for the company in exchange for rewards (such as recognition, discounts or bonuses)
  3. Ask them to contribute ideas: when employees feel like their ideas are valued they’re more likely to participate willingly and actively
  4. Live your brand guidelines: employees will trust your brand messaging when they see you living it authentically. Being a good ambassador can be contagious.

3 Ways to Strengthen Your Brand Identity

Brand identity isn’t just a logo or an advertising campaign. It’s the way your brand presents itself to the marketplace and interacts with your audience. There’s no aspect of a company that’s not a part of its brand identity. It touches everything from your values to your product designs. Here are three ways to make it stronger.

1. Invest in a Memorable Logo

What visual image best telegraphs your brand message?

Some companies spend millions of dollars designing and launching new logos. They make this investment because they understand the power of instant brand recognition — think Apple, Nike and Netflix, to name a few. You don't have to make such a big investment to have a better logo. It just takes a little work to create the perfect image that your target audience will recognize, remember and respond to.

Here are some of the steps on the path to creating a great logo:

  1. Bring together your team: include at least one designer and start brainstorming ideas
  2. Research your competitors: you’re not stealing their ideas, you’re making sure to set yourself apart from them
  3. Narrow down your preferred style: choose a style as a starting point, such as retro, classic, minimalist or modern
  4. Choose your colors: keep your brand color palette simple by choosing one or two dominant colors
  5. Select your font style from the four main styles: serif, sans serif, script and display
  6. Hire a professional for input: create your perfect image based on these ideas

2. Create Compelling Key Messaging

Is your brand messaging unique and compelling?

Messaging is the key to achieving impact in marketing. The right messages are unique, memorable, relatable and compelling. They represent the essence of what you wish to communicate to your target audiences. As a result, they need to reflect your organizational mission, business plans, goals and objectives, and brand strategy. Key messages need to be carefully planned and prepared, so they are robust and widely applicable for the organization’s many communication needs.

Think of your messaging as a house. It needs a top-most main message (a roof), a range of supporting messages to sustain the structure and strong foundational messages.

  1. Key umbrella message: this is an overarching message or umbrella statement about your company. It needs to convey your primary message, so it provides a guiding theme to keep your marketing campaigns on point.  
  2. Supporting messages: these should cover a wide range of messaging needs — from preempting marketplace skepticism to delivering compelling calls to action to thought leadership statements.
  3. Foundational messages: these are proof points that back up your key message and supporting messages. They could include facts, statistics and customer quotes, for example.  


3. Create a Brand Guidelines Booklet

What is your look and feel?

Getting and keeping consumers that like and trust you requires consistency of thought, purpose, and action over time. Conversely, small discrepancies in brand identity can erode customer relationships. One way to support your brand is by creating actionable brand guidelines. A comprehensive brand book can provide insight that will guide every aspect of your brand identity, including web design, content creation, social media posts, logo design and size, voice and tone, and product packaging design.

Use these tips to begin creating a brand book that will guide your organization’s brand position:

  1. Be specific about your mission, values and target audience
  2. Share comprehensive rules for your brand design, including logo, colors, fonts and photography. Logo details should include placement, variations for different platforms and channels, colors, sizes and proportions.
  3. Define your expectations for language, style, tone of voice, social media presence, emails and grammatical preferences. For example, is your tone of voice professional, logical, emotional, humorous or something else. Social media guidelines should include your posting types, times for posting and messaging styles.

Start Strengthening Your Brand Strategy and Identity

These six steps can help you on your brand-building journey. They offer a great start to a stronger brand strategy and identity, which you can supplement with additional, advanced steps, such as social media marketing, user experience (UX) interfaces and campaign management.

Every coordinated step you take toward building and sustaining a powerful brand will amplify your company in the marketplace — where consumers will have the chance to get to know you and choose you as a preferred option.

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Karen Taylor
The Author

Karen Taylor

Karen Taylor is a professional content marketing writer with experience writing for over 100 companies and publications. Her experience includes the full range of content marketing projects — from blogs, to white papers, to ebooks. She has a particular knack for creating content that clarifies and strengthens a company’s marketing message, and delivers optimum impact and maximum results. Learn more at karentaylorwrites.com.