Quo vadis, brand? Brand strategy as a guidepost
The brand profile, which describes the facets of each brand identity, forms the basis for the strategic direction and guidance of a brand. Brand personality and values determine the brand strategy as a guideline for sustainable brand development. The brand strategy defines how the brand should develop in the medium and long term and what conditions must be met to achieve these goals, such as the desired positioning in the market. Brand strategic decisions or reviewing the current strategic direction are usually required for significant structural changes:
- when launching a new service or product
- when restructuring existing brand systems
- when starting a new business, e.g. a start-up
Brand Strategy: Reality Check
In order for the implementation of the brand strategy roadmap to succeed, not only the brand personality should be identified, but also:
your own entrepreneurial skills and capacities
the needs and demands of the target group
the relevant market participants
Checking the company’s own resources for marketing, exploring what the customer is actually willing to spend at the end of the day, and gaining market understanding are indispensable to make the (new) brand or product meaningful to be able to position.
Brand models – identity and strategy at a glance
There are numerous models that can be used to structure and visualize the essential characteristics of brand identity.
For a reason these are called steering wheel, diamond or golden circle: they capture the essence of the brand at a glance. This makes them useful tools for reviewing each action, whether or not it reflects the nature and strategic direction of the brand.
Golden Circle Simon Sinek
Brand diamond McKinsey
Brand wheel Bates
Brand wheel Esch
Aaker brand model
Dynamics of the markets
In the 2015 study, “No ordinary Disruption”, McKinsey found that market dynamics have accelerated tenfold since the Industrial Revolution – four years ago. For this reason, it is advisable to adapt the time horizon of the strategic roadmap to the respective market dynamics, before new, innovative competition unrolls the field unnoticed from behind, as can be observed at present in the banking sector or mail order business.
N26: Digital bank vs. traditional banks
A brand strategy should be supported, lived and maintained by all relevant stakeholders and critically scrutinized, re-adjusted or sharpened in due course.
Brand strategy and positioning go hand in hand
The positioning of a brand is an expression of the brand strategy: It should show what the brand wants to stand for – now and in the future. For positioning, it is crucial to realistically evaluate one’s own implementation options and to take them into account accordingly, so that the given brand promise can be fulfilled. If this is not affordable, a false, because unfulfillable positioning is not only useless, but may even be harmful to the brand: because it makes it implausible. Or your brand simply can not compete against more potent market participants. When defining the brand strategy to be implemented, the principle of self-similarity should, in our view, be the top priority. This makes the brand and its added value for the customer comprehensible, recognisable and trustworthy. In our brand workshops we work with you to develop the basis for your brand strategy – or check and sharpen your existing one.