You need an effective brand strategy to be an efficient brand. Here are a few steps to build a brand strategy yourself.
1. Identify your target clients
Who are your target clients? High growth, high-profit firms are focused on having clearly defined target clients. The narrower the focus, the faster the growth.
2. Research your target client group
Research helps you understand your target client’s perspective and priorities, anticipate their needs and put your message in a language that resonates with them. It also tells you how they view your firm’s strengths and your current brand. As such, it dramatically lowers the marketing risk associated with brand development.
3. Develop your brand positioning
Determine your firm’s brand positioning within the professional services marketplace (also called market positioning). How is your firm different from others and why should potential clients within your target audience choose to work with you?
A positioning statement is typically three to five sentences in length and captures the essence of your brand positioning. It must be grounded in reality, as you will have to deliver on what you promise. It must also be a bit aspirational so you have something to strive for.
4. Develop your messaging strategy
Develop a messaging strategy that translates your brand positioning into messages to your various target audiences. Your target audiences typically include potential clients, potential employees, referral sources or other influencers and potential partnering opportunities.
While your core brand positioning must be the same for all audiences, each audience will be interested in different aspects of it. The messages to each audience will emphasize the most relevant points. Each audience will also have specific concerns that must be addressed, and each will need different types of evidence to support your messages. Your messaging strategy should address all of these needs.
5. Develop your identity
Your name, logo, and tagline are not your brand. They are ways to communicate or symbolize your brand. You must live it to make it real.
6. Develop your website
Your website is your single most important brand development tool. It is the place where all your audiences turn to learn what you do, how you do it and who your clients are. Prospective clients are not likely to choose your firm solely based on your website. But they may well rule you out if your site sends the wrong message.
Your website will be home to your valuable content. That content will become the focus of your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts so that your prospects, potential employees, and referral sources will find you and learn about your firm. Online content is central to any modern brand development strategy.
7. Track and Adjust
Track both the implementation of the plan as well as results. Did the strategy get implemented as planned? What happened with the objective measures, such as search traffic and web visitors? How many new leads, employee applications and partnering opportunities were generated? Only by tracking the entire process can you make sure you are drawing the right conclusions and making the right adjustments.