brand strategy checklist

Four Key Benefits of an Effective Brand Strategy

by | May 4, 2021

Imagine yourself at the helm of a newly established natural food brand, ready to launch your product. The large bulk of your business development is in the rearview mirror and you feel confident in your go-to-market approach with a sales strategy in place and initial retailers secured. You’re now preparing to expand your footprint and conjuring visions of the red numbers on your investment spreadsheet slowly transforming to black.

Relish the thought for a moment, but don’t fully submerge yourself into the daydream; it’s time to chart a course to establish your brand strategy.

Before diving into some key elements for an effective brand strategy, let’s go over a quick definition. Simply put, your brand strategy articulates who you are and what you stand for as a business; it conveys your personality and focuses on your long-term goals.

Perhaps even more enticing is a description of why brand strategy matters: when successful, it can keep your consumers interested and engaged (roughly translated to frequent purchasers) so retailers are incentivized to stock shelves with your product. Rinse, repeat.

Ready to get back to the fantasy of your product traversing along an assembly line to be packed, shipped and placed onto the waiting shelves of eager retailers? Turn that dream into reality with some crucial considerations for your broader brand strategy checklist.

1. Do Your Research But Follow Your Gut Too

To get to an effective brand strategy, you need to rely on both intuition and research.

Research is necessary to analyze how your brand or product is perceived and allows you to assess what changes or refinements are needed to achieve your goals. A few research questions to consider may include:

  • What market need or problem does my product address?
  • What does my brand stand for and how do I tell that story in a compelling way?
  • Who is my target consumer and what matters to them?
  • Who are my competitors and what do I offer that they can’t or don’t?
  • Why should anyone care?

Intuition is critical because it creates a space to be bold and take risks allowing you to find meaning and connection with your audience on a deeper level. Making a purchase can be an emotional experience, so having a strong brand strategy can help people feel good supporting your business or product. It’s just another reminder of the art and science of marketing management.

2. Put Yourself in the Mindset of Your Consumer

Natural food brands can be guilty of talking in an echo chamber. It’s not uncommon to get caught up in the minutia of describing every product function, component and differentiation point that ultimately the benefits to the end consumer get lost.

While those details do matter in the decision-making process, be sure you frame your advantages in a way that demonstrates the potential gain the consumer will receive from choosing your product.

Don’t talk at your audience about all the ways in which your product is great, communicate to them about what matters in their lives in a way that inspires them to buy it.

3. Appeal to the Emotions of Your Audience

Your brand strategy should be centered on the needs of your audience and tap into their emotions and desires.

A trip to the store or spontaneous Amazon search is a quick reminder that there are countless numbers of products to choose from and even once-niche options are quickly becoming commoditized. To stand out in a sea of choices, you need to stay connected to the emotional needs of the consumer and not focus solely on the transaction.

Yes, people buy beverages when they are thirsty and soap to get clean but they also want to be nourished, feel confident and a whole host of intangible benefits that impact their purchase decisions.

Envision a scenario where your product is at a higher price point than your closest competitor but your packaging results in less waste. The feeling of making a positive contribution of any scale – in this case, doing something good for the community and planet – can quell consumer hesitation overpaying a premium price point.

4. Invest in Creative Brand Guidelines

An effective brand strategy must include consistent messaging and a consistent look & feel for long-term recognition. It’s not just about being nice to look at; it’s about creating familiarity with your brand.

While it’s not unheard of to develop a logo at the onset of your development – sometimes as soon as you’ve landed on a product concept or name – you have the opportunity to create something greater when your brand strategy and position have come full circle.

Great visual identities go beyond logos. Your creative brand guidelines should be a complete blueprint for any visual representation of your brand and product. This includes colors, fonts & typefaces, icons, artistry and photography styles, and more. As you develop and refine your brand visuals, continue to ask yourself: “Does this convey who we are and what we stand for as a business?”

More questions to ask as you’re conceptualizing how your visual identity delivers your brand strategy:

  • What visuals are my competitors using and how can I differentiate in a way that stands out?
  • Are there colors or images often associated with similar products to mine?
  • How can I use colors and visuals to evoke emotion?
  • Is there open visual space to disarm?

Building an effective brand strategy takes time and requires the discipline of continual assessment to determine what’s working and what’s been less successful so you can make refinements where necessary.  When executed well, your product story is more compelling and keeps people coming back for more.