“Strategy without tactics is a daydream; tactics without strategy is a nightmare.” Influenced by Sun Tzu and coined by our CEO and Co-founder Mark Schmukler, this quote explains the purpose behind our step-wise marketing process JumpStartTM which begins with a Brand Strategy. At Sagefrog, our mission is to accelerate client success through integrated marketing, and therefore, unlike other firms, we don’t linger at the strategy stage too long. We know what strategic components you need to execute strong and consistent marketing – and have folded them into our flagship Brand Strategy product.
If you’ve been trying to get your leadership to pull the trigger on a brand refresh or entirely new Brand Strategy, use the questions and answers below to make your case. Developing a new or updated brand strategy doesn’t have to be a six month, hold everything project – we know nobody has time for that. Rather, it can be a streamlined project that efficiently gathers, examines and formalizes your strategy.
Learn about our Brand Strategy process and the immediate benefits it will have on your company.
1. What is a Brand Strategy?
A Brand Strategy defines the visual and verbal experience that your company provides in the marketplace. It outlines your company’s visioning, positioning, messaging and visual identity by considering your current and desired perception in the marketplace. In a formalized and tangible document, each of these components are clearly written or displayed, with each element contingent on the next. For example, your positioning statement will include your purpose (mission statement) and differentiators (messaging) while your logo will include applications with the anchorline and so forth.
Your Brand Strategy is an enterprise-wide internal and external roadmap, explaining how your company should be spoken about by your team and portrayed in the marketplace.
2. What Exactly Is Included?
The finalized Brand Strategy will be delivered in the form of a tangible document that your company can share with your entire organization. A typical Brand Strategy includes the following elements:
- Corporate Visioning
- Positioning Statements
- Messaging Platforms
- Conceptual Overview Diagrams
- Visual Identity Systems
- Buyer Personas
Depending on the complexity of your sale and the breadth of your needs, your Brand Strategy may also include brand architecture to rationalize sub-brands, guiding principles to align your team, messaging by target audience, subsequent sub-brand or program logos, buyer journey and so forth.
3. Why Does My Company Need a Brand Strategy?
Every company that’s serious about increasing market share needs an up-to-date Brand Strategy. Without a Brand Strategy, your company lacks formalized, cohesive direction about why your company exists, where it’s going and how it will get there through unique differentiation.
There are several reasons companies come to us for a Brand Strategy. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- Your internal team is not aligned around a common mission or long-term vision
- Your marketing communications have inconsistent messaging, look and feel and tone of voice
- Your target market doesn’t understand what you do or why you’re better than competitors
- Your HR department has a difficult time recruiting new employees due to lack of awareness
The beauty of a Brand Strategy is that it packages all of the necessary information together to provide your marketing, sales, executive and human resources departments with consistent talking points. It takes seven times for people to really hear a message for the first time1 and therefore, permeating strong consistent messages across all touchpoints and departments will help your case stick.
4. How Long Does It Take to Develop?
Developing a Brand Strategy can take as long as you’d like, depending on the depth you require. However, as specialists who have been around the branding block for more than 15 years, we pride ourselves on the ability to ask the right questions that streamline the development of our strategy.
A majority of our Brand Strategy projects – which typically include discovery, workshops and interviews with key stakeholders, creative brief development and final verbal and visual identity creations – are finalized in less than two months. Of course, this is contingent on our clients’ ability to provide concise information upfront and timely feedback on our recommendations. To prepare your team for the task of providing concise input and feedback, here are a few tips:
- Hold an internal prep meeting before your workshop to decide what components of your verbal and visual identity are not open to revision, such as a particular color or tagline.
- Get input from your sales team on what they deem are your prospects’ most critical pain points as well as their primary objections about your offering during a sales pitch.
- Give thought to your primary competitors – the companies that you run into during the sales process – as well as the top visual references that convey what your brand aspires to be in look or feel.
5. How Do We Actually Use the Strategy?
Great question. Most people equate strategy to elusive, intangible ideas, but our Brand Strategy is just the opposite. With sound messaging and an updated visual identity in place, we hit the ground running on execution without wasting extra time fiddling with copy or design. We immediately:
- Apply it to marketing materials, sales aids or a new website
- Update your social media profiles with the visual and verbal identity
- Use it in your digital advertisements and content marketing assets
- Feature it in any email or direct marketing and tradeshow signage
Additionally, depending on how drastic the update to your company’s verbal and visual identity is, we may suggest an external and/or internal brand launch with public relations and communications.
Watch this short video to learn about Sagefrog’s 5-step process.
The bottom line? If your company is preparing to ramp up its marketing effort, starting with a Brand Strategy is the smartest thing you can do. By taking some time to really iron out the most important details about your company and formalize the visual and verbal identities around that, you end up saving time and money in the long run and wind up with harder-hitting marketing communications.
If you’re thinking about a new or updated Brand Strategy, first, we commend you and second, we would love to help. Schedule a consultation below to discuss which components of your brand could use an update. Branding is what we do and what we love and we can’t wait to share our passion with you.
Are you interested in B2B marketing services? Contact Sagefrog Marketing Group today.