Three Reasons You Should Start with a Brand Strategy
There are products. And then there are brands. The difference is a brand strategy.
Brand strategy is the North Star. You might be tempted by the lure of sexier and more tangible marketing tactics, but we encourage our clients to wait until they have a brand strategy, or what we call your Brand GPS.
Many marketing teams want to jump right from product development to packaging with the goal of getting into market ASAP. Here are three reasons why establishing a clear brand strategy is worth the investment.
1. Consumers don’t buy products — they buy into brands with beliefs and values that reflect who they are.
That’s why brands with a clearly articulated purpose outperform those that don’t have one. The job of a marketer is to create communities, not develop brands or sell products. It’s important to define your growth community and understand their beliefs, values and needs related to your product or service. If you do this right, you won’t call them “consumers” — you’ll call them fanatical loyalists who are the voice of your community.
Let’s use Triple Crown Nutrition as an example. Their fan base is horse owners who only want the very best for their horse, regardless of whether their horse is a competitive athlete or simply part of the family. What they all value is cutting-edge nutrition, and Triple Crown’s core brand difference is to deliver only super premium nutrition for horses.
To create Triple Crown’s Brand GPS, Kick dug deep to understand these consumers. We asked Triple Crown the hard questions — beyond product features and benefits — to get to the Brand Heart. With a brand strategy, the product becomes a brand and the consumers become the community.
2. To build a community of loyal fans, your brand needs heart. This is the springboard of your brand strategy.
Consumers today see through the transparency of brands whose sole purpose is to make money. They want to know your goals are more selfless and involve a higher-order ambition.
While a critical component to your brand strategy is having a clear brand difference compared to your competitors, it’s not enough. Triple Crown’s marketing had been solely focused on its brand difference — superior nutrition. But to cement customer loyalty and expand the community, Triple Crown needed to demonstrate and display its love and commitment to all horse owners and their horses.
Kick helps the brand communicate this love and commitment through an overarching brand idea rooted in Triple Crown’s commitment to superior equine nutrition. But even more importantly, the brand idea reflects the lengths horse owners will go to love and support their horses. We call it “Always Beyond”.
You give everything for your horse. Your energy. Your time. Your love.
That’s why we’re passionate about always going beyond the basics to help you care for your horse. We put time and research into perfecting our complete, super premium horse feed formulas. We only use the highest-quality ingredients and a powerful nutrient blend. We craft our feeds to ensure dependable quality and nutrition day after day, year after year, for nutrition that goes beyond. Your horse deserves to feel his best. After all, you share a bond.
Now that’s a brand with heart!
3. A brand strategy defines how your brand behaves so the brand becomes familiar and consistent every time it shows up.
Part of establishing your brand strategy is defining your Brand Behaviors — how your brand looks, sounds and behaves online, in social media, on the shelf and through your employees. This includes defining the tagline, brand story, key brand assets and distinct brand messages. It should be flexible enough to expand with various needs but consistent enough that there is a thread of familiarity every time your brand shows up.
When there is no strategy and you have inconsistent brand behaviors, you end up with hundreds of micro-communities each defining your brand the way they want, which doesn’t build long-term value.
For Triple Crown, the tagline “Always Beyond” inspired the other brand-building assets, including a visual strategy that put the bond between horse and rider at the core of every execution. These Brand Behaviors reinforce the Brand Heart but allow for customization to engage all types of horse owners and various riding disciplines across their key messages of nutrition and commitment to the horse community.
Triple Crown’s brand idea has many extensions (a true sign of a big idea!): Love BEYOND Limits. Nutrition BEYOND Compare. Guts BEYOND Glory. Trust BEYOND Training. Triple Crown feeds go BEYOND expectations. The visual strategy for this idea works across print, digital and social, and across different types of horse owners.
Do you have a product with features and benefits but lack a Brand Heart? We would love to help you discover your Brand GPS and create a community of loyal fans.