Your brand encompasses the entire customer experience – everything from your logo, website, and social media presence to how your staff answer the phone and interact with customers. A great brand doesn't just happen: it is well thought out, documented in a style guide, and driven by a strategic plan.
Strategic Branding is a complex, sophisticated process by which real and perceived attributes of an organization’s products or services are positioned for long-term competitive advantage.
Marketing your products to consumers or business-to-business requires agility, flexibility and creativity. Even the most successful brands must constantly adapt to keep pace with shifts in their target market preferences.
Owning a powerful Strategic Brand not only enables you to capture and retain customer loyalty, it provides the leverage to expand your brand into new markets and categories.
It’s important to distinguish the factors involved in consumer decisions and how they affect aspects of a brand’s identity. You must first make the distinction between brand valuation and brand equity. Brand valuation represents the total financial value of the brand, as measured by transparency, validity, reliability, sufficiency, objectivity, and financial, behavioural, and legal parameters. Brand equity, on the other hand, is like equity in a home. It reflects appreciation – all the good things and positive associations that accrue because the brand has delivered on its stated promises.
Much of building a brand occurs in how it is marketed: the social context of a product’s use can be even more important than its attributes. Strong brands build emotional attachments. They attempt to develop a relationship. Jell-O is a prime example. Jell-O historically is a product that allows mothers and children to bond. It’s not the consumption of the Jell-O they remember, but the preparation, the colours, and the fun they had in making it – and Jell-O’s marketing activities reflect this.
Nike is an example of a company using a strong image to expand its market. When the company began, it carved a strong but narrow niche as a maker of high-performance athletic shoes. Nike’s fortunes changed permanently when they realized that everybody wants to be an athlete for 15 minutes. The company’s expanded product line, coupled with its “Just Do It” image campaign, transformed Nike from a specialty manufacturer into a global phenomenon. It wasn’t the physical attributes of the product that allowed them to extend the brand – it was the imagery they’d built around what it is to wear Nike.
In the beginning, Nike spelled out the brand name. When they discovered true strategic branding takes place in the memory banks of our brains, they realized they could communicate faster than the speed of light with just a mark. Now when we see the swish mark, we immediately think “Nike”.
At KEA, we employ our proprietary eight-step process to develop and implement highly effective Strategic Branding solutions. Our strategies are designed to enhance the recognition of an organization for itself, rather than in relation to its competitors. And we always work within your budget, not ours.